Aurora City Council votes to hold hearing on controversial oil and gas wells in northeast Aurora

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AURORA | The first Aurora City Council meeting of 2019 is sure to include a final decision by the local lawmakers on a controversial oil drilling site. 

Council member Nicole Johnston, who represents the northeastern portion of the city, called up the Jamaso project, which was approved administratively earlier this year. 

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 meets state setback requirements.

The property is zoned medium density residential, which Johnston cited when asking fellow council to allow her to call up the permit application during Monday’s city council meeting.

A project narrative shows the location is approximately 1,025 feet south of the Fox Ridge Farm mobile home park and about a quarter mile north of First Creek. 

Johnston said the there were about 30 comments on the application, reason enough for a hearing. 

Not all council members were supportive of the call-up — Bob Roth, Dave Gruber and Mayor Bob LeGare did not support the call-up. 

Gruber said he would not support the council holding a hearing because it met standards that allowed the application to be approved administratively. Gruber also said he was familiar with the Jamaso project, its opponents and how they “get together to complain and then complain in bulk.” 

Johnston said those comments were made to the city through a formal process. 

The vote to approve the call up does not dictate a decision on the permit application. Johnston said “it’s a vote to recognize 30 people took the time to comment” their questions and concerns with the project near their community. 

Council members could reverse the permit decision, but city attorneys advised council members that could create a challenge in district court.