Robinson supervisors conclude hearings

January 14, 2013
Robinson Township supervisors meet Monday evening to discuss two gas well pad applications from Range Resources. - Christie Campbell / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Although Range Resources urged Robinson Township to take action on two gas well pad applications, a handful of citizens requested the board of supervisors deny them during two hearings Monday night.

In a letter to the township’s solicitor and zoning officer, Range attorney Shawn Gallagher outlined the process by which the company has attempted to work cooperatively with the township since September.

That is when Range submitted an application to drill on the Micheale F. Parees and Robert M. Frame property on Midway Candor Road. Six days later the company filed a similar application to drill on Valleyview Road property owned by Roger and Susan Kendall. Neither of those applications has been approved by the board which believes some information is insufficient.

“It is apparent from the township’s conduct that the township is not proceeding in good faith with regard to the administration, review and processing of Range’s applications,” Gallagher wrote. He did not stay for the hearings which were continued from December.

John Smith, Robinson’s solicitor, noted Range did not need to attend or provide additional information.

But Supervisor Mark Brositz saw it differently, commenting “I’m having extreme difficulty in determining they did meet the ordinance and they’re not here to answer questions.”

Smith said it is up to the board to determine if their zoning ordinances have been complied with. The board has 45 days to take action.

Range completed three gas wells in the township in 2010 and maintains it has submitted the same requirements this time as it did then.

“We’ve fulfilled our end and have gone above and beyond what the law requires,” Range’s spokesman Matt Pitzarella wrote in an e-mail seeking comment.

But Tim McClelland, township engineer, said Range had failed to comply with provisions in the zoning ordinance on site grading and had failed to include a site plan. While Range did submit a sound study, the township believes it does not comply with its noise ordinance.

Eight citizens spoke at the hearing, encouraging the board to deny the permits.

Dorothy Bassett, of Midway, called on supervisors to protect the health and safety of the community, saying those living in the area can be exposed to harmful air quality.

Irene Barrie, of Maple Grove Road, said her family has already been negatively impacted by construction of a MarkWest gathering pipeline.

“We’re angry, we’re tired and the nightmare has only begun,” she said.

Pitzarella wrote in his e-mail that the company may have to take legal action.

“Legal action is the last thing we want to do in order to develop our leases and generate royalties and fee revenues for the community. All we ask if for the township to act in good faith and work within the structure of the law. These sorts of experiences are limited to a very small number of townships,” he wrote.

Due to the number of people who attended the hearing it was moved into the township garage.



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