blueprints of a plan

Section 18-583 - Treatment of Land Unsuitable for Development

City of Thornton staff has created a draft ordinance to amend Section 18-583 of the Thornton City Code to add requirements for the separation of new residential and nonresidential developments from existing oil and gas facilities such as flowlines and gathering pipelines, plugged and abandoned wells, and shut-in wells. The proposed draft ordinance can be found on this webpage and a summary of the proposed regulations is included below.

If you would like to provide feedback on the proposed ordinance, please email all redlined comments to  collin.wahab@ThorntonCo.gov.

Draft Ordinance Summary

The follow regulation summary is separated by the oil facility type. In addition, there are several administrative revisions to the existing language in Section 18-583 of the Code, such as, an update to production site setbacks to be consistent with the International Fire Code Amendment requirements.

Production Facilities

  • Require that production sites have a minimum separation of 500 feet between the production site and all proposed main buildings with an occupancy of Group A, E, or I in order to meet International Fire Code requirements. Group A, E, and I occupancies include assembly, educational, and institutional uses.

Flowlines and Gathering Pipelines

  • Subdivision plats shall show easements for Flowlines and Gathering Pipelines.

  • Oil and gas Flowlines and Gathering Pipelines shall have a minimum separation of 50 feet from any building that is required to obtain a certificate of occupancy pursuant to the Code. Measurements shall be taken from the edge of the Flowlines and Gathering Pipelines to the outside wall of the building.

  • Flowlines and Gathering Pipelines shall be arranged within a proposed development so that they cross streets at a substantially right angle.

  • The start and end point of each Flowline and Gathering Pipeline shall be marked with an indicator approved by the City. Additional City-approved markers shall be installed at least every 350 feet along the entirety of each Flowline and Gathering Pipeline.

  • If oil and gas Flowlines and Gathering Pipelines are not removed once abandoned, the abandoned Flowlines and Gathering Pipelines must meet all requirements outlined in this subsection.

  • Every subdivision plat where flowlines and gathering pipelines are located shall include a notation that states, “The location of flowlines and gathering pipelines shall be disclosed to all prospective purchasers of lots within a 200-foot radius of all flowlines and gathering pipelines”.

Plugged and Abandoned Wells

  • All Plugged and Abandoned Wells shall be permanently marked by a brass plaque set similar to a permanent benchmark to identify its existence and location. The plaque shall contain all information required on a dry hole marker by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and the City.

  • Prior to subdivision, information regarding environmental testing and monitoring for the Plugged and Abandoned Wells shall be submitted. Site investigation, sampling, and monitoring shall be conducted to demonstrate that the well has been properly abandoned and that soil, air, and water quality have not been adversely impacted by oil and gas operations or facilities or other sources of contamination.

  • In residential districts, Plugged and Abandoned Wells shall be located in restricted tracts, which shall be not less than 50 feet in width and 100 feet in length. The Plugged and Abandoned Wells shall be located as close as possible to the center of the restricted tract.

  • No Dwelling Unit shall be constructed within 50 feet of a Plugged and Abandoned Well. Measurements shall be taken from the center of the brass plaque, which permanently marks the well, as indicated in Subsection 18-583(c)(2)h1 of the Code to the outside face of the exterior wall of any building that is required to obtain a certificate of occupancy pursuant to the Code. 

  • Outdoor activity areas shall not be located on a Plugged and abandoned well unless topography, landscaping, or other physical means of separating the plugged and abandoned well from the outdoor activity.

  • Plugged and Abandoned Wells shall be located outside of the public right-of-way.

  • In non-residential districts, the location for all Plugged and Abandoned Wells shall be outside of all building footprints.

  • Every subdivision plat where a Plugged and Abandoned Well is located shall include a notation that states, “The location of Plugged and Abandoned Wells shall be disclosed to all prospective purchasers of lots within a 200-foot radius of all Plugged and Abandoned Wells.”

  • A letter of confirmation from the COGCC shall be submitted to the City prior to the approval regarding the completion of the abandonment and reclamation process in accordance with State law and COGCC regulations prior to the approval of a subdivision plat.

  • Shut-in Wells shall meet the same requirements of active wells as outlined in Subsection 18-583(c)(2)e and (c)(2)f of the Code.

Applicability

  • Staff is proposing that these requirements shall not apply to any development project with a Conceptual Site Plan (CSP) approved prior to the effective date of Code amendment. However, these requirements will apply to a development if, after approval of the ordinance, an application is submitted for and receives approval of a rezoning or a substantial modification of the CSP in accordance to Section 18-583(a)(2) of the Code, of the draft ordinance.