As oil and gas drilling has increased in the cities of Karnes County, an up-to-date and improved ordinance specific to Falls City was needed, according to city officials.
“A couple of years ago as drilling activities increased around Kenedy, we pulled out our own 1960s drilling ordinance and realized deficiencies in it, and so began the process of trying to develop a new drilling ordinance,” said city attorney Acie McAda.
McAda and the council discussed and expounded upon the language and provisions of the new ordinance and how it relates to both the well-being of citizens and the structure of Falls City.
“A few weeks ago, I started to look at our drilling ordinance. It was out dated and really only prohibited drilling in the city parks,” said Mayor Brent Houdmann. “I felt that with everything that has been going on in the oil and gas industry it was important that the city have something in place to protect the citizens as well as any city-owned property.”
Among the many provisions of the ordinance are the various standards for the distance of any possible oil and gas drill site in relation to certain places.
According to the ordinance, it will be unlawful to drill an oil and gas well, the center of which, at the surface of the ground, is located:
• Within 25 feet of any storage tank, or source of ignition
• Within 75 feet of any public street, highway or future street, right-of-way or property line
• Within 100 feet of any building accessory to, but not necessary to the operation of the well
• Within 300 feet of any fresh water well
• Within 400 feet of any commercial building
• Within 600 feet of any Protected Use (i.e. a residence, religious institution, public building, public park, or an approved preliminary or final platted residential subdivision
• Within 1000 feet from any school.
Other safety standards and provisions regarding distances, noise/decibel levels, permit requirements, bond and insurance, and many others are addressed in the new ordinance.
The council approved the ordinance, but with the stipulation of having the right and authority to amend the ordinance if needed, in order to increase the welfare of the citizens and city infrastructure.
“I believe the standards that any drilling company will have to adhere to as a result of this ordinance are far above any State regulations regarding drilling,” said Houdmann. “I know it is not perfect and there may be things that come up that are not covered in the ordinance. As those things come to light we will amend the ordinance to address these issues.”
Also at the meeting, the council approved an oil and gas lease with Manticore Oil.
“Myself and City Council have gone over this lease with Manticore Oil for several months now,” explained Houdmann after the meeting. “We worked hard to get what we felt was the best for the city of Falls City. Manticore was the only company to actually bid on all of the city owned property. We had one other bid, but they only bid on the property located at the city’s waste water plant. This bid was not considered because it did not meet the requirements of the bidding process. After going back and forth with Manticore Oil, I believe the final lease that was signed last night was in the best interest of the city.”