Williams County decided Friday to extend its six-month moratorium on any more man camps and this time the moratorium will last indefinitely.
The vote was a 3-2 split, but followed the recommendation of a committee assigned to look into whether the county can handle more temporary housing.
The moratorium would have expired next week, but commissioner Dan Kalil said the reasons for it being put in place haven’t changed.
“We’re still out of water, we’re still out of sewage capacity, we’re short of electricity and there’s no room on the highways for anyone else,” Kalil said.
He said the commission did decide it would take applications from existing man camps that want to expand, provided they had been approved by the county’s planning and zoning board.
Williams County has already approved 9,777 beds, and approximately 6,600 of those have actually been built, meaning there’s still another 3,000 beds or so before approved permits are maxed out.
Kalil said the commission’s discussion revolved around what kind of development it prefers for the county.
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“If these companies need places for workers, they can build apartment buildings. They can make long-term investments. If this (oil development) is going to last another 20 to 30 years they can add some value to the community rather that set out more of these temporary beds,” he said.
Two other oil patch counties also have man camp moratoriums.
Mountrail County declared an 18-month moratorium that started in September so it could catch up on impact and services, particularly with its emergency and ambulance responders.
Dunn County declared a moratorium in January that remains in effect until May 31, said commissioner Daryl Dukart.
Dukart said the county has already approved 1,440 beds at various locations.
“We just wanted to slow things down until we completed our comprehensive land use plan and zoning ordinances. We’re just about done and by Wednesday of next week, we should have our ordinances in place,” he said.
This week, the number of rigs drilling in North Dakota’s oil producing counties stands at 205. Of those, 45 rigs are drilling in Williams County, 37 are in Dunn County and 31 are in Mountrail County. Another 55 are in McKenzie County with the remainder in Stark, McLean, Billings and other oil patch counties.