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White Oak Council Considers Zoning Changes for Marijuana Clinics, Gas Drilling

By Cami DiBattista
The Tube City Almanac
September 20, 2017
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

White Oak council is considering changes to the borough’s zoning rules to govern how it would handle medical marijuana clinics as well as future oil and gas drilling operations.

At a public hearing Monday at the municipal building, Mike Hammond, filling in for borough Solicitor Krisha DiMascio, gave a brief overview of the purpose of each proposed change.

The borough currently has no zoning regulations governing either medical marijuana or oil and gas drilling.

The proposed medical marijuana zoning ordinance, similar to other ordinances passed across state, outlines where a dispensary could be located and provides penalties for violations.

Under the proposed White Oak ordinance, “the dispensaries (could be) zoned only in commercial and light industrial zones, meaning they (could) not be located near any schools,” Council President Ron Massung said.

In June, the state Department of Health granted permits to dispense medical marijuana to 27 companies across Pennsylvania, including two in Allegheny County. Each permit holder is allowed to open up to three locations.

The proposed changes to the zoning ordinance for oil and gas drilling are designed to be “respectful” to an individual’s property rights, Hammond said, and are similar to ordinances adopted by surrounding municipalities, he said.

Under the proposed ordinance, anyone interested in drilling for oil and gas would be required to request a permit from White Oak borough and would have a hearing before council, he said. 

Additionally, drilling operators would be required to give notice to surrounding homeowners who would then be invited to ask questions of the operator about what the process will entail.

Deep wells would not be allowed closer than 1,000 feet from any occupied structure, and noise levels, lighting and on-site working conditions would be monitored by the borough, according to Hammond. The permitting process would require water quality testing both before and after a well was drilled, he said.

Council has not yet scheduled a vote on whether or not to adopt the proposed ordinances.

Originally published September 20, 2017.

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