Dickinson residents, commission say no to man campAbout 50 people filled Dickinson City Hall’s meeting room during a hearing for a 600-room man camp Wednesday. The general consensus was that people were in favor of the man camp but don’t want it near their homes.
By: April Baumgarten, The Dickinson Press
About 50 people filled Dickinson City Hall’s meeting room during a hearing for a 600-room man camp Wednesday. The general consensus was that people were in favor of the man camp but don’t want it near their homes. Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission members agreed the location is wrong and recommends the City Commission denies the permit.
Target Logistics, a Boston temporary housing company, requested the permit for the crew camp, which would house oilfield workers. The company owns and runs 2,500 beds in North Dakota, Target Logistics President Joe Murphy said.
“I really like what I hear from Target Logistics,” resident T.J. Herauf, said. “We absolutely need man camps. I don’t believe that is the location.”
The camp would be built northwest of the 21st Street West and State Avenue intersection. Murphy added the location for the camp was the best they could find.
“We are building this in a location that is discreet,” Murphy said.
Residents who live near the anticipated camp thought this was not a good location, Dickinson Attorney Michael Maus said. Maus represented more than 15 residents from the area.
“It is not hidden from view as sometimes indicated,” Maus said. “We look right into it. We believe this type of camp best be located in a commercial or industrial area.”
Resident Jan Prchal said the city considered the area an agricultural zone and not a residential area.
“We have a neighborhood out there,” Prchal said. “You wouldn’t dream of putting this in the center of Dickinson in your neighborhood.”
City Planner Ed Courton said Target Logistics did a great job at finding a location to meet its needs, adding there is no land zoned for industrial or commercial to put the crew camp.
“I find it difficult…to find sufficient locations,” Courton said. “We do not have sufficient land for that. Where should we put it?”
Other concerns included extra traffic and safety on 21st Street West and State Avenue. Residents said traffic would increase, causing problems for them.
“I don’t think anyone understands the flow of traffic that goes up that gravel road everyday,” resident Mike Rivinius said. “There is no way that area can handle that kind of traffic.”
Murphy stated about 90 percent of the workers would be transported by bus from the facility to work, so residents shouldn’t worry about traffic.
“When they go to and from work, they are not going in their individual cars,” Murphy said. “It limits the traffic to the significant extent.”
Residents didn’t believe traffic would be limited. Resident Lloyd Schnaidt was concerned about workers traveling around town after work.
“Those same people are going to go to Walmart, Kmart, Applebee’s, to wherever,” Schnaidt said. “They are not going to live in their little cubical all day and night.”
The commissioners voted unanimously to deny recommending the permit. They all agreed the location was not right.
“There is no perfect location,” Commissioner Gene Jackson said. “We got to make sure this is the right quadrant for a crew camp. We only have one shot at this.”
It is important for the city to have forums to discuss these issues, Prchal said.
“I’m glad the commission listened to the residents’ concerns,” Prchal said. “I think this needs to be a community decision, not spot decisions.”
Jackson said the decision was difficult, adding it took a lot of hard thought and discussion. However, it was something that needed to happen.
“These discussions are discussions we need to have as a community,” Jackson said.
Despite the strong opposition Murphy said he was glad everyone treated them fairly.
“I think the commissioners listened to us with an open ear,” Murphy said. “It just didn’t go our way. Some you got to win, and some you got to lose.”
Murphy said Target Logistics has not decided if it will ask the City Commission for a hearing. He added they have more research to do on the project.
“We would like to be in Dickinson,” Murphy said after the meeting. “It’s a lovely city, and we think could really help the development situation here.”