ADAMS TWP — The township will not limit where natural gas wells can be drilled.
The township supervisors Monday night voted 4-1 against amending the zoning ordinance to include an overlay to prohibit gas wells within two miles of schools in the Mars School District.
Six Marcellus shale gas wells are planned for the Bob and Kim Geyer property on Denny Road. They will be within a mile of school district property.
State law requires that wells have a 500-foot buffer from school property.
The vote was opposite of the action taken Wednesday by the township planning commission members, who voted 4-3 to recommend that the supervisors enact an overlay prohibiting surface drilling within 1,250 feet of school property.
Supervisors Chairman Donald Aiken asked each supervisor to state his conclusion regarding amending the zoning ordinance to include an overlay around the schools.
Supervisor Tom Franceschina was the lone dissenter because he advocated a 2,500-foot overlay around the schools.
“This is the toughest thing I've had to do in my 26 years as an Adams supervisor,” said Linda Lees.
“I don't believe we have the right to tell anyone what they can or cannot do with their property,” said Russ Ford.
“We have never heard one word from the Mars School District,” Aiken said. “This should not be our decision.”
Ed Vogel said he favored leaving the zoning ordinance in its current form.
After the meeting, half the crowd was jubilant and half was distraught.
The Geyer wells are in the permitting process. It is not known when construction will begin on the wells.