Oct. 09--City Council approved a resolution Tuesday morning to begin a request for proposal process for mineral rights at Midland International Airport, a new revenue stream for airport operations.
The city owns about 300 surface acres at the airport, a site that has interested companies wanting to lease the property for oil and gas exploration. The rows of pumpjacks along State Highway 191 and Farm to Market Road 1788 is evidence that there already is oil activity near the airport.
After consultation with the Federal Aviation Administration, the city decided it will begin leasing land for mineral rights under certain conditions.
"In the request for proposals, we will not allow any drilling on the airport itself," said Marv Esterly, the city's director of airports. "And all the extractions will have to be done horizontally and underneath the property so that it doesn't adversely affect not only the airport operations but also any approaches in and out of Midland International Airport."
In addition, oil activity must have approval from the FAA and the city's airport department.
As part of the lease agreement, the city will receive a minimum of 25 percent of royalties. Esterly said the money will be put into the airport's operating fund, which can be used for airport improvements.
The city previously has tried to lease land for mineral rights at Midland Airpark, but companies ran into technical issues with the oil and natural gas extraction. Companies had trouble extracting the natural resources without interfering with the quality of life of neighboring residents, Esterly said.
In other business:
-- To expedite engineering services, the council authorized city staff to find pre-qualified consulting firms to perform tasks on an as-needed basis.
The move expedites the request for qualifications process by allowing the city to select from a pre-qualified pool of outside consultants for a specific task that has an engineering fee of less than $100,000.
Jose Ortiz, the city's engineering director, said staff won't have to go to the council every time a potential pre-qualified consultant is chosen.
-- The council also approved on first reading a major rezoning overhaul in a portion of south Midland commonly known as the "windowpane" area.
The zone change to a planned district for housing may encourage more development in the area that is currently has dilapidated housing.
Citizens from the area spoke at the council meeting Tuesday, voicing their approval for the zone change, but also stated that they were opposed to the city's initial annexation of the area back in 2009.
Copyright 2013 - Midland Reporter-Telegram, Texas
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