Editorial: Dickinson campgrounds should not top city 'to do' listEither companies stop drilling for oil in this section of North Dakota, thus putting a halt to all that goes along with that — from keeping businesses vibrant, unemployment low, to building of homes and hotels — or we become more accommodating.
Either companies stop drilling for oil in this section of North Dakota, thus putting a halt to all that goes along with that — from keeping businesses vibrant, unemployment low, to building of homes and hotels — or we become more accommodating.
It’s interesting that the Dickinson City Commission decided to take on changes to campground rules during its Monday meeting.
The issue came about because residents are complaining about campers parked on city streets. Police are working on that issue, too.
But why did this ordinance get pulled to the forefront as winter swoops across the Plains? It could be construed as heartless and unreasonable.
Commissioners want to make sure campgrounds are not used as man camps. There have been no complaints about campgrounds being used as man camps thus far.
Campgrounds are not fit for sewer and water needs for long-term use, they say.
It is better to be proactive, but there are other issues more pressing at the moment (the city as a whole may not be fit for long-term sewer and water services, for example).
After plenty of testimony from residents during Monday’s hearing, commissioners voted unanimously to pass the first reading of an ordinance change which will make it necessary for a special use permit if a person is going to stay at a campground for more than 14 days.
They made the right choice by dropping a portion of the proposal. They had contemplated imposing a 14-day limit to campers.
A campground owner questioned how campgrounds are to keep track of who is there for what and for how long. We have to agree. If it is his land and it is permitted to allow for “x” number of campers, what difference does it make to the city if it is rented by the day or month?
If Dickinson is not equipped to handle what is already permitted for water and sewer, should they be permitting new construction? Why just campgrounds?
Shouldn’t the same logic then be applied to motels — individuals can’t stay for more than 14 days without a long-term housing permit?
If city officials are going to interfere with the free market of housing, shouldn’t they work on reducing exploding rent prices and help those who can’t financially afford their apartments?
The answer is no. We might not like all that comes along with living in a booming area, but property rights must be protected.
The business should get to choose who gets to live in their campgrounds and not the city, a campground owner said.
There are a variety of reasons people may need to stay in a Dickinson campground for purposes other than vacationing. With an oil boom and so-far non-accommodating approach to man camps, the main reason people are choosing campgrounds is because there is nowhere else.
The commission will again discuss and vote on the issue during its Dec. 19 meeting.
Commissioners have the choice. If the ordinance passes, add the stipulation that it won’t be enforced until temperatures are on the upper side of freezing.
Wait until the lilacs bloom on this one.
Publisher Harvey Brock and Managing Editor Jennifer McBride are on The Press Editorial Board.