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PIPA Recommended Practice BL04

BL04 "Adopt Transmission Pipeline Consultation Zone Ordinance"

Practice Statement Local governments should adopt land development procedures requiring property developers/owners to consult with transmission pipeline operators early in the development process, so that development designs minimize risks to the populace living or working nearby and are consistent with the needs and legal rights of the operators.

Audience(s): Local Government

Practice Description

Local governments should adopt ordinances requiring that property developers/owners must review their proposed projects with the transmission pipeline operators for any application for a land use or development permit within a transmission pipeline "consultation zone". This applies for developments in either urban or rural areas.

Local developers are not transmission pipeline experts; therefore, they should consult with the pipeline operator to determine whether a proposed land use or development will impact the integrity of the nearby transmission pipeline or the future safety of persons or property. If the transmission pipeline operator is involved early in the development process, there should be adequate time to incorporate the operator's concerns into the design.

During the consultation, the pipeline operator and the property developer/owner should develop a mutually agreeable timeline for the operator's review of the proposed project. If the pipeline operator and property developer/owner cannot reach agreement on pipeline-related issues, the operator can provide input to the local government planning and zoning organization regarding potential impacts of the proposed project, before the project is approved and permits are issued.

The goal of this recommended practice is to avoid situations where transmission pipeline operators learn of proposed land use and development projects only after the design is complete or construction begins. In those situations, it is often difficult or impossible to make cost-effective changes that may be needed to enhance public safety and ensure operator access to the pipeline facilities.

Section 2 of the Model Ordinance in Appendix B includes requirements for property developers/owners to notify and provide development information to transmission pipeline operators when applying for a land use permit for property within the consultation zone.