WILLISTON, N.D. — People living in campers on Williston streets will need to get rolling, though they are being given a few months to find new places to park.
The Williston City Commission is implementing a ban on people living in recreational vehicles outside of a designated RV park. Campers in residential areas will have to relocate by Sept. 1, and RVs in commercial or industrial areas will have until Nov. 1, The Forum newspaper reported. The penalty for violating the ordinance is a $500 fine for each day of noncompliance.
The boom in the western North Dakota oil patch has created a housing shortage, forcing many people to live in campers. Officials say the hundreds of RVs parked around the city create health and safety hazards.
“I needed to protect our residents who have lived here, who pay taxes here,” said Mayor Ward Koeser. “I need to protect the quality of life I think they deserve.”
Several RV parks are under construction in the Williston area but it is not known what they will charge. Koeser said he has heard figures as high as $800 per month, and some RV dwellers like Paul Miller, who lives in a camper parked in a church driveway, think the rent will be too steep.
“I’ve come to say goodbye to the city if this law passes,” Miller told commissioners.
Police Chief James Lokken said enforcing the ordinance is “going to be tough.”
“We’re just hoping people will move on their own,” he said.
The ordinance does not affect people living in cars or vehicles. It allows building contractors to apply for $200 monthly RV permits to accommodate workers living in campers at work sites. That provision will be re-evaluated after a year.