Oxford lets drilling moratorium slide, pursues other options

OXFORD – A proposed nine-month moratorium on shale gas drilling within the confines of the village limits will be allowed to expire Sunday. The proposed moratorium, which has given rise to a large degree of attention, was tabled on Dec.11, during a village board of trustees meeting attended by approximately 80 people. Based on the board of trustees’ prior history voting on the drafted moratorium, it was believed by many they would vote during the December meeting to enact it. But, after the Central New York Landowners Coalition (CNYLC) threatened litigation should the municipality enact the moratorium, the board decided to instead table it for further review.

In the intervening period, the board determined it was in the best interest of the municipality and the village of Oxford, to let the tabled moratorium expire without action. Alternatively, the municipality has chosen to pursue other avenues in dealing with the issue of gas exploration strictly within the village boundaries. The first option, which has already been put into action, is a confirmatory/clarification amendment to the village’s existing zoning ordinance. That change seeks to confirm that anything not expressly permitted in the existing zoning ordinance, is in fact prohibited – effectively zoning out gas exploration within the village limits. After being reviewed by the village trustees and planning board, the clarification amendment has been passed onto the county planning board for its own review.

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