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Trustees seek gas leasing answers


February 17, 2012

FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP - Trustees want to speak with DPS Penn regarding gas and oil leases on township property.

The township owns almost 35 acres including the old school (government building), the old garage, a house and park property on Southern Avenue.

Last month, the township received a letter from DPS which works for Chesapeake Energy in preparing oil and gas rights for development.

At that time, Trustee Chairman Bob Hum was concerned because they were dealing with the "people's property" and restated that concern again on Thursday.

Hum still had mixed feelings, saying, "I don't know where this is going."

One meeting guest, Wayne Wise, asked about the percentage the township would receive and Trustee Barry Miner said it was $5,800 per acre and 18 percent for royalties.

"They're at 20 percent now," Wise noted.

Resident Tom Bell was also interested in a decision and Hum said, "It's the people's property ... if a lien's on the property it's forever ... if you're part of an interest and that well's producing, you're on it ... we're dealing with the people's property."

Bell said, "It's not going away ... if it's the people's gas they should be compensated."

Hum said, "We'll have to see where it's going."

Trustee Barry Miner said he's wrestled with the issue too but noted, "We also have a fiduciary responsibility."

He noted the township has waited, but cautioned against waiting too long.

Bell said two bad things can happen - water can get into a well and the driller can come up with a dry well.

Miner said he would contact the DPS representatives to attend the March 1 meeting.

In other business, Miner distributed a punch list after conducting a field review for work needed on Beeson Mill Road where drilling-related road work was performed by the drilling company.

"There's a lot that still has to be done," Miner said, explaining he provided the company, Chesapeake Energy Shale Operations (CESO), with a copy of the list which includes additional top base coating; an apron with number 304 limestone; and low shoulder signs need to be installed at both ends for elevation changes.

In other business, trustees unanimously approved an agreement to hire Wendy Moeller on an on-call basis for supplemental zoning review services.

Zoning Officer Kymberly Seabolt requested the agreement.

Moeller, who is not an attorney as noted in a previous story, is president of the American Planning Association, Ohio Chapter and owns Compass Point Planning. The agreement calls for her to be paid $50 per hour.

Fiscal Officer Pat Hoffmaster noted the agreement is not a contract.

In other business, Miner asked about the procedure in dealing with junk vehicles since the township constable retired.

Hum said said it was through the sheriff and Miner said, "there's getting to be quite a few of them out there."

"They (sheriff) eventually come to us and get a resolution," Hum said.

Miner said some townships go through their zoning (office) and Hum said they've dealt with the sheriff.

"We haven't had any complaints," he said and Seabolt asked, if there was something she could do to become part of the process.

No action was taken and Miner asked about portable structures being used to cover cars.

Seabolt said the issue had been discussed but the township was not permitting them.

"We don't do much with those," she said and Miner asked if zoning addressed them at all.

"Yes," Seabolt said but didn't have the specific information with her and said she would get it for the next meeting.

"It's my understanding," Miner said, "we couldn't have portable structures."

Also, Hoffmaster advised the township will pay $18,794 to the Columbiana County Health Department in fees for 2012. It is the third highest amount paid in the county, she said.

Also, trustees approved amending a purchase order for new truck.

Larry Shields can be reached at



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