Williston approves ordinance to eliminate crew camps

By The Associated Press

Williston's City Commission has given final approval to an ordinance that will eliminate oil field crew camps within city limits this summer, although the matter still lingers in the courts.

 

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Williston's City Commission has given final approval to an ordinance that will eliminate oil field crew camps within city limits this summer, although the matter still lingers in the courts.

On Tuesday, commissioners unanimously approved a Sept. 1 deadline for crew camps to shut down, with companies given about another two years to clean up and reclaim the sites.

Operators of the crew camps will be allowed to propose new uses for their facilities, such as hotels. The city also will reconsider the decision to eliminate crew camps if there is another housing crunch.

"I really wanted to help the oil and gas industry in case there is another boom or there is a shortage of housing," Commissioner Deanette Piesik said. "I believe this new ordinance addresses that issue."

City officials maintain the construction of new apartments and hotels has caught up with population growth in the oil patch hub, and temporary worker camps are no longer needed. Oil industry officials say some temporary housing is still needed for rotational workers, despite the current oil slump. Workforce housing companies have sued Williston in federal and state court, saying they're being treated unfairly.

Tuesday night's commission meeting was moved from City Hall after Mayor Howard Klug found a note stating there was a bomb in the building. Law officers and city staff found nothing suspicious, but officials decided to move the meeting as a precaution.

There was no immediate word on whether the threat was connected to the crew camp issue. Police are continuing to investigate.

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