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Campground ordinance passes first reading

A first reading of a campground license ordinance passed at Tuesday's meeting of the City Commissioners.

A separate ordinance for mobile home court licensing passed on Nov. 22.

Licensing for both was proposed in a single ordinance presented to city commissioners in September, but was met with concerns from property owners.

"When the mobile home (license) was finalized the campground licensing provisions were removed," Jan Murtha, city attorney, explained. "This was done at the suggestion of the building official, who indicated he thought it would improve clarity with regards to the requirements that were applicable to each type of park."

The provisions from prior MHC ordinance drafts were revised slightly with their inclusion in the campground ordinance.

A key provision in the new ordinance defines how long an RV can remain in a park and still be considered temporary.

The ordinance sets a period of 270 days, about nine months, with a minimum of 30 days absence before another continuous period can start.

Other defined standards include lot limits.

Campgrounds will have maps indicating where the camping sites are, and a 10-foot separation is required between any RV, tent and/or vehicle.

One property can have both mobile home and campground licenses.

Asked if the property owners are required to keep their MHCs and RVs segregated, Leonard Schwindt, city building official, explained they already do that.

"There is a distinction between camping and the mobile home units," Schwindt said.

The time limit is intended to discourage converting RVs into residences.

"It's essentially a man-camp (then)," Schwindt said, "and we have a specific ordinance for man-camps."

Schwindt reported that property owners were amiable to the provision.

Commissioner Sarah Trustem voted against the ordinance over its time limit.

"For some people, it's all they have," she said. "It's never been required before. I just had a couple of people reach out (to me). It's just not something I'll be supporting."

A second reading of the ordinance will be held at the commission's meeting on Jan. 8.

In other business:

Commissioners approved a contract with Dickinson Public Transit for the 2019 year.

The city partners with Public Transit to offer on-demand and free schedule rides to the community, Deputy Administrator Linda Carlson explained.

The city budgeted to subsidize Public Transit operations for 2019 and 2020, a two-year contract, at $55,000 per year.

Public Transit also receives a percentage of the city sales tax, for a budgeted amount of $150,000 each year.

The city also provides income support for rent, utilities, water, sewer, garbage, snow removal and insurance at over $80,000.

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