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Denton City Council Approves 500-Foot Reverse Setback from Gas Wells

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At the Jan. 28 Denton City Council meeting, the City Council approved an ordinance requiring Protected Uses, such as new residences, schools, churches, and parks, to be set back 500 feet from gas well sites. The previous distance requirement, or reverse setback, was 250 feet.
 
More than 300 people attended the Jan. 28 public hearing for the reconsideration of an ordinance adopted on Nov. 19, 2019. The City Council heard from 44 speakers before voting.
 
After hearing public feedback and concerns from property and home owners, the Council approved an ordinance that states all existing Protected Uses within the 500-foot reverse setback are conforming with the Denton Development Code. As a conforming structure, in the event of a natural disaster or accident, existing Protected Uses can be rebuilt so long as the use complies with all other zoning requirements. The ordinance will also allow property owners to add on to their structure.
 
Previously, a gas well reverse setback ordinance was considered on Nov. 19, 2019. A motion was passed to approve increasing reverse setbacks to 500 feet, with the requirement that the Zoning Board of Adjustment approve variances to rebuild a Protected Use if more than 50 percent of a structure is damaged.
 
On Dec. 2, 2019, the City Council passed a motion to reconsider adoption of the ordinance from Nov. 19, 2019. The ordinance was reevaluated to notify properties within 500 feet of a gas well site, engage in further discussion regarding how the ordinance would be applied, and discuss nonconformities created by increasing the reverse gas well setback.
 
Under the ordinance passed Jan. 28, no new Protected Uses can be built within 500 feet of a gas well site without Zoning Board of Adjustment approval of a variance. In certain circumstances, City staff has the authority to approve the construction of a Protected Use between 375 feet and 500 feet of a gas well site. All new Protected Uses must be no closer than 250 feet from a gas well site. 
 
The Jan. 28 meeting agenda and materials can be viewed here. Video of the meeting can also be watched at meeting starting at 4:11. For a full list of Protected Uses, view page 287 of the Denton Development Code here.
 

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