Castle Rock hosts oil and gas open house

Town drafting local regulations

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The Town of Castle Rock announced plans for an oil and gas open house to answer questions as it drafts regulations for drilling operations in town limits.

In recent months, the town has received two inquiries regarding the possibility of drilling in town limits and is in the early stages of drafting regulations, said town spokeswoman Kim Mutchler.

In the absence of any formal applications, the town could not disclose the identities of the companies looking into local drilling sites. Among the inquiries is interest in drilling on a vacant parcel on the Hazen/Moore property on Front Street, south of Blackfeather and the Metzler Park area, according to Castle Rock development services.

In advance of a formal application and on the heels of similar regulations under way in surrounding communities, Castle Rock is taking a “proactive” position to prepare for the possibility of drilling in town, Mutchler said.

In July, Parker became the first local municipality to adopt a set of oil and gas regulations, which are limited in scope to land-use impacts. All oil and gas drilling regulations are under the purview of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and local agencies are limited in their ability to regulate industry operations, said Heather Vidlock, Castle Rock assistant director of development services. Local communities are limited to ordinances that address issues such as access, hours of operation, noise and traffic, Vidlock said.

The oil and gas commission oversees all other oil and gas operations such as drilling sites, the number of oil wells per location and water consumption, she said. The open house is intended to provide answers to residents in and around Castle Rock.

“We want to hear community input,” Vidlock said. “The biggest input we’re getting from the community is (residents are) wanting us to regulate more than we can. We’re limited by the oil and gas commission to certain things.”

Once an oil company has gained permission from the oil and gas commission to begin drilling, the town cannot prevent the drilling from taking place in town limits, Vidlock said. Castle Rock cannot regulate water use or consumption, set drilling limitations, or limit the number of wells or where those wells are located on the property, she said.

Douglas County is drafting regulations, which will be considered by county commissioners closer to the end of the year, said Wendy Holmes, Douglas County spokeswoman. Neighboring Elbert County adopted regulations earlier this year.

The Castle Rock oil and gas open house is from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 31 at town hall council chambers, 100 N. Wilcox St.

The proposed regulations are expected to go before the town planning commission in October and be ready for town council consideration in November, according to the town of Castle Rock.

For more information, contact Castle Rock Planner Sandy Vossler at SVossler@CRgov.com or 720-733-3556.