Does state law overrule city law in oil and gas zoning?

As a land owner in Ohio, you may be well aware of oil and gas companies seeking the rights to drill on or near your land. City zoning ordinances in your particular area may prevent these companies from obtaining the necessary zoning rights, but often city and state laws regarding zoning for drilling are different – and can even conflict each other. Can differences in city and state zoning rights put your property or adjacent property at risk from drilling companies?

Unfortunately, yes, there is a risk risk. The Ohio State Supreme Court ruled that in cases where state and city law conflict regarding zoning ordinances for oil and gas drilling, state law takes precedence in the interests of maintaining a uniform regulation on a statewide basis. The ruling determined that no city government has the right to overturn any regulations or provisions made at the state level to permit oil and gas drilling, production or other related activities.

This means that while your city may protect your property or adjacent properties, zoning ordinances set at the state level may overturn that. You may need to seek alternative avenues to attempt to effectively protect your rights as a land owner, or to handle negotiations for fair use of any land involved in drilling permits and other oil and gas activities. This can often involve leasing mineral rights from you as the owner, which can have significant long-term and short-term impact.

The details provided here are meant as an informational reference only, and should not be used as legal advice or counsel.