Chautauqua Board Prepares Fracking Moratorium

CHAUTAUQUA – Chautauqua Town Board members have agreed to prepare a resolution which would put a moratorium on any fracking operations within the town of Chautauqua.

Don Emhardt, town supervisor, expressed his opinion that while fracking may be reasonable in some areas, in the town of Chautauqua the lake is a crucial part of the town’s economic well-being and the town should not allow any activity that could threaten the health of the lake. He expressed concern that if the governor decides to allow fracking, agreements with landowners could be made very quickly, making the passage of a moratorium far more difficult. He pointed out that the town has been working for years to complete the sewer system around the lake and has spent a great deal of money for the lake’s protection. The board was in general agreement with Emhardt, and attorney Joel Seachrist was directed to prepare a moratorium proposal for action within the next two months.

The board authorized a major expenditure in Water District 2. The water tower for this district, which serves the Chautauqua Lake Estates, must be altered to meet new, lower federal standards for levels of trihalomethane. This chemical is left when water is stored after chlorine has been used as a disinfectant. A new stirrer and aeration fountain must be added inside the tower to meet the new standards. The tower will be emptied for installation of the system, and the board wants to complete the re-filling of the tower while the lake is still iced over and is less turbulent. The modification of the tower will cost $90,000. Money for the required modifications is available in the existing fund balance.

In other business, Tim Wendell, highway superintendent, requested permission to solicit bids for a new plow truck to replace a 14-year-old model which will be retired this year.

There was discussion of a town property on which a mobile camper has been set up, and it appears that the occupant has established a permanent residence there. Permanent occupancy cannot be allowed, as there is no water or sewer service to the dwelling. The town will pursue appropriate action to remove the camper if it is found to be in violation of local ordinances.

The board’s 2014 organizational meeting is set for Jan. 2.