Aurora City Council affirms Jamasco oil and gas site in northeast Aurora

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AURORA | A controversial oil and gas well pad already approved by Aurora administrative staff will stand. The Aurora City Council took up the questions about the site Monday after Council member Nicole Johnston called up the measures last month. 

Axis Exploration is working with Jamaso LLC to drill up to 16 horizontally mined oil and gas wells on a 15-acre property between East Sixth Avenue and I-70 near Powhaton Road, according to city documents. That property is contained in a 57-acre parcel owned by Jamaso, and it meets state setback requirements and all city land use regulations.

The property is zoned medium density residential.

Council members Johnston, Allison Hiltz and Crystal Murillo voted against affirming the application.

Johnston said last month she called up the measure because it attracted so much attention, and because there are communities just outside of the half-mile radius that were not required to be contacted about the future site. Staff said during the meeting there were 34 comments, mostly all negative, on the application. 

“Don’t feel defeated, I know it is defeating and it’s easy to give up,” she said after the vote. “Somebody said (tonight) times are changing… seeing everybody coming together is what democracy is about.”

Many of the speakers Monday night said they live in the Traditions or Adonea developments, which are near the site, but not within a half-mile radius. One speaker said she moved into a home in the area just two weeks ago from Chicago because her family wanted more open space. She said she didn’t feel the future oil development would be good for her family’s health.

Axis hosted a community meeting about the oil and gas development plan in August. The application was approved on Dec. 5. 

At the body’s last meeting when members decided to all the call-up city attorneys advised council members that reversing the administrative approval could create a challenge in district court.

Council members also approved a $205,000 contract to hire workers in the Bridge House program. Bridge House, which opened its doors last month, helps homeless people enrolled in the residential program get job experience and find employment. 

The workers will be on hand for parks, open space, reservoir and recreation projects. 

At the group’s study session, council members agreed to move forward a measure that would ban smoking and vaping at RTD stations and bus stops.