Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ordinance: More Teeth, Nothing to Bite.

Update: I wrote a couple of days ago that Planning and Zoning was about to break the law. I thought this was an issue of Homes à Wells, which would require at least a 250 foot setback…but the plat only shows 100 feet.

Well, it turns out that this might actually be an issue of vested rights. This plat has a permit going back to 2006, which vests it under the drilling and production ordinance in effect at that time (passed in 2004). That ordinance had no setback requirement, which means wells can be 100 feet away from protected uses (this is the minimum setback per fire code).

Here is what this means: We can put as many teeth into municipal ordinances as we want. But they can only bite ‘new’ projects. Around Denton, most of the future oil and gas development is going to occur on sites that have old permits that vest them under old rules. I think this explains why the industry did not put up more of a fight over the ordinance. They know that for the most part it won’t apply.

'Vested rights' means we will be haunted by outdated laws and practices for years to come. We are now seeing the fruit of Texas Local Government Code Chapter 245: Read it and weep.

1 comment:

  1. This is why I chose not to invest in Denton when I bought a home. It was a hard decision that made me very sad.