Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Planning Unit to Weigh Ban on Pipelines

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Planning Unit to Weigh Ban on Pipelines

Article excerpt

MAHWAH -- The next consideration of a proposed local ban on private oil pipelines will be by the township's Planning Board, which will examine whether the Township Council should pursue such a ban or some other regulation.

Once the council sends the board a letter with a copy of the draft ban, the Planning Board will have 30 days to report to the council on whether a "ban would be appropriate or if it should be regulated in some form or fashion," Township Attorney Brian Chewcaskie said.

The township last year became the second municipality in Bergen County to issue a non-binding resolution formally opposing the potential Pilgrim Pipeline, an interstate oil line that local activists say could threaten the drinking water of the township and others in the Highlands areas.

The decision at the Thursday night council meeting to hand the matter to the board leaves open the possibility of looking into strategies besides a ban, such as regulating whether a pipeline could be placed in a residential district or near potable water sources.

Council President John Roth said that the township will refer the matter to the Planning Board based on the advice of Chewcaskie, who said doing so would ensure the township has done its due diligence.

"Any work that's done to get a zoning change done has to be done by the Planning Board," Roth said at Thursday's meeting. "It's not done here. The council does not do that. We will change the ordinance based on the recommendation, if zoning changes are required by the Planning Board."

The Planning Board would likely put the matter on the agenda for one of its upcoming meetings, and its members -- aided by a professional engineer and planner -- would then "make a determination whether to move forward or not," he said.

"I think this is more than a half step," Roth said. …

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