Range withdraws conditional use applications in Mt. Pleasant; new supervisor appointed

Posted February 3, 2015

Francesa Sacco
Observer Reporter

Range Resources withdrew conditional-use applications Tuesday for the Yonker, Uchida and Patsch well pad locations in Mt. Pleasant Township, citing a reduction in the company’s capital expenditures.

Matt Pitzarella, Range spokesman, said Range decided to pull the applications because of “the recent falling oil prices.”

“Our capital spending this year is down about 43 percent from last year. We’re currently active at two other locations in Mt. Pleasant Township and very much intend on remaining active in the township, and we’re hopeful that next year provides us with the opportunity to develop these or other locations in the township,” Pitzarella said in an email.

Range submitted the applications in August. If conditional use were granted, the well pads would have been constructed within a five-mile radius of one another. Two would have been within a mile of the Fort Cherry school campus.

Mt. Pleasant Supervisor Gary Farner said he was saddened by Range’s decision.

“There are a lot of landowners looking for drilling, and there are a lot of people for drilling,” he said. “But when it comes to economics, I can understand that, too. It’s not cheap to drill those wells.”

Farner said he learned of Range’s decisions Tuesday morning when he was presented with a letter. If Range were to decide in the future to develop the Yonker, Uchida and Patsch well pads, Farner said the conditional-use process would start over. Farner said the township had to hold conditional-use hearings because the area where the wells would have been constructed was a residentially zoned district and did now allow for wells. The past hearings – Farner said there were three or four – were open to the public, and Range representatives were present.

The conditional-use hearings scheduled for Tuesday and Feb. 17 have been canceled.

In other township news, Brian Temple was appointed to the board of supervisors Monday. Temple was the chairman of the township’s planning commission. His term would have ended in 2018. Temple could not be reached for comment.

Temple was appointed with the help of a vacancy board, consisting of the two current supervisors and vacancy board Chairman James Bedillion. Farner said Temple was sworn in Tuesday morning.

Temple’s appointment fills a vacancy that was left by the resignation of former supervisors chairman Bryan Smith. Temple will serve until the end of this year. Supervisor Dencil Backus’ term also ends in December. A municipal election for the two seats will be held this year.

Farner believes Temple will be a good fit.

“He’s been involved for a number of years as chairman of the planning commission. He’s very knowledgeable of the township,” he said. “He’ll be a good addition.”