Man Camp Moratorium Continues | VideoJennifer Joas | 3/2/2012
More than 9,000 people live in man camps in Williams County. This huge surge of temporary facilities has created a stigma amongst locals.
"If there has ever been one issue in this county that the residents of the county have been united behind, it is this moratorium," said Commissioner Dan Kalil.
Commissioners knew they would have a tough decision to make, so they created an ad-hoc committee to review the man camps. One of the first priorities was determining the level of necessity.
"They could easily fill another 2,000 beds right now. That is how many calls they get on a daily basis, how many people they have to turn away," said Jill Edison, Williams County Planning and Zoning.
Another reason commissioners originally acted on the moratorium was because infrastructure and emergency services are lacking in the area.
The commissioners also feel man camps are only serving the oil industry. "Our county employees cannot live there, state employees, anybody that works in the city of Williston basically, and is not involved in oil, cannot afford to live in a man camp," said Commissioner Wayne Aberle.
They want to see more people transition into permanent homes, but getting into those permanent homes isn`t easy.
"It is going to take them a year or two to qualify to get into a permanent house or permanent financing. Most of these people here, when they look at the rents, they would much rather buy than rent," said Tom Reed, J&J Homes Manager.
The county decided to continue the moratorium for another six months.
The moratorium does allow for camps with more than 200 people to request expansion. However many of these camps are already maxed out on their current property. Which basically means no more beds.
"We do not know what is going to happen. If we get an influx of 5,000 people again this summer where are they going to stay? So, we wanted to leave the opportunity open or the door open for the larger ones if they had to, the capacity to expand," said Commissioner David Montgomery.
The commissioners will revisit the moratorium in September 2012.