The boom in population growth in New Mexico’s Lea and Eddy Countyies due to a thriving oil and gas industry in that portion of the Permian Basin is starting to impact Chaves County, according to the Roswell Daily Record

For that reason, Chaves County planners are discussing some proposed additions to extraterritorial aoning and Chaves County ordinances to govern the formation of workforce camps, trailer parks and RV parks that will spring up as a result of shortages in available housing.

“How this came about is — of course, you know I came from the city of Artesia — and my friends to the south in Eddy County and Lea County are dealing with these extreme (camps). They are finding them anywhere and everywhere,” said Louis Jaramillo, Chaves County Planning and Zoning director. “Last count I had was 135, and only 80 are registered.”

He introduced the draft of proposed new additions to the ETZ ordinance to the Extraterritorial Zoning Commission Tuesday. The new provisions would establish standards and regulations for RV and mobile home parks and workforce camps, sometimes called man-camps. Workforce camps are sometimes developed by oil and gas businesses for their employers. All three types of developments can also be created by landowners or developers.

Jaramillo said he intends to propose similar new provisions to the Chaves County Planning and Zoning Commission at one of its future meetings. The two commissions are expected to take at least a month to review and suggest changes before actions will be taken.

At public meetings, Lea and Eddy county officials have talked publicly about the challenge their population growth is putting on their cities and counties for services, infrastructure and housing. They have said some oilfield workers are traveling every day to and from West Texas because they can’t find local housing for themselves and their families.

And a public company, Target Hospitality, has announced plans to build a 400-bed workforce community in Carlsbad by the end of the year.

Jaramillo told ETZ commissioners that he is aware of two potential workforce developments in Chaves County, although his hope is that he can delay their construction until the new zoning provisions are passed.

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