Less Red Tape Means More Solutions For Bakken Housing Crunch
Thanks to the Bakken oil boom, tens of thousands of workers have flocked to western North Dakota to live and work. Unfortunately, housing developers haven’t been able to keep up, and there are serious housing and crowding issues.
So far, most of the reaction to this problem in terms of public policy has consisted of local leaders trying to make the crowding illegal. There have been restrictions and bans put on the so-called “man camps” (temporary housing built by the oil industry, as well as restrictions/bans made on the use of RV’s and camper trailers.
But these policies don’t solve the problem. If anything, they make the problem worse.
In Stark County, though, they seem to have figured out an approach that actually works. Rather creating new restrictions and regulations, they’re lifting old rules to give businesses and citizens more choices when it comes to fixing the problem.
Less red tape means more solutions:
Because Stark County continues to experience a housing crunch as part of an ongoing oil boom, temporary workers will most likely hit the sack in office buildings and shops, said Jay Elkin, Stark County commissioner.
Earlier this month, commissioners gave NuVision Project Manager Tim Howard permission to build living quarters above a north Dickinson shop, owned by Leam Drilling. Elkin thinks more employers might imitate the business by letting workers sleep in businesses.
“I don’t know that I really care for any of it from an emergency perspective, but the fact of the matter is, we’re going to have to allow for some of this to happen in order to allow for (employers) to conduct business as usual,” Elkin said.
While Elkin is concerned about emergency personnel being able to locate temporary workers, he said letting employees sleep in the workplace is better than placing them in RVs scattered around the county.
Let’s hope we see more of this sort of leadership from western leaders.Tags: bakken oil boom, dickinson, North Dakota News, oil, stark county