Oxford Town Board hears opposition

OXFORD – The Village of Oxford held a public hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 13 in an effort to gain some feedback on some purposed changes to the town's zoning ordnance.

The new laws, if passed by the Town Board, revolves again around the controversial issue of Hydrofracturing (fracking) for the acquisition of natural gas that is believed to be present hundreds of feet below the surface throughout the Marcellus Shale tract situated in New York and Pennsylvania.

Specifically, Town of Oxford zoning regulations adopted in the early 1970s that were revisited and amended in 2007 to include the authorization of fracking and drilling for gas under special exemption by the towns zoning board of appeals.

Now, the Town Board is proposing yet another change to the law, which would shift the authorizing body from the town's Zoning Board of Appeals to the Town Planning Committee, a move that has area residents up in arms.

“We jointly felt that the planing board was much more in tune to the zoning regulations of the town than the zoning board of appeals are as [the planning board] meets more frequently and deals with these issues on a regular basis,” said board member Jerry Locke.

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