Battle Over Construction Crew Camp Ban Enters Courtroom

City officials implemented a pending crew camp ban in city limits because construction of new apartments and hotels has caught up with population growth.

📅   Fri June 03, 2016 - Midwest Edition
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City officials implemented a pending crew camp ban in city limits because construction of new apartments and hotels has caught up with population growth.
City officials implemented a pending crew camp ban in city limits because construction of new apartments and hotels has caught up with population growth.

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Companies that provide workforce housing in the North Dakota oil patch say Williston violated its own procedures and federal law when it set a July 1 deadline for crew camps to shut down.

Target Logistics and Lodging Solutions sued the city in April, saying they've been treated unfairly. The city maintains that the two companies have failed to make a case that harm done to them will outweigh the city's welfare.

Attorneys made arguments in Northwest District Court on Tuesday, and Judge Paul Jacobson ordered both sides to submit written proposals by Friday, KXMC-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1t3rk3D ).

City officials implemented the pending crew camp ban in city limits because construction of new apartments and hotels has caught up with population growth. The city required a special use permit be in place by the beginning of this year for existing camps, with those permits expiring on July 1.

City Attorney Scott Horsburgh said crew camps that didn't meet the requirements “had absolutely no expectation or right to remain open.”

Oil industry officials say that despite the current oil slump, some temporary housing is still needed for rotational workers, beyond hotels that don't serve meals and apartments that workers don't need most of the time. Target Logistics and Lodging Solutions also say the city improperly ignored their requests last year to extend their workforce housing permits.

The plaintiffs maintain the city violated its own procedures, and that the ban also intrudes on federally protected property rights.

“We made it very clear to the court why we believe (the pending ban) does not apply to our property at all,” plaintiffs' attorney Benjamin Tymann said.