The Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) will continue a public hearing on April 11 at 9:30 a.m. on whether to enact a moratorium of up to six months on accepting new oil and gas applications for unincorporated Arapahoe County.
The board continued the public hearing after close to two hours of public comment was given during the March 28 Business Meeting. The continuation will allow the five-member board additional time to listen to residents, industry representatives and other stakeholders, as well as have a full board available to vote on the issue as two commissioners were absent and excused for the hearing.
“We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to express their concerns,” said Commissioner Bill Holen. “We look forward to further discussions, and we will consider all the information in making a decision.”
If approved, the moratorium would allow Public Works and Development Planning staff to develop appropriate amendments that align current regulations with neighboring jurisdictions and industry best practices. Potential amendments would further protect public health, safety, welfare and environment.
The request comes after a review of the first full year of Oil and Gas regulations that were approved in November 2021. Two new sites and four amendments to existing sites have been approved with the new regulations.
Potential amendments include increased water reservoir setbacks, updating requirements that reflect current fire codes and increased wildlife and habitat protections.
The proposed Lowry Ranch Drilling Project is one reason for the proposed pause, as the City of Aurora and the County have different setback requirements for reservoirs. Aurora requires well pads to be one mile from sourced drinking water while the County requires 500 feet.
A BOCC study session on the matter is scheduled for April 10. The meeting will be streamed live and the public is encouraged to listen. No public comment is taken during study sessions.
If the moratorium is approved, the County expects to have draft amendments available for public review and comment in May. Any amendments will require approval by the Planning Commission and County Commissioners following public hearings. Hearings are tentatively set for June for the Planning Commission and August for the Board. Updates will be posted on the Oil and Gas website.
Residents who are unable to attend the public hearing, can submit comments to the BOCC by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org