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Seismic testing ordinance under development in Jefferson Hills

| Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 3:06 a.m.

Jefferson Hills council gave a green light to develop two natural gas-related ordinances.

At its meeting on Monday council authorized advertising an ordinance that would regulate seismic testing.

Borough planner and zoning officer Allen Cohen is writing that ordinance. Solicitor William Shimko expects Cohen to finish the work by June 30 so it can be advertised before council's July 8 meeting.

Council also adopted a resolution setting the stage for a hearing sometime in August on an oil and gas drilling ordinance. Development of that ordinance has been on the back burner pending a state Supreme Court ruling on the commonwealth's Act 13.

The high court hasn't acted since arguments last October.

Since then, EQT Corp., Geokinetics and Cougar Land Services started seeking permission for testing in an area from Pleasant Hills to Donora.

In Jefferson Hills, what started out as a borough-wide canvassing effort was redirected by the three companies toward the Floreffe area.

Council approved a series of actions to amend the borough police pension plan.

Finance director and acting manager Andrew McCreery said the retirement age was reduced from 55 to 50 for officers with 25 years of service; vesting language in the collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters Local 205 was brought in line with state Act 600; and a killed-in-service benefit was eliminated because it's been funded since 2009 by the commonwealth.

McCreery took over for Douglas Arndt after he took a leave three months ago.

Borough officials continue to decline comment on reasons for the leave but expect Arndt to return.

Councilman Tracey Khalil hailed the work of borough staffers during that leave.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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