Broomfield, Colorado, Council Passes Sweeping Land Use Regulations

Credit: Paul Aiken /Daily Camera.
Broomfield, Colorado, residents Laurie Anderson and John Varn listen to testimony at a city council meeting regarding regulations on oil and gas development in the city.

The Broomfield, Colorado, City Council voted unanimously on 10 July—and amid applause—to amend sections of the municipal code regarding oil and gas regulations.

In general, the regulations ensure that oil and gas facilities are designed, modified, commissioned, constructed, equipped, operated, maintained, suspended, and abandoned in a manner that prioritizes the protection of human health, safety, and welfare.

They also contain provisions related to the location of proposed oil and gas well sites, including a requirement that operators conduct an alternative site analysis.

Environmental attorney Elizabeth Paranhos walked council members through the two pathways operators can choose from if they want to drill in Broomfield—a use by special review permit or an operator agreement.

The only difference between the two pathways is that, for an operator agreement, an application does not need to go before Planning and Zoning, she said.

A use-by-special review would include three review steps—first going to staff for recommendations to vet whether it should be accepted, denied, or accepted with revisions, then to Planning and Zoning, and finally to the council.

There are 33 information requirements that the operator needs to provide for either path, Paranhos said, many of which include detailed plans such as air monitoring.

"They need to demonstrate the proposed facility meets the 301 committee recommendations, which is now part of your charter," she said.

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