Township of Elizabeth, PA
Allegheny County
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[Added by Ord. No. 911, 3/17/2014]
It is hereby declared to be the purpose of this article to declare that natural gas compressor stations be considered a "conditional use" in all zoning districts and in all parts of the Township as part of the Oil and Gas Overlay District within the Township. Elizabeth Township recognizes that the regulation of oil and gas operations is the primary responsibility of the regulatory agencies of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but that the Township maintains its zoning powers as set forth in Pennsylvania Statute Title 53, Municipality Planning Code ("MPC") and through the Township Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision and Land Development Regulations as set forth in Chapters 10, 22 and 27 of the Township's Code of Ordinances. It is in the Township's best interest to address the zoning districts where such activities are sought to be undertaken and to have information concerning oil and gas exploration, development, and production taking place within the Township and to ensure certain security and safety measures related to oil and gas development are in place in certain areas, if approved.
As used in this article, the following terms shall be interpreted or defined as follows:
AMBIENT NOISE LEVEL
The all-encompassing noise level associated with a given environment, being a composite of sounds from all sources at the location constituting the normal or existing level of environmental noise at a given location without extreme atmospheric conditions, such as wind greater than three meters per second or precipitation, and then adjusting the noise level to eliminate any noise associated with then existing development of facilities.
A. 
The noise level shall be established based on a test performed during a continuous seventy-two-hour time span which shall include at least one twenty-four-hour reading during either a Saturday or Sunday. The testing shall be done by a qualified noise control engineer or other qualified person approved by the Township and shall be in accordance with specifications ANSI S12.18-1994 Method II and ANSI SI.4-1971. The Township reserves the right to hire a third-party consultant to witness testing and review the results. The third-party costs will be deducted from the facility operator's escrow deposit. The sound level meters used shall meet the American Standard Institute's standard for a Type I sound level meter.
APPROVED
Accepted, sanctioned or endorsed by appropriate Township, county, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or federal government bodies.
DECIBEL (DB)
A unit for measuring the intensity of a sound/noise; equal to 10 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the measured sound pressure, squared to a reference pressure of 20 micropascals.
NATURAL GAS COMPRESSOR STATION
A facility designed and constructed to compress natural gas that originates from an oil and gas well or collection of such wells operating as a midstream facility for delivery of oil and gas to a transmission pipeline, distribution pipeline, natural gas processing plant, or underground storage field, including one or more natural gas compressors, associated buildings, pipes, valves, tanks and other equipment.
NATURAL GAS PROCESSING PLANT
A facility that is not a natural gas compressor station that is designed and constructed to remove materials such as ethane, propane, butane, and other constituents or similar substances from natural gas to allow such natural gas to be of such quality as is required or appropriate for transmission or distribution to commercial markets but not including facilities or equipment that are/is designed and constructed primarily to remove water, water vapor, oil or naturally occurring liquids from natural gas, which includes "dew point control facilities."
OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT or DEVELOPMENT
The process of perforating the earth's surface and rock layers to extract fossil fuels, natural gas or oil for energy production, and all associated equipment, structures and construction at the drilling site including the well pad, access roads, hydraulic fracturing, production, pipelines, tanks, meters, and temporary work crew and supervisor trailers for exploration and production at a single well pad, including multiple wells at a single well pad, and all subsequent site reclamation activities which follow the production phase.
OPERATOR
Any person, partnership, company, corporation, and its subcontractors, and agents who operate or seek to operate a natural gas compressor station.
PROTECTED STRUCTURE
Any occupied residence, commercial business, school, religious institution or other public building located within 500 feet of a natural gas compressor station that may be impacted by noise, emissions, light, or other negative attributes not limited to natural gas compressor stations and associated with activities as defined herein.
SETBACKS
The required minimum horizontal distance between the building line and the related front, side, or rear property line, or along a private or public street, in which no building or accessory structure may be located above ground, except as otherwise provided in this article (excludes nominal roof overhangs, chimneys, unenclosed porches and stoops, and porch or entrance roofs not exceeding six feet in depth).
SITE
With the exception of the definition for "oil and gas development or development" as set forth above, as used in this article the term "site" is defined as a natural gas compressor station, as defined above, and the property surrounding a natural gas compressor station upon which any equipment, fixtures, storage, access roads, driveways, maintenance, and activities associated with the natural gas compressor station are located.
TOWNSHIP
Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
A. 
Elizabeth Township hereby declares that natural gas compressors stations are defined as a conditional use within industrial zoning districts. The use shall be subject to the following standards: If the proposed use is granted, consistent with Article XIV of this chapter as amended, in addition to the conditions listed below, Elizabeth Township shall impose any and all reasonable safeguards or conditions necessary to implement the intent of that article and shall review the particular facts and circumstances of each proposed conditional use application in terms of the standards listed in Article XIV of this chapter as well as more specific criteria as set forth in the remaining paragraphs herein. Applicant shall have the duty and the burden to prove compliance with the specific conditions set forth herein and by way of this article. Applicant shall bear the burden of persuasion to demonstrate that the proposed conditional use will not have detrimental effects on the health, safety and welfare of Township residents relative to any additional conditions.
B. 
Conditional use approval for a natural gas compressor station shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of the approval. If development has not been initiated within one year after the conditional use approval, the conditional use approval shall expire. An extension may be granted by the Elizabeth Township Board of Commissioners for an additional period of time, not to exceed a maximum of one year upon written request by the applicant filed prior to the expiration of the original one-year period, subject to the finding that the plan is in compliance with all current applicable provisions and requirements.
C. 
All aspects of the proposed natural gas compressor station including, but not limited to, design, development, and placement, shall comply with the Elizabeth Township Code of Ordinances, Chapters 10, 22, and 27.
D. 
Natural gas compressor station construction shall comply with the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, 35 P.S. §§ 7210.101 to 7210.1103, as amended, which was adopted by the Township in Ordinance 795.
E. 
Right of Entry: The Zoning Officer/Code Enforcement Officer or duly authorized Township Official may enter the premises or structure during normal business hours to verify or enforce provisions of this article and the conditional use approval. If premises or structure is unmanned, or, if there is reasonable cause to believe a condition exists on the premise which violates the ordinance constituting an unsafe condition, access shall be granted within 24 hours of notification to the operator/applicant.
F. 
Heavy truck traffic accessing the site will be limited to the hours between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., including weekends.
G. 
In the event new regulations are implemented by the Township, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, United States Environmental Protection Agency, or any other administrative body regarding air, water or noise, the operator/applicant shall comply with all new provisions, waives any rights that they may be deemed grandfathered in, and will use all means necessary to implement complete compliance with all new regulations.
H. 
Operator/applicant shall provide training of Elizabeth Township First Responders and site orientation prior to the issuance of certificate of occupancy, temporary or permanent. Training shall be at the sole cost and expense of the operator/applicant.
(1) 
In the event an emergency including but not limited to: product loss (liquid, gaseous or solid) regardless of quantity, equipment malfunction, fire, or explosion, incident resulting in injury, fatalities, property damage, or any other significant incident, the operator/applicant shall immediately notify Allegheny County 911 Center and copies of reports shall be provided to the Township within 48 hours following such incident. The applicant shall provide warning/site identification signs posted at the entrance to the site which shall include the following:
(a) 
Operator/applicant name.
(b) 
Unit or site name.
(c) 
Township assigned address.
(d) 
Emergency contact phone number.
(e) 
Hazardous materials on site.
I. 
Operator/applicant shall meet with the Township officials by way of an advertised public hearing every three years to discuss community impacts.
J. 
In the event new legislation is enacted at the federal, state, county or local level that reduces current levels of protections, the operator/applicant shall continue to comply with current applicable regulations and protections that are in place at the time of the approval of the conditional use application.
K. 
Operator/applicant and/or its contractors shall, as part of the conditional use, furnish to the Township a certificate of liability insurance of a company licensed within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania naming the Township as an additional insured and showing liability insurance coverage covering commercial, personal injury, and general liability in the amounts not less than $5,000,000 per person, $5,000,000 per occurrence, and $5,000,000 property damage. Operator/applicant shall fully defend, protect, indemnify, and hold harmless the Township, its departments, agents, officers, employees, or volunteers from and against such and every claim, related to any and all activates in the Township by applicant or its subsidiaries. Insurance carrier shall name the Township as "certificate holder."
A. 
The minimum setback shall be 500 feet from a protected structure.
B. 
No structure, equipment or other appurtenances shall occupy any required setback.
The design standards contained herein are in addition to those outlined in the Township's code at Chapters 10, 22, and 27, as amended.
A. 
Site access: Beginning with its intersection with a public street, any ingress or egress point for the development or facility shall be paved for the first 50 feet and improved with limestone or other material for the next 100 feet in a manner to minimize the amount of water, sediment, or debris that is carried onto any public street, as more specifically prescribed below.
B. 
Ingress and egress points for all public and private driveways or roadways shall be located and improved in order to:
(1) 
Meet Pennsylvania Code 67 Chapter 441 "Access to and occupancy of Highways by Driveway and Local Roads," PENNDOT Design Manual 2.
C. 
Access or driveway permits to state or Township roads:
(1) 
All applicable permits or approvals must be obtained, including without limitation access or driveway permits to state or Township roads.
D. 
Equipment:
(1) 
Installation of condensate and salt water tanks shall not exceed the height and area limitation of the zoning district, and shall be provided with containment devices as approved by the Township.
(2) 
A shroud shall be installed around the flare at the site.
E. 
Spill Containment:
(1) 
If a spill, fire, or other violation of any federal, state or local law occurs at the drill site or in the Township by operator or its subcontractors, operator shall notify the Township immediately, in all circumstances, no later than 24 hours after the incident occurred or, if the incident is ongoing, no later than 24 hours after it began.
F. 
Site Safety and Security:
(1) 
Video surveillance monitoring equipment shall be installed at the site for security purposes.
(2) 
Operator/applicant shall provide training of Elizabeth Township First Responders and site orientation prior to the issuance of certificate of occupancy, temporary or permanent. Training shall be at the sole cost and expense of the operator/applicant.
(3) 
In the event an emergency including, but not limited to, product loss (liquid, gaseous or solid) regardless of quantity, equipment malfunction, fire, or explosion, incident resulting in injury, fatalities, property damage, or any other significant incident, the operator/applicant shall immediately notify Allegheny County 911 Center, and copies of such incident reports shall be furnished to the Township.
(4) 
Site lighting shall be turned off at night other than emergency lighting and/or lights which will be activated by motion detectors.
(5) 
If Elizabeth Township reasonably believes the citizens of Elizabeth Township would be subjected to harmful byproducts from the proposed compressor station which may place residents in immediate danger, the Board of Commissioners reserve the right to immediately request that the operator/applicant cease operation until the situation is remedied to Township's satisfaction.
A. 
Application fee in the amount of $2,500 shall be paid by the operator/applicant for the purposes of payment for expenses incurred or to be incurred by the Township for administration of the application. Fees may be adjusted by the Township Board of Commissioners from time to time by resolution. To the extent that the same is not otherwise included or provided, copies of applications for permits from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or other governmental units related to the proposed natural gas compressor station shall be submitted to the Township at the time the application for conditional use is submitted to the Township.
B. 
Applications filed for conditional use shall be in accordance with Township Code of Ordinances, as amended. The operator/applicant of a filed application shall submit a preparedness, prevention, and contingency ("PPC") plan at time of filing such application.
Any operator or person performing work at their direction who violates or permits a violation of this article shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Township before a Magisterial District Judge, pay a fine of not more than $1,000 per each day the violation exists. No judgment shall be imposed until the date of the determination of the violation by the Magisterial District Judge. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the Township may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable Rules of Civil Procedure. Each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense. Further, the appropriate officers or agents of the Township are hereby authorized to issue a cease-and-desist notice and/or to seek equitable relief, including injunction, to enforce compliance herewith. No bond will be required if injunctive relief is sought by the Township.