City of Williston updating cell tower ordinance

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WILLISTON, N.D. - Williston has partnered with River Oaks Communication to help update the city's cell tower ordinance.

Progress is always marching forward.

"Technology has moved us away from the Pony Express and postage stamps and plain old telephone service to constantly always on connection," says Robert Marrigan, Nemont.

The City of Williston is looking to help extend broadband services.

"Four or five years ago, we put together a cell tower ordinance, and it's just outdated because this industry moves so fast," says Howard Klug, Williston Mayor.

Officials spoke with several groups Wednesday for input. They ranged from other city and county employees to internet service providers to business leaders.

"I think if you're going to set rules and regulations, you definitely need to talk to people that have been working in this industry," says Marrigan.

The hope is that an updated ordinance will make it easier on everyone to help access better internet.

"We want to have the ordinance comport with the laws that have been enacted over the years, and we want the ordinance to be user friendly so that we're going to encourage the deployment of technology here in Williston and work collaboratively with the providers to make that a reality," says Bob Duchen, River Oaks Communication.

With constant changes, the city can't afford to drag out approving new technology.

"If you drag that out for six months or a year or something like that, it's already passed you by. So hopefully when we get this ordinance done, it'll be streamlined: what the city needs, what the provider needs, what the people of Williston needs," says Klug.

The city is also hoping to find a balance between providing effective services without sacrificing strides made in beautification of Williston.

Officials are hoping to have a draft of the ordinance ready in the next few months.