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Judge rules in favor of Flower Mound in Titan lawsuit
A Denton County judge ruled Thursday night in favor of Flower Mound and the town’s oil and gas board of appeals in a lawsuit stemming from the board’s denial of variance requests made by Titan Operating, LLC.
According to Flower Mound town attorney Terry Welch, Judge Douglas Robison issued his ruling via email shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday.
On Dec. 16, 2010, the board denied several variance requests to allow gas drilling the Powell 1H well on about 24 acres east of Long Prairie Road, south of Spinks Road and north of Lakeside Parkway.
Titan was seeking variances on the distance from a property line to a well bore, which ranged in distance from 105 feet to 447 feet, and a property line to a storage tanks, which ranged from 106 feet to 210 feet. The town's requirement for all of those setbacks at the time was 500 feet, with the ability for the applicant to request variances down to zero feet.
Thursday morning, attorneys for Titan and the town each had 25 minutes to present their case at the 393rd Judicial District Court in Denton.
An abatement for the lawsuit was granted on Sept. 7, 2011, but it was reinstated March 16, 2012.
In its lawsuit, Titan contended that "the board's denial of Titan's request for simple variances for setbacks related to lot lines was made without reference to applicable criteria and standards, is illegal in whole or in part, constitutes an abuse of discretion, was arbitrary and capricious, and should be reversed."
Welch stated "the board's actions certainly were not illegal, were not an abuse of discretion and the decision of the board was based on solid evidence and testimony."
During the Dec. 16 board of appeals meeting, residents voiced concerns over the pad site being near Bluebonnet Elementary School and Shadow Ridge Middle School. They also worried about drilling operations being near an electrical substation.
But an attorney representing Titan that night said the request met the setback requirements from a school and that Oncor had signed a waiver regarding the substation.