The Williams County Commission in northwest North Dakota continues to look for solutions to the problem of campers and recreational vehicles parked illegally throughout the county because there is a woeful shortage of RV parks to accommodate oil and gas workers in the area.
During its meeting Tuesday (Oct. 16), Rick Miller, the county’s new code enforcement officer, presented a preliminary plan to help what he called a “crisis,” the Williston Herald reported
While the initial plan asked for a monthly fee system, the commissioners agreed a better system was to pay annually, and people who pay receive a sticker or tag so law enforcement would know who had paid and who was not in compliance.
The commissioners also said that there should be no more that three RVs allowed on any property, keeping with current guidelines. Also in the preliminary rule was the idea for a “three strikes and you’re out” policy with violators.
In discussion on rule ideas, Commission Chairman Dan Kalil was quick to remind everyone how Williams County got in its current situation. According to Kalil, as early as 2008 or 2009, the county allowed landowners to have three RVs on commercial property. This approval was misunderstood by the people, and as Kalil said, people started putting three RVs around every utility pole.
Kalil also noted that he didn’t know if there were any grounds the commission had to make such a rule, and wasn’t sure if the ground was any firmer on this issue, and that there needed to be public hearing on the issue before anything could really be done.
Commissioner David Montgomery said that he thought that they should allow people to have RVs and campers on their properties, but there was still a lot of need for regulations on how people did it. Kalil also brought up the idea that RVs should not be allowed in residential subdivisions because some people’s neighbors will not want to deal with the noise they may produce.
“Some people just want to be left alone,” Kalil said.
While sewer and water access was already in the preliminary plan, the commissioners also agreed that townships should be involved in making the rules. Also brought up during the discussion was the responsibility of the large employers, who have brought their workers up here with no place to live. Kalil said that Stark County said no to all man camps and instead made big companies build permanent housing.
In response to this, Montgomery said that maybe Williams County should drop their temporary housing moratorium and instead follow in Stark County’s footsteps.
“If you don’t put pressure on them, they won’t do anything,” said Commissioner Wayne Aberle. To close the discussion, Kalil said that the commission was nowhere near ready to approve the rules but that their jobs were to protect everybody’s rights.