Freeport Council says borough can’t force drilling company to pave road
Freeport Council members told a property owner last week it’s not in their purview to enforce a zoning board decision requiring a drilling company to pave a road.
Property owner Mike Graff brought council a complaint about dirt and dust created by vehicles using Mill Street to get to a well site. He said XTO Energy was supposed to pave the road, which has a surface of crushed aggregate.
XTO is an natural gas drilling company that is developing wells on the former Phoenix Golf Course.
“You guys need to get on XTO about paving that road,” Graff said.
Council President John Mazurowski said paving Mill Street to the well pad was part of a finding of fact issued last year by the Freeport Zoning Hearing Board regarding XTO’s operations and compliance with borough zoning regulations. He said the finding of fact called for the road to be paved upon completion of the well.
“XTO believes that they don’t have to do that,” Mazurowski said of the paving.
He said the company has worked with the borough’s public works department and has done some maintenance on the road as it was required to do, but not any paving.
Holly Hannold, a manager of public and government affairs for XTO, said the company put a dust suppressant on a private road off Mill Street last Thursday. The company plans to do restoration work on Mill Street, she said, likely next spring.
Graff asked the borough to send a letter to XTO telling it the paving work has to be done, but Councilman Sean McCalmont said he wouldn’t agree to do that because the ruling came from the zoning board, which he described as an independent, quasi-judicial body.
Mazurowski agreed, saying the ruling didn’t come from council.
Council members referred Graff to the zoning hearing board. Graff declined to comment further when reached by the Tribune-Review.