News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

October 3, 2013

Board of Zoning Appeals tables drilling request

TERRE HAUTE — A request for a variance to allow Adler Energy to drill for oil and natural gas in the 4200 block of North 13th Street in Terre Haute was tabled Wednesday by the Terre Haute Board of Zoning Appeals.

Board chairman Steven K. Pontius said the request “was not ready for prime time” as there was not a detailed site plan or landscaping plan.

“This body has spent the last six or eight months, spending a great deal of time to make sure we dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s with respect to exploration of oil and gas,” Pontius said.

“I think we have a very good policy in place that has evolved over time,” he said. “That whole process begins with a detailed site plan.”

A site plan is needed, Pontius said, to show plans for fencing, gates and well location to accommodate requirements about distance from public roads, streets or highways.

Also needed are the locations of the holding tanks for oil when extracted, the height and number of tanks and the land footprint for those tanks.

Road location and how they will be maintained is also information required, Pontius said. Other considerations are location of the berm to protect adjoining property in case of a spill, location of a closed vent system and location of monitoring well or wells.

In addition, a landscaping plan is needed as it is close to a residential neighborhood.

“Also, there should be a letter indicating what roads will be used to transport the oil from the site as well as the hours the trucks will be coming to and from the site,” Pontius said.

“There should be a letter from the fire chief with respect to activities at the site,” he added.

Pontius said the area has been identified for extractive mining for years. “Did that activity take place before, since  or during the development of Terre Haute?” Pontius asked.

In addition, Pontius asked for evidence that the planned site would not impact adjacent property values.

Lou Britton, attorney for Adler Energy, said there had been miscommunication about when the plan needed to be submitted. The board gave Adler Energy until Oct. 16 to submit the plan. The board would then look again at the variance request at its Nov. 6 meeting at the Vigo County Annex.

A review from the county’s Area Planning Department recommends approval of the variance, as the land is adjacent to properties that have been used for extractive/mining operations in the past and should not have a negative effect on neighboring land uses.

However, the site is near homes at the intersection of Boston Avenue and North 13th Street.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.



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