Impoundments don’t belong in residential areas
The supervisors and solicitor of Mt. Pleasant Township need to stand by their decision to challenge the zoning provisions of Act 13 to ensure that they have a voice and control over orderly development within the township.
Recently, Mt. Pleasant Township has issued numerous violation notices to Range Resources for operating various impoundment facilities within the township. Each of these facilities is located in incompatible zoning districts, while there are zoning districts in the township designed for these operations. According to a recent statement from Range’s Matt Pitzarella, these facilities have been routinely used to service gas wells up to 50 miles away. The use of Mt. Pleasant impoundments for wells located outside the community reinforces the notion that the precise location of impoundments doesn’t really matter for gas well drilling. A company that wants to demonstrate its community focus should be more than willing to locate industrial functions in areas zoned for industrial use. Placing these facilities in the correct zoning district allows industry to operate and the township and its tax-paying residents to coexist.
For example, one of the facilities has existed for over five years. Originally created to serve those wells, a two-year lease was then signed for the impoundment in 2010. The impoundment lease was extended for 10 additional years in the spring of 2012. This facility is located in a residential zoning district even when there is an industrial zone located nearby. The location of this facility hardly adheres to the character of a residential district.
The clearest, simplest solution is to locate impoundments in zoning districts that are designed to accommodate them. Such a district already exists in Mt. Pleasant Township. The township’s supervisors need to have these facilities moved to where they legally belong. This decision wouldn’t stop drilling or dictate where drilling occurs.