GARDEN GROVE : Voters Will Decide Oil-Drilling Limits

A measure that would greatly restrict areas of Garden Grove available for oil drilling will be placed on the Nov. 6 city election ballot.

The City Council on Monday voted 4 to 1, with Councilman Francis L. Kessler dissenting, to let voters decide on the proposed ordinance that would prohibit oil drilling or pumping on any site within 600 feet of churches, schools and homes.

Kessler called the measure "political," adding: "If this goes into effect, I believe that (Chevron USA Inc.) would have legal basis for coming back at us for excluding them from our city."

Chevron in 1989 sought a permit to drill exploratory wells on a site near the intersection of Nelson Street and Garden Grove Boulevard. The council, after a lengthy and heated debate, voted 3 to 2 to deny the permit.

While the measure would not ban drilling in the city, it would restrict the activity to two areas: the city yard on Newhope Street, south of Trask Avenue, and the Central Industrial District in west Garden Grove. Additionally, the measure would require a four-fifths majority of the council to approve a drilling permit rather than a simple majority.

Councilman J. Tilman Williams urged the council to put the measure on the ballot. "We could either drill for dollars or protect the citizens of our community," he said.

Also in November, voters will decide how they want vacancies on the City Council filled when a council member is elected mayor or to some other higher office.

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