Williston City Commission Denies Ordinance to Phase Out Crew Camps

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Tuesday night the Williston City Commission reconsidered the future of crew camps in city limits after denying another ordinance late last year.

Those in favor of the crew camps are hoping this new ordinance passes.

After waiting for more than two hours and sitting through public comments, the Williston City Commission denied Ordinance 1038 with a 3-to-2 vote that would phase out the crew camps.

"I thought this was a good compromise for our community," said Deanette Piesik, Williston city commissioner.

Piesik drafted Ordinance 1038 in efforts to give a fair and reasonable compromise to developers, hoteliers, oilfield companies and temporary workforce housing operators.

"1038 is a compromise. There are no winners in 1038.The oil industry doesn't win, the housing industry doesn't win and the city doesn't win. It's not a full win all around, everyone is giving a pound of flush," said Travis Kelley, Target Logistics.

Piesik's ordinance would reduce the number of beds 25 percent per year for the next two years, and eliminate crew camps by 2020. But those supporting the apartments and hotels came out in force.

"This is the time to give predictability to permanent investors who need the temporary to go away, so they can continue to pay their taxes in Williston," said Tom Rolfstad, who is against the ordinance.

Apartment employees made the case that the oil company isn't the only one affected. They are as well.

"I can't go to my food vendors and say, hey the energy market is suffering. I need you to sell those eggs for less because I don't want to pay this much for it," said Rich Rowell, Holiday Express and Suites.

Some believe there is still light for crew camps to exist, but other don't see any at all.

The failure of the ordinance keeps July 1 the sunset date for crew camps.