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Kyle passes pipeline ordinance

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

On July 2, the Kyle City Council approved an ordinance that aims to reduce risks of operations and development near transmission pipelines and will affect development near the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline. 

The ordinance comes in the wake of the dismissal of the city’s lawsuit against the Permian Highway Pipeline Project, which is set to run through city limits with construction beginning this fall. 

By adopting the ordinance, the City of Kyle has increased regulations for both developers —  such as Kinder Morgan — and future development projects near the proposed pipeline.

“For the safety and health of the community we’re wanting to prevent development from happening in certain aspects, in certain instances, within a certain number of feet from the pipeline,” Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell said. “That’s what this ordinance is.”

Between the first reading of the ordinance, which took place on May 14, and the second reading, the council received feedback from various members and groups in the community who would be potentially affected by its passage, according to Mitchell.

“There was concern that it might affect unintended parties and so for the last month we’ve been collaborating with all kinds of groups all over Kyle including folks that are wanting to build homes — that have bought,” he said. “I mean there’s just a lot of people that were potentially affected so we tried to take their considerations to make sure that we’re drilling down in this ordinance specifically on what we want to.” 

The ordinance, which was passed at nearly midnight, includes a revision that will affect any development or disturbance within 660 feet of the center line of pipelines greater than 30 inches. Now, developments within the area will only need to give notification to the pipeline, and if no objection is made within 15 days, the development will be deemed acceptable. 

Buildings that require evacuation assistance, such as detention facilities, hospitals and medical offices exceeding 5,000 square feet, will not be allowed within 500 foot of the pipeline on either side of the center line unless approved by the City Council. 

In addition to adding restrictions on future developments near the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline, the ordinance likewise adds regulations which must be met by the company prior to construction, including the submission of a noise management plan, a $2,500 permit fee, annual safety reports and an annual use fee of “$1.80 times the number of linear feet of public ROW occupied.” 

Kinder Morgan, who declined to comment on the ordinance, won a suit filed on behalf of the TREAD Coalition against both the Texas Railroad Commission and the Permian Highway Pipeline Project. 

According to the ordinance, “The best way to balance the interests of property owners, developers, and transmission pipeline operators is to make sure that all relevant parties are aware of the plans, concerns and interests of the other parties.”  

San Marcos Record

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