NORTH BEND- The Chapman Township Zoning Hearing Board has granted three special exceptations and one variance to XTO Energy Inc. so the the gas drilling firm can construct three new gas well pads in the township.
The new pads, to be build in the Dry Run Road area, will house least 16 Marcellus shale wells.
Petitioning the zoning board was Stephen Gibson, senior design engineer for McTish, Kunkel and Associates, on behalf of XTO.
Zoning board members Denny Trout and Eric Ditty both agreed to the requests. The third board member, Greg Lucas, was not present.
The requests received no negative comments and were never really under contention, as the zoning board has previously allowed similar requests before. Five similar pads already are in the area.
The pads, which are the area standard 400-by-500-feet, will house five or six wells each. The pad referred to as H Pad could possibly hold up to 10 wells, but over the next few years, that number will likely be five.
The variance under question regarded K Pad, whose border may encroach the 200-foot barrier away from Dry Run Road. Gibson explained that the variance was needed because they could not move in the opposite direction due to a private water source. Neither Trout nor Ditty objected to the idea.
XTO is awaiting expected approval from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission on the M Pad. It's possible there will be rattlesnakes in the area, but a biologist found no signs of the reptile, basking spots or dens in the area.