County Gave Deadline to RV Park/Crew Camps
Crew camps will be a part of the oil boom area of Williams County in northwest North Dakota for at least the next two years but scattered RV parking sites will have to go away by mid-autumn.
After months of behind-the-scenes work, the county commission considered 17 requests for conditional use permits for crew camps. Each request came with a list of conditions recommended by the county planning commission and on most of the requests, some of the conditions were ignored, the Williston Herald reported.
A committee tasked with looking at crew camps for the county suggested permits be approved in three phases. The more permanent structures like mobile homes were recommended to be approved for two years. Skid shacks or trailers on wooden beams were recommended to be approved for one year. RVs were recommended for approval through the end of October.
When the first camp with RVs came up, the owners begged the county to give them more time. The four months through the end of October was just not enough time to relocate its employees.
But county Chairman Dan Kalil said removing RVs was important to the committee.
“Everybody felt the RVs were the biggest problem facing the cities and the county,” Kalil said.
But Commissioner Barry Ramberg said he saw things differently.
“I know I would have a hard time limiting one person while letting others go for two years,” Ramberg said.
But Kalil said there was a difference.
“We see the different impacts on the community from Capital Lodge, which is all inclusive, and RVs parked around a light pole,” Kalil said. “The biggest impact is coming from people in RVs. We tried to treat all the skid shacks the same, we tried to treat all the RVs the same, we tried to treat all the campers the same and we tried to treat the inclusive man camps the same.”
But Commissioner Wayne Aberle said asking people living in RVs to be out in four months was just not enough time.
“I think by doing it this coming October is a little short,” Aberle said. “Actually, the RVs are contributing more to our economy. They come into town and shop.”
Commissioner Martin Hanson said he would prefer to see the RVs in RV parks.
“I think right now there are RV spots available,” he said.
“If there are RV spots available, it’s because we created RV parks, which is just glorified man camps,” Ramberg said.
Kalil admitted the man camp answer was not easy but it was one that needs to be addressed.
“We’re trying to strike a balance,” he said. “We’re trying to strike a balance between the people who put in RVs, the people who built man camps and the people who built apartments.”