Otsego County planning department weighs in against Milford drilling ban

Earlier this week, we reported that the Delaware County Planning Board is seeking to prevent a proposed gas ban in the town of Sidney from being enacted.

The Daily Star reports that another local conflict between a town and a county planning department is unfolding in the Otsego County town of Milford.

The Otsego County Planning Department told town officials that their proposed gas drilling ban conflicts with the town's own comprehensive plan:

When Milford sent its paperwork on the proposed drilling ban for review, the planning department noticed that the document was at odds with what the agency believed was the town's comprehensive plan, Otsego County Planner Terry Bliss said.

"The thing that troubled us was that the comprehensive plan was open-minded towards heavy industry, and the law before us was not consistent with that," Bliss said.

To overrule the Otsego County Planning Department's disapproval, the town needs a supermajority -- a vote of at least 4 to 1 -- in order to pass the law.

On its face, the Milford issue appears to be less contentious than the conflict unfolding in Sidney. Unlike Sidney's town council, the Milford town council is mostly in agreement on the issue. Also, the Otsego County Planning Department's concern appears to focus on internal inconsistencies in the town's own laws, which town officials have the authority to address.

In its recent objection to the proposed Sidney drilling moratorium, the Delaware County planning board cited a broad variety of reasons for disapproving the law, including regional economic impacts, cost to Sidney taxpayers, timeliness of the action given New York State's de facto moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, and confusing language in the law.