Unlicensed RV Parks Crop Up in Oil Boom Area
Illegal, unlicensed recreational vehicle parks are a constant problem for officials in North Dakota’s Williams County as the oil boom continues to attract those in search of work.
The Bismark Tribune reported that at a county commission meeting this month, one of the Williams County Planning & Zoning board issues tackled was that of an unlicensed RV park run by Top Notch Services.
After some deliberation, commissioners ruled that Top Notch owners Johnny and Carmen Iovino must pay two months worth of fines and everyone in the park has to be out by December.
The dilemma the case posed to the county commissioners was that the RV residents were not really at fault — they had just settled there. In the opinion of the commissioners, the Iovinos are at fault for letting the people in the RVs stay there.
“These people were getting taken advantage of,” said planning specialist Taylor Corbett. “The property owners were just trying to make a quick buck.”
According to Planning & Zoning, the RV park had been there two years before anyone in the county or nearby Tyrone township noticed it was not licensed.
A compliance officer investigating a problem at a nearby former man camp owned by Jay Stetson noticed the RV park at the lot in question and looked into it, only to find that it was an unauthorized park.
“Nobody likes to be the bad guy, but somebody has to,” Commissioner David Montgomery said, adding that the commission “is tired of being stepped on and abused” by people who try to find ways around applying for permits and doing things the legal way.
Johnny Iovino said that he had gone to a county commission meeting and obtained the necessary permit to house employees of Top Notch Services. He stated that he understood the permit to be good until July 1, 2014, at which point there would be another hearing to determine the fate of the RV park for Top Notch employees.
“It was really just for my employees,” Iovino said of the land upon which the RVs sat. “It was not a trailer park. At the first meeting, (the county commissioners) gave me a permit. Then they had another meeting and took the permit away. I wish I could have been at that second meeting to defend myself.”
Iovino stated that he has “found a new place to go” for his employees who live in RVs, but that it would be a “big expense.”
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