ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Update, 9:50 p.m. The Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners voted down the proposed moratorium. The vote was 3-2 in opposition.

Original: On Tuesday, the Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners will continue a public hearing to approve or deny a moratorium for up to six months on accepting any applications for a “Use by Special Review” for an oil and gas facility. 

The hearing has been continued from March 28 after the board cut off public comment after about two hours.

Since Colorado Senate Bill 181 was passed in 2019, additional authority has been given to each county government to enhance oil and gas regulations. In response, Arapahoe County has drafted an amendment to its Land Development Code to include oil and gas regulations.

The moratorium would pause any new submittals and according to the county, “allow time to develop appropriate amendments to further protect public health, safety, welfare, and the environment.”

Potential amendments include increased water reservoir setbacks, updating requirements that reflect current fire codes, and increased wildlife and habitat protections. 

To better understand the key concepts of the regulations, you can learn more about the proposal on the county website.

The proposed Lowry Ranch Drilling Project is one reason for the pause.

Civitas Resources has proposed up to 174 wells on 12 new and existing well pads located on Colorado State Land Board lands within unincorporated Arapahoe County, east of Monaghan Road.

The issue comes as the City of Aurora and the county have different setback requirements for reservoirs. Aurora requires well pads to be one mile from sourced drinking water while the county requires 500 feet. 

A board of county commissioners had a study session on the matter on Monday. No public comment is taken during study sessions. 

If the moratorium is approved, the county expects to have draft amendments available for public review and comment in May. Then, hearings are set by the planning commission in June and the entire board in August.