- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 2, 2016

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Williston officials have finished drafting a new ordinance to eliminate oil field crew camps in city limits.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland in June issued a preliminary injunction preventing Williston from enforcing a July 1 shutdown deadline. His decision was based on a possible technical error by the City Commission when the group voted in November 2015 to approve the date.

The question was whether there were enough protests to require the commission to cast a supermajority vote, rather than a simple majority.

“We had received protest letters late in the day of the actual meeting,” City attorney Jordon Evert said. “We could not determine at the time if a supermajority was needed and we thought a 3-2 vote was sufficient.”

The City Commission voted after Hovland’s ruling to draft a new ordinance, and the work is now done, the Williston Herald reported (https://bit.ly/2aHl7V2 ). The commission is expected to vote on it sometime this month.

The ordinance mirrors the earlier version, with the addition of a reclamation provision. It sets a Sept. 1 crew camp occupancy deadline, with companies given about another two years to clean up and reclaim the crew camp sites.

City officials maintain the construction of new apartments and hotels has caught up with population growth in the oil patch hub, and temporary worker camps are no longer needed.

Oil industry officials say that despite the current oil slump, some temporary housing is still needed for rotational workers, beyond hotels that don’t serve meals and apartments that workers don’t need most of the time. Workforce housing companies have sued Williston in both federal and state court, saying they’re being treated unfairly.

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Information from: Williston Herald, https://www.willistonherald.com

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