Village of Lancaster, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lancaster 2-12-1979 by L.L. No. 1-1979 (Ch. 88 of the 1976 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Zoning — See Ch. 350.

§ 173-1 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the acquisition and development of natural gas supplies in such a manner that will protect the public health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Village of Lancaster.

§ 173-2 Definitions.

Unless the context requires a different meaning, the words defined below shall have the following meanings when used in this chapter:
BLOWOUT
An uncontrolled, sudden or violent escape of gas, as from a drilling well, when high-formation pressure is encountered.
BLOWOUT PREVENTER
A device attached immediately above the casing which can be closed and which will shut off the hole should a blowout occur.
DRILLING COMPANY
The person who constructs the well and conducts the drilling operations.
GAS
All natural gas and manufactured, mixed and by-product gas.
GAS WELL SITE
Includes the location of the drill hole for the gas well and all equipment and appurtenances, including any ponds, to be used in connection with the drilling operations for the gas well.
LEASEHOLDER
The person who has been granted the rights by the owner to drill into and produce or extract the gas from the premises.
OWNER
The owner of the legal title to the premises from which the gas is to be extracted.
PERSON
Includes any natural person, corporation, association, partnership, receiver, trustee, executor, administrator, guardian, fiduciary or other representative of any kind. The masculine gender in referring to a person includes the feminine and the neuter genders.
WELL
The hole which is drilled or put down for the purpose of mining for the production of natural gas. Where reference is made anywhere to the prohibition of the construction of a gas well within certain distances of specified places, such distances shall be measured from the center of the drill hole except where otherwise provided.

§ 173-3 Gas wells permitted; compliance required.

Gas wells shall be permitted in the Village of Lancaster, whether owned by a public utility or otherwise; provided, however, that they shall be unlawful in any manner unless they are in compliance with the following:
A. 
No gas well drilling operations or construction or excavation for a gas well site nor the erection of drilling equipment or the placing or moving of equipment to be used for construction of a gas well site on any land shall be commenced without a permit being first issued by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lancaster, as provided herein, or such other individual or agency as the Board may designate from time to time.
B. 
Application for a permit from the Village of Lancaster shall be made to the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lancaster or such other individual or agency as the Board may designate from time to time. Said application form shall require the name and address of the leaseholder, the name and address of the drilling company and, if any of the foregoing is a corporation or partnership, the names and addresses of the partners, President and treasurer thereof and the name and address of the agent or person in charge of the drilling operations. Submitted with, attached to and made a part of the application shall be a survey made by a surveyor or engineer licensed by the State of New York, showing by metes and bounds the premises to be drilled on, the proposed location of the well hole and the distance, in feet, of the proposed location of the well hole to adjoining property owners and to all buildings, structures, places of assembly, public recreational facilities, storage or repair areas, places of public travel or occupancy, rights-of-way of any public road or highway, rights-of-way of any public utility and streams, creeks, rivers or other bodies of water which are within 300 feet of the gas well site. If there are no buildings, roads, and so forth, within 300 feet of the gas well site or appurtenances, including ponds, then the surveyor or engineer shall indicate that fact on the survey.
C. 
A copy of the drilling permit issued by the Bureau of Mineral Resources of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation or its successor shall be submitted to the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lancaster, together with the application for a permit. The application also must be accompanied by a fee of $150 in the form of a check or money order made payable to the Village of Lancaster. The application for the permit shall be made and signed by the leaseholder and the drilling company, with the written understanding that they have read this chapter and understand that any violation of this chapter is unlawful and shall constitute reason for immediate revocation of the permit and further, shall be cause for immediately enjoining and ceasing all drilling operations.
D. 
The Board of Trustees of the Village of Lancaster or such other individual or agency as the Board may designate may require such other information as shall be deemed necessary for the proper enforcement of this chapter.
E. 
The leaseholder of the natural gas rights of the premises upon which the gas well is to be drilled and, if there is no leaseholder, the owner of the premises shall obtain and deliver to the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lancaster a license and permit bond in the amount of $10,000 as principal in favor of the Village of Lancaster as obligee, which bond shall ensure compliance with all parts and sections of this chapter. The license and permit bond shall be issued by a bonding company licensed to do business in the State of New York and shall be submitted to the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lancaster with the application for the drilling permit. Such bond shall be conditioned upon compliance with all provisions of this chapter, and the bond shall be made for a period of not less than one year. A new bond or an extension or renewal of the original shall be furnished at the expiration of any existing bond and shall remain in effect as long thereafter as the derrick, derrick foundations, tanks, machinery, pipe or other equipment or improvements placed on the premises to drill or operate the well, including slush pots, sump pumps and ponds, are permitted to remain on the premises. If any bond required herein lapses or becomes void for any reason, the permit issued under this chapter shall immediately become inoperative and void until a new bond is provided or the existing bond is reinstated in full force. All bonds shall be subject to the approval of the Village Attorney as to form and sufficiency.
F. 
The applicant shall also submit to the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lancaster or such other individual or agency as the Board may designate evidence in the form of certificates of insurance that the drilling company maintains and is carrying public liability and property damage insurance covering all drilling operations conducted by the drilling company in an amount of not less than $200,000.
G. 
Upon determination that the application is in order, that the proposed location of the gas well site complies with the restrictions set forth in § 173-4, that a state permit has been issued, that a permit and license bond have been submitted and the fee has been paid and that the necessary insurance is being maintained by the drilling company, the Board of Trustees or such other individual or agency as the Board may designate shall issue a permit to the leaseholder and, if there is no leaseholder, to the owner of the premises.

§ 173-4 Restrictions.

A. 
No gas well shall be located nearer than 150 feet to any public building or structure or area which may be used as a place of assembly, resort, recreation, education, entertainment, lodging, storage, repair, trade, manufacturing or occupancy by the public. Use by the public shall not be construed to include use by the employees of an employer engaged in the foregoing activities.
B. 
No gas well shall be located nearer than 100 feet to any inhabited private dwelling house unless written permission is obtained from the property owner and a copy of said permission is filed with the Board of Trustees or such other individual or agency as the Board may designate.
C. 
No gas well shall be located nearer than 75 feet to the traveled part of any state, county or city road or any public street, road or highway.
D. 
No gas well shall be located nearer than 50 feet to the bank of any public stream, creek, river or other body of water.
E. 
No gas well shall be located nearer than 50 feet to any adjoining or adjacent property line unless written permission is obtained from such adjoining owner and a copy of said permission is filed with the Board of Trustees or such other individual or agency as the Board may designate.
F. 
At every gas well site, there shall be available to the Village of Lancaster Fire Department, during all drilling operations, at least one dry-chemical fire extinguisher of at least 150 total pounds' capacity or five dry-chemical fire extinguishers, each having a total of 30 pounds' capacity. The extinguisher or extinguishers shall be maintained in an approved, operable manner to the satisfaction of the Fire Chief of the Village of Lancaster or his duly designated assistants and shall be stored at a distance of 50 feet from the drilling head.
G. 
Blowout preventers shall be required for all drilling operations, shall be activated at least once a day to ensure performance and shall be activated upon the request of the Fire Chief of the Village of Lancaster or any duly designated assistant in order to ensure performance.
H. 
No blowoffs of any gas well shall be performed unless at least one responsible person from the drilling company is in attendance at all times.

§ 173-5 Prevention of pollution and migration.

A. 
The drilling, casing and completion program adopted for any well shall be such as to prevent pollution. This requirement shall include the erection or construction and maintenance of adequate slush pits where necessary.
B. 
Except as hereinafter provided, sufficient surface casing shall be run in all wells to extend below the deepest potable freshwater level.
C. 
The drilling, casing and completion program adopted for any well shall also be such as to prevent the migration of oil, gas or other fluids from one pool or stratum to another.

§ 173-6 Drilling practices.

A. 
On all wells where the subsurface formations and pressures to be encountered have been reasonably well-established by prior drilling experience, the drilling company shall have the option of either running surface casing, as provided in § 173-5B, or of cementing the production casing from below the deepest potable freshwater level to the surface. In areas where the subsurface formations and pressures to be encountered are unknown or uncertain, surface casing shall be run as provided in § 173-5B.
B. 
When surface casing is utilized, it shall be cemented by the pump and plug or displacement method, with sufficient cement to circulate to the top of the hold. Drilling shall not be resumed until the cement has been permitted to set in accordance with prudent current industry practices.
C. 
In all locations and for any drilling method, an adequate blowout preventer shall be used to prevent and/or control blowouts.
D. 
If it is elected to complete a well and production casing is run, it shall be cemented by the pump and plug or displacement method with sufficient cement to circulate above the top of the completion zone to a height sufficient to prevent any movement of oil, gas or other fluids around the exterior of the production casing. In such instance, operations shall be suspended until the cement has been permitted to set in accordance with prudent current industry practices.

§ 173-7 Additional requirements.

A. 
No gas well shall be drilled in a location that does not have adequate free access to the well site from a public highway for fire or emergency vehicles.
B. 
Notice shall be given to the Board of Trustees or such other individual or agency as the Board may designate and the Fire Chief of the Village of Lancaster at least 24 hours prior to fracturing and prior to any blowoffs of any well.
C. 
The drilling site and gas well location shall be available for inspection at any time by the Fire Chief of the Village of Lancaster and by the Building Inspector.
D. 
Conduct of the drilling operation shall be in accordance with the best accepted industry standards so as to limit nuisances inherent in the drilling operation. Specifically, noise shall be limited, and disposal of fluids at the well head shall be done in a manner to save surrounding lands and property from damage.
E. 
At least two hours prior to the commencement of the drilling operations, the Fire Chief of the Village of Lancaster and the Building Inspector shall be notified by the drilling company of the exact time that drilling operations are to commence in order that the Fire Chief or his duly designated assistant and the Building Inspector shall have an opportunity to make a further inspection to determine compliance with this chapter. Immediately after the cement of the casing has hardened and the blowout preventer is installed, the drilling company shall again notify the Fire Chief and the Building Inspector of such fact in order that the Fire Chief or his duly designated assistant and the Building Inspector shall have an opportunity to make a further inspection to determine compliance with this chapter, and there shall be no further drilling until such inspection has been made. This inspection shall be made as soon as practicable but within at least 12 hours of notification by the drilling company.
F. 
In the event that noncompliance is determined after either of the above inspections, the Building Inspector or, in his absence, the Fire Chief or his duly designated assistant shall have the authority to immediately revoke the permit.
G. 
This section shall not be deemed to waive the right of the Building Inspector or the Fire Chief or his duly designated assistant from making further inspections to ensure compliance with all parts of this chapter.
H. 
The Village Clerk-Treasurer of the Village of Lancaster shall, within five days after issuance of the permit for gas drilling in the Village of Lancaster, send notification to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Mineral Resources or its successor that such permit was issued by the Village of Lancaster, stating the applicant's name and the location of the proposed drilling site.
I. 
Any gas well and appurtenances thereto shall be completely enclosed by a metal security fence, six feet in height, with posts imbedded in concrete foundations and with all gates or doors opening through such enclosure equipped with self-closing and self-latching devices designed to keep and capable of keeping gates or doors securely locked and closed at all times when such gas well is not attended by authorized personnel. All such necessary security fences shall be constructed and completed within 30 days after the completion of drilling operations. Such gates or doors shall be securely closed and locked at all times when the gas well is not attended by authorized personnel. The fence shall be constructed by the leaseholder and, if there is no leaseholder, then by the owner or owners of the premises upon which the gas well is located. If weather conditions impair installation of permanent fencing, the driller may, with written permission from the Building Inspector, erect temporary fencing. Any such permit to delay permanent fencing shall indicate the date that the permanent fencing will be completed.
J. 
No access road to be used in connection with a gas well site shall be constructed within eight feet of any adjoining property unless written permission is obtained from the adjoining owner and a copy of said permission is filed with the Building Inspector.

§ 173-8 Restoration of drilling site.

A. 
Following completion of the drilling of any gas well, all land surfaces shall be graded to the original contour and, where necessary, seeded with a suitable ground cover, fertilized, mulched and maintained, all in accordance with acceptable applicable standards, in order that the property be restored as nearly as possible to the same surface conditions which existed prior to commencement of the drilling operation. Such restoration must be accomplished within 30 days after removal of the drilling rig and apparatus. If weather or further construction prohibits or impairs restoration within the aforementioned time limit, the drilling company may submit a request to the Building Inspector for an extension of time to complete permanent restoration. The Building Inspector may extend the time for completion up to three months from the date of the request to so extend.
B. 
A sign of a permanent nature no larger than four square feet shall be displayed and maintained at the driveway to the well, indicating the drilling company's name, address and telephone number and the telephone numbers to call at any time of the day or night in case of emergency.

§ 173-9 Compliance required for existing drilling sites.

The terms and conditions of this chapter dealing with the maintenance and operation of drilling facilities shall, where applicable, apply to drilling sites and/or facilities operational prior to the effective date of this chapter. Such terms and conditions shall include but not be limited to the safeguards set forth herein, together with the fencing requirements contained in § 173-7I; provided, however, that the time period for the installation of any such security fence, as required by the above-mentioned section, relative to existing drilling facilities shall be for a period of 30 days after the effective date of this chapter.

§ 173-10 Penalties for offenses.

In addition to being subject to any other legal or equitable remedies, the leaseholder of the premises upon which any violation of the provisions of this chapter has been committed or shall exist and the general agent, drilling company, owner, contractor or any other person who knowingly commits, takes part in or assists in any such violation or who maintains any gas well or structure on the premises in or upon which any such violation shall exist shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter and shall be liable, upon conviction thereof, to a fine or penalty not exceeding $250 or 15 days in jail, or both. Each operating day of drilling in violation shall be construed to be a separate offense.

§ 173-11 Higher standards to prevail.

If any other ordinance, local law, code or state law, rule or regulation now in effect or hereafter enacted is more restrictive than this chapter or imposes higher standards or requirements than the provisions of this chapter, then the provisions of the higher or more restrictive requirement shall govern.