Belfield zoning board OKs temp housingEmployees of Nabors Well Service Co. may soon have a place to lay their heads in Belfield after the zoning board recently gave the nod for temporary housing.
By: Klark Byrd, The Dickinson Press
Employees of Nabors Well Service Co. may soon have a place to lay their heads in Belfield after the zoning board recently gave the nod for temporary housing.
The zoning board unanimously supported a two-year conditional use permit to allow up to 26 Nabors employees to stay in facilities that will be built as part of a company expansion project. The site is adjacent to Nabors existing yard located east of Belfield on Highway 10.
Employees would be permitted to stay at the facility for up to 90 days.
Zoning Board President Harold Kubischta said the location is a benefit.
“These are in approved industrial zone areas, so it is not like you are going in someone’s backyard,” he said.
Gary Mathieson, Nabors area manager for the northern Rocky Mountain Trucking Division, said the facility would be comprised of six skid-mounted units from a Canadian affiliate and are adapted for cold climates.
Employees are required to go through a strict background check and tenant application form, which will promote quality citizens, Mathieson said. The facility will have on-site managers at all times.
Kubischta said he liked that the facility was self contained. A similar project for Paramount Drilling was approved by the City Council on Sept. 6 and Kubischta said it has melded well with the community.
“Nobody even knows its there,” he said, adding that Nabors has taken all the proper permitting steps. “They run it themselves and they are strict on what goes on there so, when they are like that, I don’t have any problem with them.”
The use of “labor lodges” will help employees establish some roots in a difficult housing market, Mathieson said.
“I think it is a tremendous help because it gives them a couple months to save money, to establish a little bit of wherewithal to get adequate housing so they are not living in places the state, county, or anybody else doesn’t want unauthorized housing to be set up,” he said.
Kubischta agreed, saying Nabors has been a reputable company.
“We are trying to help these companies out,” he said. “They are in straights too for housing for their employees and we understand that and we will work with them.”
Nabors was approved for a comparable facility in Fairfield. Billings County Commissioner Mike Kasian said it is good to support the energy industry when it is appropriate.
“If we don’t give them a little lax period, we are going to end up losing the whole thing,” he said.
Mathieson said the facility could be constructed in less than a week, excluding traveling time.
The conditional use permit requires final approval from the City Council, which is scheduled to meet on Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.