Category of Protective Zoning: Address Where Infrastructure Is Located

Natural gas extraction is an activity that is highly regulated by various state and sometimes federal agencies.  Local ordinances can be invalidated if a court finds that they could preempt or conflict with rules created by regulatory agencies.  Courts have determined that local rules can address where activity happens, just not how it happens.

The following are some ways to protect your community by addressing where fracking activity goes.

Type of Protective Zoning: Define fracking activity as an “industrial use”

One easy way to amend your zoning language is to explicitly define fracking as an industrial (or heavy industrial) use. That way, fracking will generally be limited to areas that a resident would expect to experience the loud noises, odors, vibrations, traffic, etc. associated with fracking activity.

For examples and more discussion on defining fracking as an industrial use, go here

Type of Protective Zoning: Increased Setbacks

Setbacks are the distance between the infrastructure and other places like buildings or natural resources.  Potentially, keeping infrastructure a safe distance from vulnerable sites can help protect your community.

For examples and more discussion on setbacks, go here.

Type of Protective Zoning: Overlay Districts

An overlay district creates an additional layer within a zoning scheme that is overlaid on top of the map of the existing districts. Depending on the type of overlay, it can impose certain limitations on development that restrict the extent to which fracking infrastructure may be developed within it.

For examples and more discussion on overlay districts, go here.

Type of Protective Zoning: Creating Minimal Acreage

Some fracking infrastructure can take up an enormous amount of space. If a gas wellpad will take up 50 acres and it is permitted for a 55 acre plot it may be very close to other types of development. If you ensure that certain activity can only be permitted on a site that has at least a certain amount of acres you can help to ensure that the fracking will not interfere with other types of land uses.   

For examples and more discussion on creating minimal acreage, go here

Did this answer your question? Thanks for the feedback There was a problem submitting your feedback. Please try again later.