Munroe Falls -- Two months after the Ohio Supreme Court delivered a final blow to the city's attempts at controlling oil and gas drilling within its boundaries, City Council has done a bit of housekeeping connected to it.
Council unanimously approved April 21 an ordinance repealing Chapter 1329, which provides drilling regulations, of the city's codified ordinances.
The chapter, the bulk of which dates back to 1980, covers areas such as permits, public hearing requirements, consent of neighboring property owners, inspections, maintenance and landscaping.
Council introduced the ordinance for first reading March 17. Law Director Jack Morrison told Council April 7 that the chapter serves no point since the city cannot enforce its provisions.
"While you are not required to repeal it, I think it is incumbent on the city, because it has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, to repeal it," said Morrison.
In March 2011, when Ravenna-based Beck Energy brought in a bulldozer onto private Munroe Falls Avenue residential property to begin construction of a driveway to service a planned well, the city issued a stop-work order because Beck did not have city zoning permits.
City officials have argued that it is a matter of home rule, while Beck said it had permits from ODNR and that it would be too onerous if drillers had to follow a hodgepodge of local rules statewide.
The Summit County Court of Common Pleas sided with the city. Beck appealed, and the Ninth District Court of Appeals ruled that the city's zoning rules were in conflict with state law. The city requested that the state's high court hear the case, which it agreed to do in June 2013. Oral arguments were heard in February 2014.
In a 4-3 decision Feb. 17, the court ruled that the state has "sole and exclusive authority" to regulate oil and gas well locations.
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