Council Accepts Bid From Rice Energy to Lease Land

St. Clairsville Council on Monday accepted a bid from Rice Energy to lease city acreage for gas and oil development.

The company is offering $7,500 per acre and 20 percent of the gross royalty with no market enhancements. Joshua E. O’Farrell of Tzangas, Plakas, Mannos Ltd. will represent the city for five percent.

He said the agreement specifies no surface mining, nor mining on city property, and a 500-foot setback.

The company may set up operations adjacent to or outside the city. Provisions are also in place to protect the city’s water and address environmental concerns.

The city will receive a $1.46 million signing bonus.

O’Farrell said the offer had extended to July 31. He gave the opinion that since the city had 195 acres and those spread about rather than blocked, the city’s options were limited.

Two offers had been made from Rice Energy and Great River. Council Member Jim Weisgerber motioned to go with Rice since they had a local office and their operations are ongoing in the county.

An ordinance will be ready by the next council meeting.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Tom Murphy noted a planning commissioner meeting will be held Aug. 4, 6 p.m. regarding a vacation plat where the planned St. Clair Commons will be.

A recommendation to council is expected to follow.

Also, the city has applied for and been approved emergency funds to assist in addressing damage to Ruggles Avenue. The project was estimated at $40,900 and the grant would fund 80 percent.