ERIE, Colo. -- The same town of Erie Trustees who were recently elected because of their anti-drilling stance, signed off on a plan to build nearly 600 new homes with future oil and gas in the backyards.
With a 5-1 vote Tuesday, Erie's new leadership approved the Parkdale development near Baseline and East County Line Roads.
Newly elected trustee, Christiaan van Woudenberg, is the only one who voted against it but others did voice reservations prior to the vote.
"My concerns in particular are, once again, we are commingling unconventional oil and gas exploration with a residential neighborhood," said van Woudenberg.
"I stand strong with the oil and gas stuff because it is a concern for residents and it is going to be moving forward," newly elected mayor Jennifer Carroll said at Tuesday's meeting.
Carroll, who ran on an anti-drilling platform, voted in favor but pointed to several concessions the developer made including the remove some of the lots where the future plug and abandoned well sites will be.
Extraction Oil and Gas owns and operates eight acres there with plans to drill several wells pads prior to the homes being built.
The 218-acre project as well as the proposed well pads are also not far from Erie's wetlands.
"For me the real problem is that this oil and gas pad is going to be located next to what the town has identified as a critical nature habitat and wetlands area," said van Woudenberg.
van Woudenberg, a known oil and gas activist who was elected by the people on that basis, said it is time for the town of Erie to make a choice.
"Are we going to prioritize the health and safety and welfare of the residents of the town of Erie or are we going to prioritize the extraction of these minerals," he said.
Current plans for the development put any future wells more than 500 feet from homes. Erie recently approved an increase in the setback requirement for existing wells to 350 feet from houses.