Williston Annexation Plans | VideoEvan Kruegel | 12/7/2012
ATCO lodge and Black Gold Lodge could soon be within city limits, where man camps are non-compliant. But city officials say there will be no immediate shut down of the camps, as the need for them is still too high.
"At this particular point it`s still important that they`re there, because if we didn`t have them we`d be in a real crisis mode, because we really do not have any apartment availability at this point yet," said Mayor Ward Koeser.
Instead, they`ll be allowed to stay temporarily, most likely until their existing permits with the county expire.
"I think what the city is going to do is they`ll get grand-fathered in. Obviously they`ll be non-compliant but that`s not a big issue. Then the city will say whatever your time schedule was to be reviewed, we will follow that same time schedule. If you have a year left or two years left we`ll follow that schedule and we`ll do a similar review like the county would," Koeser said.
That`s good news for the camps, which are still busier than ever.
"We have been full since day one, and we continue to be full looking ahead. If you asked our clients, they would definitely say they want us to continue offering our service," said ATCO Sr. Manager of Business Development Carolyn Best.
ATCO just renewed its permit with the county, and it doesn`t expire for another two years. The company hopes to be allowed to stay if it`s annexed into the city.
"There`s no question we would ask for some leniency and to please grand-father the permit that was granted to us by the county a few months ago," Best said.
One camp that seemed to luck out on the annexation plan was Target Logistics, which sits just outside the proposed area. But camp officials say they`ve already been told by the county that their permit will not be renewed, leaving them in the same situation as the camps being annexed into the city.
"From what I understand, the county`s stance on the permits is that they`ll renew for two years, and at that point in time, they`re not looking to renew any permits," said Regional Vice President Travis Kelley.
While the annexation plan doesn`t appear to endanger the camps, the county appears to be following in the steps of the city, meaning it`s only a matter of time before the man camp is a thing of the past.
The city`s main reason behind not renewing the permits is the desire for more permanent housing. Over a hundred apartments will become available in the next 60 days, and over 1,000 will become available within six months.