Error delays gas code hearing

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Proposed code change to return to council Dec. 17

Residents bailed on a public hearing Tuesday night after learning that the city would take no action on a change to the gas well development code.

The planned public hearing on the proposed code change was improperly posted by the city, so the hearing was postponed until Dec. 17.

About 30 people showed up for a candlelight vigil for Denton neighborhoods affected by the council’s decisions on the City Hall lawn Tuesday, with 20 remaining for the public hearing. But by the time the city’s planning director, Brian Lockley, finished with his presentation on the proposed change, just two residents were left.

The mayor announced that he would not permit anyone who spoke Tuesday to speak again when the matter comes back before the City Council. Tara Linn Hunter said that the residents, many of them from the Vintage neighborhood, opted to speak at a later date and decided to leave the meeting early.

The City Council had already agreed in principle to change the ordering of its permits so that an energy company would not be able to get its fire inspection and fire department permit for a natural gas production site until after all other city permits are issued.

Tuesday’s hearing was to codify that change in the city’s development code. The move requires the City Council to adopt subsections of the 2009 International Fire Code that aren’t currently a part of the city code.

Resident Rhonda Love stayed behind to hear the presentation and the mayor read her comment card into the record. Love asked the City Council to make the new requirement retroactive, as did two other residents who submitted comment cards.

Residents from the neighborhoods along Vintage Boulevard and Bonnie Brae Street have pushed the city to limit drilling close to their homes. The city is currently under a “standstill” agreement with EagleRidge Energy that temporarily halts future drilling but allows the company to continue obtaining fire inspection permits for 12 wells.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

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