Judge rules in favor of crew camps in Williston

Published: Jun. 22, 2016 at 5:57 PM CDT
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Man camp operators got some good news Tuesday night. After losing in District Court, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction on Williston's plan to close crew camps within the city limits.

Judge Daniel Hovland, in his order, prevents the city from enforcing a ban on temporary housing.

Hovland ruled in favor of crew camp operator's arguments.

Court Documents show that any Williston zoning ordinance requires a super majority vote of the city commission to pass, provided the owners of 20 percent of affected businesses protest.

The documents show that because of this, Ordinance 1026 needed four votes to pass, not three. During the Nov. 24 meeting, nine businesses protested the proposal. Only Target Logistics withdrew its protest. At the meeting, Commissioner Brad

Bekkedahl questioned the city attorney on whether the 20 percent rule was in effect, but the attorney said he wasn't sure because the protest was filed late.

The city continued with the process, but only received three votes in favor during the final vote. Judge Hoveland wrote that the city should have clarified the matter during the meeting, or postponed the vote until the received clarification.

Hoveland's ruling means the city cannot enforce the ordinance until the court makes a final decision.