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Jerusalem amends zoning to ban hydrofracking

    BRANCHPORT—Jerusalem has made amendments to the town’s Zoning Ordinance that will ban drilling in natural gas wells. The town board approved a local law to modify the zoning laws in order to give it a more firm stance against fracking during the regular meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 15.
    One of the changes made to the ordinance was clarifying that any use of land or water not claimed to be authorized by the town will be deemed unlawful. That amendment reads “It is the purpose of this Law to allow flexibility of land use, subject always to the restrictions, prohibitions, and requirements contained herein. Any use not specifically set forth as a permitted use in any district is hereby expressly prohibited in that district.”
    The adopted local law also includes a listing of certain activities declared to be “explicitly prohibited” in Jerusalem. Uses and actions defined as illegal in the added clause are disposal of radioactive material, injection wells, land application facilities, large scale water use, natural gas and petroleum exploration activities, natural gas and petroleum extraction activities; natural gas and petroleum extraction, exploration or production wastes disposal and storage facilities, natural gas and petroleum extraction, exploration or production wastes dump; natural gas compression facilities, natural gas process facilities, non-regulated pipelines, underground injection and underground natural gas storage.
    While several townships in Yates County have established fracking moratoriums (Barrington, Milo and Starkey), Jerusalem is the first to impose any laws prohibiting drilling. The Town of Jerusalem Zoning Ordinance has existed since 1974.   
    In other business:
    • The town board decided they will vote on a local law to establish a fencing moratorium during the next regular meeting. The board had originally agreed to consider establishing a moratorium on the matter after resident Matt Piczak addressed the board during last month’s regular meeting about issues he was having due to a neighbor’s fence expanding onto his property. However, Councilperson Patrick Killen said the town would be ready to establish a law quicker than expected so a moratorium would not be necessary.
    The next regular meeting will be on Wednesday, March 21 at 7 p.m.




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