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Deal will open up land for houses

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

Companies tentatively agree to limit space for wells on Ryan Road

Energy companies have tentatively agreed to limit their use of land on the city’s south side so that a residential developer can build and sell houses there.

The City Council is expected to review the agreement in a work session Tuesday afternoon.

The energy companies — EagleRidge Energy, Corbin Exploration Limited Partnership and ARP Barnett — have agreed to work with the development group — Kelsoe & Riley and the Pitner Family Limited Partnership — and stay within about 8 acres around existing gas wells just off Ryan Road, near Ryan Elementary School.

The energy companies agreed to limit their use even though they had rights to all 275 acres leased for the gas wells.

The development group and energy companies also agreed to tell buyers how close the gas wells are, since many of the new homes would be built closer to well sites than the city typically allows.

Denton does not allow new oil and gas wells to be built within 1,200 feet of homes, schools and other protected uses. But Denton has approved new homes and other buildings to be built within that 1,200-foot setback to existing wells under certain circumstances — a controversial practice with local activists.

Denton also has been working for more than a year on a program similar to this agreement to help the city’s west side. The city wants energy companies to agree to confine their operations to select parcels and release the rest of the land they have leased for other development.

The council meeting begins with a closed session at 3 p.m. in the conference room at City Hall West. The closed session takes up requests from two other developers for incentives for their residential projects, the possible purchase of land for a new electric substation near the University of North Texas, and other gas well development issues.

An open session follows and begins with a tour of City Hall West and initiatives for the city’s planning department. The council will also discuss the city’s use of regional toll revenues.

For more information on the City Council agenda, visit www.cityofdenton.com.

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