By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- A basin company is planning to put new housing developments within just a few hundred feet of existing oil and gas wells. Fasken Land and Minerals, Ltd. owns several acres of land out by Holiday Hill Road and Widener Strip in Midland. It also owns the minerals under that land.
"I think we've got an opportunity here to sort of lead the way for the future of Midland," Chuck Hedges with Fasken Land and Minerals, Ltd., said. It's rare to find a company like this in Midland that owns both the mineral rights and the land rights of a property.
Midland Mayor Wes Perry says, "What they're coming up with is a way to develop their minerals and get those drilled up, which they've done. Now, they're going to start doing surface development that's really close to these oil wells."
On Tuesday, the Midland City Council granted the company a variance to issue building permits on the property. The company is planning to bring in apartments, houses and shops. Those structures can be built within 135 feet of the already existing 50 or so wells.
Yet, who wants to move-in that close to a well? Fasken Land and Minerals, Ltd. says much of that comes down to aesthetics. They tell us, residents won't even see the wells.
"We're going to build walls of some variety around each one of these wells as we develop," Hedges said.
City Councilman, Michael Trost, says, "If you're looking to buy a home here, you know what you're buying into. It's not the reverse where you've already built there and then they come and they want to put the pump in and drill within a certain distance of your house. It's not the same situation."
The city believes that Fasken Land and Minerals, Ltd. can be trusted to keep the community out of danger.
"We want to protect the neighborhood and the public and that's not just the residences but also the whole town so [safety] features have to be part of [the development]. [The company] doesn't want to put anyone in harm's way either," Perry said.