Editorial: Dickinson camper crunch causing problemsPeople are not allowed to park campers on the streets, Dickinson leaders have denied a man camp on the edge of town, Dickinson State University dorms are crowded and it’s going to get real cold, real quick.
People are not allowed to park campers on the streets, Dickinson leaders have denied a man camp on the edge of town, Dickinson State University dorms are crowded and it’s going to get real cold, real quick.
The area basks in economic stability thanks to an oil boom, and issues coming from its impact are brought up at every city meeting, often dragging them out.
One of the latest issues stems from commissioners receiving complaints about campers being parked on streets. Ordinance states campers can not be on a city street for more than 48 hours. Dickinson is tossing around the idea of revising the rules.
The large objects are a hazard. It’s tough to see around them and cords extend across sidewalks and even streets.
However, there is a good chance many people are not aware that they should not be parked on the streets.
Police say they enforce vehicle parking violations in the winter to aid in snow removal. These camper and parking rules are tough to stay ahead of as it is. Police officers are busy dealing with more pressing issues as the population continues to increase.
Unless the law is cut and dry — no campers can be parked on any city street at any time — enforcement isn’t a possibility. Officers can’t keep tabs on how long each camper has been there. What if someone moves the camper 10 feet down the street?
If leaders are going to change the rules, let them start with the rule that makes it illegal to park a camper on a lawn, unless it’s on concrete or gravel. Let landowners make the choice if they want a camper there. This will provide more leniency and get a number of them off of the street. It may not make for the prettiest of backyards (that’s an entirely different issue for another day), but it will be safer. Campers have got to go somewhere.
Hundreds of campers are likely here to stay and hundreds more will be rolling in.
We urge City Hall, the Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau, camper sales staff and oil companies to be aware of the rules and to provide information regarding where campers are allowed (and yes, there are still sites open in area campgrounds).
No doubt it is the camper owner’s responsibility to stay within the law, but Dickinson can not micromanage every issue.
The city has its hands tied, but should not drag this out. With more and more people, there are greater concerns for the police and Dickinson leaders to focus on.
Dickinson Press Publisher Harvey Brock and Managing Editor
Jennifer McBride are on the Editorial Board.