Eye on Energy: Man Camp Changes? - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Eye on Energy: Man Camp Changes?

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Temporary housing - better known as man camps - has cropped up throughout the Williston Basin over the past few years --- making nearly 10,000 beds available to temporary workers in a housing crunched area.

The Zoning and Planning Commission in Williams County has recommended that permits should no longer be issued for new or expanded man camps and as Jennifer Thorgramson tells us, it's a decision the committee has approached with caution.

The pace of the workforce on North Dakota Highway 2 was matched by the pace to find that same workforce a place to sleep.

(Tate Cymbaluk, Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman) "Not everybody that is coming to work here will want to live here."

Temporary housing for that temporary workforce.

Man camps were the answer.

(Tate Cymbaluk, Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman) "The question is, how much longer do you allow the temporary or the workforce housing. I don't think anybody can give us that answer. This market is a moving target."

But the Planning and Zoning Commission is recommending a stop to how much they're dealing with.

Early July, Williams County and the city of Williston will consider the recommendation to no longer issue permits for new temporary housing units, or allow current facilities to expand or increase the number of beds.

(Tate Cymbaluk, Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman) "We just know that we're going to have to put some limits and get the rules and policies in place."

Cymbaluk says the camps will never completely go away, but the county is trying to phase out smaller camps that are placed around existing businesses.

RVs inside industrial parks alongside buildings will need to move into permanent RV parks by October.

The timelines for man camps are more flexible.

(Tate Cymbaluk, Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman) " When this thing started ramping up and we had all these man camps coming in for applications whether it was in the city or the county. Maybe some of us over reacted thinking, go for it, we need it. Without thinking of some of the consequences to it. Now we know what those consequences are and we're trying to deal with it responsibly the best we can."

Dealing with those consequences while still keeping pace with the buzz of the Bakken.

Balancing growing a city and making sure there's a place to sleep (NAT) where the race is on for the title of the city that never sleeps.

In Williston, Jennifer Thorgramson, KX News.

Again, Williams County will consider the recommendation to stop issuing permits for new man camps on July 2nd --- the city will meet on July 9th.

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