DENTON — Over the objection of home and business owners, the Denton City Council has voted to allow natural gas drilling at Rayzor Ranch.
The Fort Worth-based natural gas company now has the go-ahead it needs to dig as many as five gas wells at the sprawling development on the city's west side.
On Tuesday night, the City Council voted to give Range Production Co. a special permit, despite strong opposition from those who live and work nearby.
Rayzor Ranch — at the intersection of Interstate 35 and Highway 380 — covers some 40 acres. Businesses and homes will soon be built on the site.
Range Production has been given a special permit to dig five wells in the southeast corner of the area.
The permit has 21 conditions attached. Among them, the gas wells must be dug as far west as possible from any nearby homes.
Digging all of them cannot take more than two years.
To minimize noise, the company must build an eight-foot-high limestone wall around the site and conduct daily sound checks.
Trucks may only leave and enter the site during daytime hours and on weekends between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The conditions provide no comfort for those who are strongly opposed to this plan.
"The representatives from Range sure make it sound good. I mean, they can say anything. It's kind of like a used car salesman trying to sell you a limo," said Chase Hendricks, a Denton resident.
"It's going to give people cancers, so that's considered reckless endangerment of public health and safety. That's the lawsuit that people will file later on when they have leukemia," said Andrew Teeter, also a Denton resident.
Protesters lined the streets outside council chambers Tuesday night. Their biggest concern is that the gas wells are an environmental hazard. Some of them are worried they could cause earthquakes, similar to those in Cleburne.
Range Production has one more hurdle to clear before it can begin digging - that is settling a lawsuit between the company and Rayzor.
That involves whether or not Range Production still has the right to begin digging, because some say those rights have already expired.