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The Dansville Online
  • Road use agreement, fracking moratorium on the table at Dansville town planning board meeting

  • The Dansville town Planning Board hammered out its road use agreement Monday night and called for the town board to pass a six-month moratorium on the natural gas extraction process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

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  • The Dansville town Planning Board hammered out its road use agreement Monday night and called for the town board to pass a six-month moratorium on the natural gas extraction process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
    Board members spoke about the need to make sure the town was prepared for the possibility of fracking in the next few years by having road use agreements and site plan regulations in place.
    “Do we want to make a recommendation to the board to put a moratorium on so we’re not getting applications for use before we get everything in place? I don’t know that it would hurt anything rather than being flat footed and out in the cold because we’re not ready,” Planning Board Chairman Paul Sick asked during the meeting.
    The move to recommend a fracking moratorium to the town board was unanimously approved by the planning board.
    The majority of the meeting was devoted to reviewing and editing the town’s proposed road use agreement.
    Road use agreements help protect county and town roads from damage sustained by commercial traffic, like elevated traffic associated with fracking or logging.
    Sick said that while the planning board can only advise the town board, he hoped the road use agreement would be applied beyond fracking to other commercial road uses.
    The road use agreement was designed to have continuity with Steuben County’s plan in order to make the process more efficient.
    As part of the plan, permits will be issued by the town board to organizations that frequently use heavy trucking on town roads. The organizations, like truckers for gas or logging companies, will fill out a singular or blanket permit application, depending on the number of vehicles they are trying to have approved.
    Those vehicles will then be limited to specific routes agreed upon by the town board.
    Organizations filing permit applications will need to track the condition of the road as part of the agreement and will be responsible for maintaining it.
    In order to ensure that road repairs will be paid for by permit holders, the agreement will have a bond requirement. That number was originally set at $250,000, but planning board members asked if it would be enough to pay for often costly road projects.
    They opted to wait for input from the town’s attorney, John Vogel, and considered changing the rule to be consistent with Steuben County’s per-mile fee that depends on the type of road used.
    Town oversight is a theme of the agreement; the planning board made it clear the town board and other officials will be responsible for assesing permit applications, policing them and tracking the condition of roads.
    Sick said he wanted the agreement to be prepared for the board’s approval at its March 8 meeting. A public meeting will  be held if the board choses to move forward with the road use agreement in order to solicit public opinion.
    Page 2 of 2 - A tedious process, perhaps, but necessary as the issue of fracking and its potential impact grows.
    As meeting-goer Michael Holler said, “If [the road use agreement] does go through, we’re talking about years of using these roads. As far as the local town goes, there’s so many aspects to the drilling process.”

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