Town Council approves new ordinances

0
17

PROSPECT — The town has two new ordinances.

Town Council approved an ordinance banning fracking waste in town and an ordinance that establishes a hearing procedure for citations issued by town police officers at its Oct. 16 meeting.

The ordinance regarding fracking waste, titled “Ordinance Prohibiting Waste Associated with Natural Gas and Oil Extraction,” refers to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process in which pressurized liquid is sprayed into a well to fracture rock and ground in order to make oil and natural gas more accessible.

The ordinance bans fracking waste from being stored in town. A similar measure was approved earlier this year in Naugatuck, where concerns were raised the waste could leach chemicals, such as oil, heavy metals, and brine, into groundwater.

Attorney Jennifer Yoxall, the town’s legal counsel, said having a hearing procedure for citations issued by town police officers is a much cheaper and simpler alternative to the way the town handled it in the past when the only enforcement action available was to bring the issue to court, which could be a lengthy and expensive process.

Yoxall said the ordinance is similar to existing ones that deal with zoning, wetlands and blight issues. The main difference is the new ordinance will be enforced by the town’s police department rather than by the boards and commissions, she said.

The ordinance references 16 town ordinances that can be enforceable under it, including littering, solicitation, street excavation and obstruction, and house numbering. Additional ordinances can be added in the future.

The ordinance sets forth a base penalty of $150 per day for most violations.

Under the ordinance, anyone issued a citation can request a hearing with a citation hearing officer. The hearing officer can’t be a police officer or town employee that issues citations. Citation hearing officers have the authority to dismiss the violation or enforce it, under the ordinance.

The council also considered adding a section of New Haven Road in front of the Prospect Volunteer Fire Department to an ordinance prohibiting blocking intersections.

Since the firehouse is not technically at an intersection, Yoxall said the council couldn’t add it to that specific ordinance. She said the state allows creating an area in front of a firehouse to ensure the firetrucks are able to depart safely and quickly. She told the council she would look into the state law and bring the information back to the town.

The council expects to take the issue up again in November.