Any applicant wanting to construct a facility in the city of Bowman and Bowman County’s combined extraterritorial zone would have to endure a long, convoluted process that includes double fees and several city and county hearings.
Bowman City Commission President Lyn James and Zoning Administrator Cheryl Ryan set out to change that on Tuesday, as they started a conversation with the Bowman County Planning and Zoning Board to establish a more streamlined and sensible approach.
The extraterritorial zone, or ET Zone, is an area surrounding the city that has the unique distinction of being under both the city and county’s jurisdiction. That means any permits needed to erect construction within that zone would have to be obtained by both the city and the county boards, through a minimum of four separate meetings, and both of those entity’s fees (see costs at end of story) would apply.
The issue stemmed mainly from a previous discussion between the city and county zoning administrators, James and City Attorney Steve Wild about temporary crew housing, also called “man camps.” If, in the future, one would approach the city to establish one inside its ET Zone, there would be widespread confusion on the permitting entity and who maintains jurisdiction over it.
“What we were discussing is if we should be looking at raising ours … to make it more compatible,” said Rory Teigen, zoning board director.
The county’s permit fees are established by its ordinance and, if one were to be changed, the entire ordinance would have to change, according to Teigen.
“There is concern with the city as we talked about fees and the wide discrepancy between the city and the county’s fees,” James told the board.
In order for the city to grow, its board needs to be more in sync with the county, said James, and the fees that the city has adopted are commensurate with what current fees are in western North Dakota.
Many of the city’s fees are above $100, while the county’s most expensive permit doesn’t reach nearly that high.
One proposal was for the city to obtain full jurisdiction of the ET Zone, but Chuck Whitney, a city commissioner and county zoning board member, said that would put the city up against some “pretty stiff opposition” from landowners in that area.
The ET Zone was primarily established to maintain efficiencies in infrastructure and services provided and in anticipation for future growth of the city.
Another proposal would be to compromise and establish a middle ground for fees in the ET Zone. Though, the legality of such a decision was uncertain.
“I don’t expect that we’ll have a lot of crew camp housing” in that zone, James said, but it’s still important to plan if it ever happens.
Right now, the county has established measures to ensure no man camp came be located less than three miles outside of the city’s limits, unless the city otherwise petitioned for it to be closer.
Teigen said he couldn’t imagine a scenario where the city would desire such a thing, but James said unexpected contingencies could arise.
The conversation ended with both parties agreeing to seek further information from their respective legal counsels and then share that during another meeting.
County’s Permit Fees
Mobile homes $10
Double, triple-wide manufactured homes $10
Conditional use $25
Pipelines, buried cables $15 base + $5 per mile
Temporary housing, “man camps” $1.50 per sq. ft. multiplied by the footprint and number of floors
City’s Permit Fees
Manufactured homes $100
Conditional use $200
Temporary housing, “man camps” $N/A