Mancamps to continue in Williams County

The Williams County Commissioners passed extensions earlier this month to active mancamps within the county, largely following the recommendations of the counties’ Planning and Zoning commission.

The moratorium against new camps remains in place.

“Planning and zoning had a sub-committee that put months of work into it to try to come up with a long-term plan for mancamps,” said Daniel Kalil, who is both a Williams County and a Planning and Zoning commissioner. “The plan was kind of based on the fact that there is a need for the mancamps, and there may always be a need for mancamps because there will always be the type of worker … that has no intention of staying but they need a place to sleep while they live here.”

Planning and Zoning based its recommendations for the extended licensing based in a staggered manner based on the types of housing.

Those living in temporary campers, or RVs, but in camps outside of traditional RV-parks, were seen as causing the greatest impact on the “little existing infrastructure” of the county by travelling often and were recommended to be shuttered by Oct. 31, Kalil said. The lack of organization here also produced a risk to emergency services locating and helping the occupants, and Kalil said that “we’re lucky it hasn’t been worse.”

“Skid shacks,” or somewhat more permanent, group housing solutions were recommended to stay for an additional year.

The most permanent category were stationary mobile homes, often grouped together, which were recommended for an extension of two years.

In the end, county commissioners stalled their ruling because meeting with all petitioners would necessitate lengthy hearings and an overly, nearly day-long meeting. By the time the reccommendations were put to a final say, commissioners felt that the Oct. 31 deadline on campers was too soon, and extended the final deadline to a year. All other deadlines passed were those recommended by planning and zoning.

The camps are seen by Kalil as being “ideal solutions for temporary workers,” but recognized the concerns of those who have or will invest in apartment or condominium buildings.

“So we’re trying to strike a balance,” he said. “What’s worse than having a mancamp 10 to 15 years from now is … empty apartment buildings.”

He said that should the work drop at that point, it would be better to drive by a site that used to be a temporary housing site than an empty apartment building, or apartments with rents so low that it may attract “undesirables.”

The companies or people petitioning for renewal were Target Logistics, Capital Lodge, BOH Inc., C&D Rentals, Flint Energy, Hickman Sales, Jerry and Lisa Kram, Northern Improvements, Reliant Asset/Aries, Alan Spencer, Evans Rentals LLC, Klint Hartsoch, Wade Smith, Lone Tree Remote Camps, Stallion Oilfied Services, and Stat Oil, according to the commission agenda for their July 2 meeting.