Stow City Council decided in August that it would not accept a contract to lease mineral rights for eight-tenths of a piece of city land needed to make a PEP Drilling hydraulic fracturing well deeper at the Church of New Hope.
But the current well that was already dug prior to council's decision remained on the property and it seems as if the drilling company has decided to begin fracking despite council's decision in August.
Law Director Brian Reali said he found out last week that the state of Ohio approved a new application for the driller. He said it was obtained because the company got leases from property owners on Ritchie Road.
The application was also obtained because PEP Drilling is now claiming that the city merely owns the concrete and not the ground below it on the small piece of property on Ritchie Road.
Reali is seeking a title opinion on whether the city owns the concrete and the ground below it.
Calls to two phone numbers listed for PEP Drilling were not answered for comment.
"I want to remind residents this is a state-driven process," said Reali. "Not that we're going to back out of the issue before us, but there's very little municipalities can do with gas and oil drilling. We virtually have no control over where a well is placed."
If a title opinion comes back in favor of the city, Reali said litigation is an option.
"We have to stand behind our beliefs ... we're not going to roll over and just let this happen. It's not an option, I believe," said Councilman John Pribonic.
The law director said he can't confirm if the fracking was complete.
Several residents near the Church of New Hope and some from outside cities living near a well came to the council meeting Monday to voice their concerns and displeasure with the well being fracked and not receiving any notice about it happening.
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