BEFORE THE OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF COLORADO
IN THE MATTER OF THE RULES AND ) CAUSE NO. 1
REGULATIONS OF THE COLORADO OIL )
AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION, ) ORDER NO. 1-94
WELD COUNTY, COLORADO )
This cause came on for hearing before the Commission on March 19, 2001 at 9:30 a.m. in the City Council Chambers, Longmont City Hall Building, 350 Kimbark, Longmont, Colorado after giving Notice of Hearing as required by law, on the application of the City of Longmont for an order determining that certain lands in Township 2 North, Range 68 West, 6th P.M. constitute a designated outside activity area in accordance with Commission Rule 603.b.
The Commission finds as follows:
1. The City of Longmont (“Longmont”), as applicant herein, is an interested party in the subject matter of the above-referenced hearing.
2. Due notice of the time, place and purpose of the hearing has been given in all respects as required by law.
3. The Commission has jurisdiction over the subject matter embraced in said notice and the parties interested therein, and jurisdiction to promulgate the hereinafter prescribed order.
4. On October 18, 2000, TOP Operating Company (“TOP”) by its attorney, filed with the Commission a verified application for an order withdrawing the conditions placed administratively on seven (7) drilling permits issued for the Evans #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 8 Wells based on the belief that the Commission Director has no statutory authority to resolve surface use conflicts by requiring directional drilling.
5. On November 3, 2000, Longmont, by its attorney, filed with the Commission an application to intervene in the TOP application and for an order determining the lands in TOP’s application constitute a designated outside activity area in accordance with high density area Rule 603.b. At the December 2000 hearing, the Commission heard arguments from TOP recommending TOP’s application and Longmont’s application be heard as separate matters. The Commission voted to hold separate hearings on the two applications and to conduct a field tour of Longmont’s application lands prior to the hearing on Longmont’s application.
6. On December 11, 2000, Longmont supplemented its application to more completely describe the lands requested to be designated an outside activity area as follows:
Township 2 North, Range 68 West, 6th P.M.
Section 7: E½
Section 8: W½ SW¼
7. A tour of the application lands comprising Sandstone Ranch was conducted for the Commission prior to the hearing on designation of the lands as an outside activity area.
8. The Commission heard testimony from Leona Stoecker, Mayor of the City of Longmont describing how Longmont acquired Sandstone Ranch and Longmont’s interest in developing the property for its citizens.
9. The Commission heard testimony from Paula Fitzgerald, City of Longmont Park Planner describing the acquisition of the 313 acres comprising Sandstone Ranch, the development of the master plan using stakeholder groups for public participation, the expenditures to date on the project and the planned phases of development. Ms. Fitzgerald estimated that approximately 57,228 people are anticipated to use the facilities in Phase 1 of the Sandstone Ranch development. She further estimated that approximately 244,288 visitors per year will use Sandstone Ranch facilities once development is complete. Ms. Fitzgerald testified that she became aware of TOP’s mineral ownership in March, 2000 and that Longmont then began to identify central drillsites from which wells could be drilled.
10. The Commission heard rebuttal testimony from Rodney Herring, Vice President of TOP on TOP’s acquisition of mineral leases as early as 1990 through 1998 when TOP obtained a mineral lease owned by Murray Herring. Mr. Herring described TOP’s efforts to notify Longmont of their leasehold ownership and to communicate with Longmont’s Planning Department regarding development proposed near TOP’s leases.
11. Pursuant to Rule 510., Ken Wonstolen, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, made statements regarding the concern that development plans may be made without consideration to the rights of the mineral owner and then those plans can be brought to the Commission for ratification.
12. Staff analysis was presented by Rich Griebling and Brian Macke which indicated that TOP has five (5) active permits-to-drill in the NW¼ of Section 7, Township 2 North, Range 68 West, 6th P.M.
13. The Commission finds that testimony and evidence presented at the hearing and on the field tour indicated Longmont has developed the NW¼ NE¼ of Section 7, Township 2 North, Range 68 West, 6th P.M. as four (4) baseball/softball fields, concession stands, parking lots and associated facilities to be placed in operation May 19, 2001. The Commission found that Longmont has plans to construct sports fields and facilities for public use on other portions of the application lands but because these plans have not yet moved beyond the planning stage of these facilities and because the facilities are not yet under construction or in use by the public as of the date of the hearing, these lands do not constitute an outside activity area as defined by the Commission 100 Series Rules.
14. The Commission directed Longmont and TOP to work together to determine suitable well locations in Sandstone Ranch. If the parties are unable to agree on well locations, the Commission will hear testimony on proposed locations at the May 31-June 1, 2001 hearing.
15. The Commission should designate the NW¼ NE¼ of Section 7, Township 2 North, Range 68 West, 6th P.M. as an outside activity area in accordance with Rule 603.b. and require any well drilled on these lands to be located no less than three hundred fifty feet (350’) from the boundary of any constructed baseball/softball fields, concession stands, parking lots and associated facilities.
NOW, THEREFORE IT IS ORDERED, that the NW¼ NE¼ of Section 7, Township 2 North, Range 68 West, 6th P.M. is hereby designated an outside activity area in accordance with Rule 603.b.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that any well drilled in the above-described lands shall be located no less than three hundred fifty feet (350’) from the boundary of any constructed baseball/softball fields, concession stands, parking lots and associated facilities.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the provisions contained in the above orders shall become effective forthwith.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the Commission expressly reserves its right, after notice and hearing, to alter, amend or repeal any and/or all of the above orders.
ENTERED this day of 2001, as of March 19, 2001.
OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF COLORADO
Patricia C. Beaver, Secretary
Dated at Suite 801
1120 Lincoln Street
Denver, Colorado 80203
April 4, 2001