BY STACI WILSON
The morning after the County Planning Commission hesitated in recommending the adoption of an amendment to the county’s land use and subdivision plan, the commissioners voted to put the ordinance change on the books.
The amended ordinance specifically addresses natural gas compressor stations and waste water treatment facilities by establishing setback requirements and noise levels.
Planning director Bob Templeton said that the nearly 30 people who attended the Jan. 25 planning commission meeting wanted the commission to take more time studying the issue and adopt more restrictive regulations.
During the public hearing, held within the Jan. 26 county commissioners meeting, Commissioner Michael Giangrieco said, “I’ve had a lot of calls from people who want things done. We don’t want to get stuck with nothing on the books. We need to do something for the protection of the general public.”
“The way it is now, they can just stick one in a field with no restrictions,” Giangrieco said.
Although no recommendation for adoption came from the advisory group, Planning Commission member Frank Kwader told the commissioners that the county needed to “have something on the books and we have to have it now.”
“My personal opinion,” said Kwader, “pass it.”
After the planning commission voted to not make the recommendation for adoption discussion about the issue continued, said Templeton.
He said that by the end of the meeting, most of the people in attendance agreed establishing guidelines for the compressor station construction was preferable to placing no setback or noise level requirements on the compressor station.
Templeton said the planning commission had been working on the amendment for about six months and had established criteria that not only protects neighboring property owners but also sets guidelines the gas industry can work with.
After some minor tweaking of language (the removal of the word “continuous” in reference to noise emitted from a compressor station; and changing “OSHA certified engineer” to “professional registered engineer”), the commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the amended county land use ordinance.
However, the county will not be policing the ordinance.
It is incumbent upon the neighboring property owner who has a noise complaint to file a grievance.
Templeton said, “(The Planning Commission’s goal was to have them be in compliance in the first place.”