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Flower Mound wins lawsuit over driller setback variances

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Judge Doug Robison of the 393rd Judicial District Court of Denton County Thursday upheld the decision of Flower Mound’s Oil and Gas Board of Appeals on denying setback variances for gas wells proposed to be drilled at a location adjacent to Spinks Road in southern Flower Mound.

The Oil and Gas Board of Appeals denied the request by Titan Operating to decrease setback requirements between the well bore, edge of construction, tank batteries and/or well facilities or surface equipment and property, and lot or tract lines that Titan sought as part of its application to drill. 

After the December 15, 2010 denial of the variances requested by Titan, the driller filed suit against the Town on December 17, 2010.

“We are pleased with the court’s ruling, upholding the Town’s ordinances and it is our hope that further litigation can be avoided. However, the residents of Flower Mound and this Council will continue to support the actions and the decisions of the Oil and Gas Board of Appeals, and we will take all appropriate measures to defend the Town’s oil and gas ordinances that were dutifully enacted and supported by our residents,” said Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden.

“We are and have been confident that the actions of the Oil and Gas Board of Appeals were legal and justified under the circumstances, and I can say on behalf of the Town Council that we are pleased by Judge Robison’s decision.”  

Mayor Pro Tem Kendra Stephenson added, “Many hours of our residents’ time went into the creation of the oil and gas ordinances, and their importance was overwhelmingly validated by the approval of the charter amendment passage in the most recent election.

“This Council will continue to protect all facets of the Town’s oil and gas ordinances.”

Judge Robison determined that the Oil and Gas Board of Appeals is a quasi-judicial body acting on behalf of the Town of Flower Mound. In addition, he stated that the standard of review for its decisions is that of abuse of discretion and that the Board of Appeals did not abuse its discretion given the statutes and regulations it was applying. It is anticipated that an appropriate order will be entered by the court in the near future.

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