Revisions possible to oil, gas proposal

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Council moves ahead with proposed regulation changes despite concerns from industry officials

By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — Despite opposition from Colorado oil and gas industry officials, city council moved forward with the first reading of new oil and gas regulations for the city. Council approved the new regulations in a 6-2 vote, but is willing to have its attorneys take recommendations and comments into consideration before council conducts a second reading. . 

Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Scott and Councilwoman Wilma Rose opposed the measure. 

According to Community Development Director Holly Prather, the purpose of the proposed code amendments is to have consistency with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s regulations, which have been updated in the last couple of years. 

“Another reason that we’re here is to establish regulations that will protect our community’s interests as well,” she said. “We want our regulations to be in harmony and consistent with the state regulations but we also have community interests that are applicable to Brighton and we should protect those.”

In the proposed ordinance, Brighton’s requirements for testing water differ slightly from the state. Prather said like the state, the city requires pre and post sampling, but they also require testing at one, three and six year intervals. 

Nancy Prince, local government liaison for COGCC, told council Assistant Attorney General Jake Matter looked at the ordinance and was concerned that some of the regulations, although similar to COGCC regulations, had twists that were confusing. Price said he was also concerned that some of the provisions  appeared to be provisions the COGCC and Attorney General’s Office have objected to or even sued on elsewhere. She suggested the city submit it’s oil and gas regulations to the Attorney General’s office for review before conducting a first reading. 

Chris McGowne, Colorado Oil and Gas Association community and affairs representative, said COGA believes the proposed ordinance conflicts with already well established state-wide oil and gas regulations. He also asked council to postpone the first reading of the ordinance until a dialogue could take place with the state. 

City Attorney Margaret Brubaker, who drafted the ordinance said she had been contacted earlier that day by representatives of COGCC.

“Many of the concerns that were raised here have been raised elsewhere. We’re not surprised with some of the things have been asserted and we’re certainly open to meeting with both of the organizations and see what we can do to compromise the language,” she said. 

Scott and Rose expressed their concerns about possibilities of contamination and compromise of the city’s wells. Councilwoman Cynthia Martinez wanted to discuss concerns raised by COGCC and COGA in more detail with the attorney and council went into executive session for legal counsel. 

After emerging from executive session, Scott said any drilling near the city’s wells was to risky for the water supply and residents and that he would be voting against the ordinance.  

Councilman Chris Maslanik was excused from the meeting and unable to cast his vote. 


In other business: 

— Council also approved the first reading of an ordinance that will allow tattoo shops in the downtown. Tattoo shops are currently zoned as light industrial but the ordinance would allow tattoo shops in the downtown as a use by right. 

Other changes to the city’s codes also received council’s initial approval in regards to the signs as well as fences and site triangles. 

— Council conducted the first reading of an ordinance that would raise utility rates for city residents next year. Under the ordinance Fixed rate charges for water, wastewater and storm drainage fees would increase by $1.90. The rate for water will also increase by 21 for every 1,000 gallons of water used. 

— With Ready Mix Concrete completing mining of Ken Mitchell Lakes Cell 3, Lot 1 two years ahead of schedule, council decided to accelerate the closing of the purchase of the water storage in Lot 1 by Feb. 5, 2014, and the final closing and reclamation in June 2014. As a result, the city also had to amend an intergovernmental agreement with the Metro Wastewater and Reclamation District to delay the transfer of water from Ken Mitchell Lakes Cell 1 to Cell 3, Lot 1 to allow the final mining and reclamation of Cell 3, Lot 1 two years ahead of schedule. 

Landeck said although the pumping of the water out of Cell 1 has been delayed, the amended IGA arranges for additional pumps and electric service to accelerate the pumping of Cell 1 so it will be emptied by the same date presented to residents at the city’s public meeting. He said the cleaning of Cell 1 would continue through the late spring and summer of 2014.

— Council suspended its pacing ordinance for the 2014 calendar year.  

— Council conducted its annual review for City Attorney Margaret Brubaker and gave her a one-year contract extension. 

— Council approved the lodging tax grants as presented during its Dec. 26 study session as part of its consent agenda.

— Council made several appointments to its boards and committees. Fidel Balderas and Farid Jalil were appointed to the Planning Commission with terms to January 2018 and John Kasza and Kathryn Tolison as members to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Bike Brighton subcommittee with a term to January 2018 and August 2016, respectively. 

— Council canceled its Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 study sessions.