As state officials consider allowing a possible shale gas boom in New York, town officials in Campbell, a community southwest of the Finger Lakes Region, are beginning to discuss a related issue – “man camps” that provide a home away from home for out-of-state drilling workers.
On Monday (March 12), the Campbell Town Board is expected to enact a two-year moratorium on establishing or expanding dormitories, campgrounds, RV parks, trailer parks or similar facilities, the Corning Leader reported.
“The goal is to allow time to develop a comprehensive plan without something like a ‘man camp’ moving in,” Tennent said.
“We haven’t had any proposal of a man camp seeking to come here. This is just a precaution and time to develop a comprehensive plan.”
The comprehensive plan will include zoning laws on residential density, water use, sanitation and other issues, Tennent said.
Tennent said the Campbell Town Board will hold a public hearing Monday and then vote to adopt the moratorium.
“I expect it will pass,” Tennent said.
The town currently has several campgrounds, RV parks and trailer parks.
Tennent said the board will begin working on the comprehensive plan soon, with the assistance of the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board.
Other local municipalities may soon tackle the “man camp” issue as well.
“We haven’t really discussed it yet,” said Corning Town Supervisor Kim Feehan. “But gas drilling is an issue that we’ll look into all elements of.”
Erwin Town Supervisor Rita McCarthy said her town already has a comprehensive plan in place that includes strict zoning laws.
“Man camps” have opened in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier, including one in Athens Township that opened in 2010. It’s a dormitory-style facility with a dining hall and other accommodations.
“We haven’t had any problems with them,” said Maurice Fay, chairman of the Athens Town Board of Supervisors. “They run a tight ship. I asked our police (Thursday) if they have had a problem with them, and they said not at all. It’s a well run place.”
Such facilities can be convenient for gas industry workers and may ease the area’s housing shortage that has driven up rent for locals. But concerns have also been raised about the facilities bringing in hard-drinking “roughnecks” who may cause problems.
Local businessman Dan Hurley’s plan to open an RV park for gas industry workers on his property behind Bradley Farms in Southport drew criticism from neighbors before it was put on hold last fall.