Boundary battle: Snow Shoe, Boggs townships at odds over land, Marcellus Shale revenue

A dispute over Marcellus Shale wells and the money they bring back in impact fees is shaping up between two Centre County townships.

Snow Shoe Township says nine wells on its land are improperly being credited to Boggs Township in the state’s formula for compensating counties and communities in the Marcellus Shale play.

The outcome of the boundary dispute means about $60,000 for one of the townships. And because the system also gives money to surrounding municipalities, more than $100,000 is on the line for a total of 17 boroughs and townships in the county.

But the delivery of any of that money, which comes from 2012 impact fees, is being held up until the boundary issue is settled.

Snow Shoe Township has filed a petition in Centre County court to determine the boundary once and for all.

Louis Glantz, solicitor for Snow Shoe, said the issue stems from a change in the municipal lines in the early 1990s.

According to the petition, the boundary line was challenged in 1991 by a developer near the Snow Shoe-Boggs border. The Centre County courts appointed a group of commissioners to survey the land and later approved the group’s findings, expanding Snow Shoe and setting the new municipal lines.

Glantz said the county and other organizations have used the boundaries since.

Sue Hannegan, assistant director of the Centre County Planning Office, said the lines were used when the first round of impact fees were payed out last year. Snow Shoe got credit for having the wells within its borders.

But the Pennsylvania Utility Commission, the regulatory agency responsible for handing out the funds, used different maps when preparing to distribute money in 2012. The maps, provided by PennDOT, contained pre-1992 boundaries and placed the wells in Boggs Township, officials said.

Snow Shoe challenged the findings in Commonwealth Court. But that appeals court ruled the matter would have to be decided by a Centre County judge.

Glantz said the township is asking the county court to again establish a commission to survey the land.

In the meantime, the local municipalities in question will wait for their funds. The rest of the eligible entities in Pennsylvania received their shares July 1.

Glantz estimated the court process could be as short as several months, or could stretch longer.

Hannegan said, in addition to Snow Shoe and Boggs, municipalities affected include: Milesburg, Philipsburg and Snow Shoe boroughs and Benner, Burnside, Curtin, Howard, Huston, Liberty, Marion, Rush, Spring, Taylor, Union and Worth townships.

Boggs Township officials said they could not comment and directed questions to solicitor Rodney Beard. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Boggs has not yet responded to Snow Shoe’s petition, court documents show.