Burleigh County to study man camp ordinance

2011-12-14T21:30:00Z 2011-12-14T23:56:59Z Burleigh County to study man camp ordinanceBy LEANN ECKROTH | Bismarck Tribune Bismarck Tribune

The Burleigh County Planning and Zoning Commission directed planning staff to draft a sample man camp ordinance for future study by county officials and the public.

Neil Effertz, vice chairman of the planning and zoning commission, said after the meeting that they wanted the draft plan "so we can develop a policy on a county-wide basis that names some requirements for sewer facilities and water facilities. You can't locate a man camp anywhere."

He said the draft policy will help county officials decide the best place to build a man camp if the county were to have one.

If a final ordinance is approved by the county commission, it would apply to where the county has jurisdiction in non-organized townships.

"In many cases, the (organized) townships may decide to adopt our policy. ...We're just saying ,‘It's there if you want to emulate it,'" Effertz said.

Effertz said the plan must be balanced.

"You need to have some temporary housing for those people to live and you need to protect the life-long residents of the area so they can still reside where they have been residing and not get forced out by increased rents."

"There is limited leasing in the northern part of Burleigh County," Burleigh County Commission Chairman Brian Bitner said. "I've had one conversation about allowing them appropriately and I've had two conversations about banning them totally."

Bismarck Mayor John Warford said there "was nothing in the books" about the temporary, dormitory type housing for energy workers. "Even if it is construed as remote that we might get man camps here, you never know," he said.

No new building in flood risk areas

The county zoning commission recommended up to a 12-month moratorium on new housing construction in flood-prone areas that are un-platted or outside subdivisions. Areas banned would be based on county flood inundation maps used during the 2011 Missouri River flooding. In the proposal, building housing permits in these areas would be suspended until flood studies and plans are adopted. It still allows those recovering from the flood to rebuild.

The moratorium was tabled in October. It would:

  • Ban platting of new subdivisions or new housing units on 40-acre or larger tracts within the maps until flood recovery studies and plans are accepted.
  • Allow permits to be issued for renovations, repairs, replacement or expansion of existing homes, building new homes and accessory buildings within existing subdivisions.
  • Prohibit building new homes on un-platted tracts of land that are 40 acres or larger that are outlined in the maps.
  • Allow ag producers to build accessory buildings on their property.
  • Allow for an appeal process for landowners who feel they could protect their property from the flood if they build.

"The purpose is not to disallow anybody from doing what they need to do, but while we're kind of waiting through this, we've got some understanding of what we've adopted in terms of a planned construction response," said Burleigh County Commissioner Mark Armstrong.

Warford said a short moratorium on building in 2003 for its growth management did not stifle growth or economic development for Bismarck.

"We wanted to establish some rules and adopt long-term plans so property owners understand where the roads are going to be if we have another flood like this, (and) what kind access there would be," Armstrong said. He said building cannot be "business as usual" in the flood prone areas until the process is done.

The recommendation must still be approved by the Burleigh County Commission.

In other action, the planning and zoning commission:

  • Directed planning staff to return with recommendations for road elevations in flood-prone areas.
  • Asked planning staff to bring back recommendations for basement materials required for building new homes in high-flood risk areas. Wood and cinderblocks are not being encouraged for the basement codes.
  • Tabled discussion on changing ordinances that require rural landowners to plat at least 40 acres of property for residential uses because it may be taking valuable farm land out of production. Effertz said they are studying allowing less housing acreage.

Reach reporter LeAnn Eckroth at 250-8264 or leann.eckroth@bismarcktribune.com.

Copyright 2015 Bismarck Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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