BEULAH, N.D. — An oil patch work camp operator is hoping to provide housing near Beulah for the expected flood of workers who will build a $400 million urea fertilizer plant.
Capital Lodge has made a pitch to the Beulah Planning and Zoning Board but still lacks one critical piece of zoning, the Bismarck Tribune reported. The town’s council can override that outcome when it meets to hear the board’s recommendations on Tuesday.
The Beulah zoning board recommended annexing the property — empty land across from a housing subdivision on the city’s northeast side — so it could be served by city water and sewer services, and the board rezoned it from agriculture to multi-residential use. But it did not recommend issuing Capital Lodge a conditional use permit for the location.
Zoning board chairman Jerry Reichenberg said most of the 50 Beulah residents who attended last week’s zoning meeting said they didn’t like the proposed location of the man camp, though they weren’t opposed to the concept. Reichenberg said it would be better to build the camp near the construction site adjoining the Dakota Gasification Co. plant.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative is building the plant to take advantage of the byproducts produced while making natural gas from lignite coal. The project has been in the works for two years, and workers are beginning to arrive, said communications manager Joan Dietz.
Up to 750 workers will be on site through 2016, she said.
In February, Capital Lodge tried to turn its 140 manufactured units near Tioga into a commercial hotel, but that proposal was rejected. Lodge spokesman Mike Boudreau said investors want to downsize Tioga because of slumping oil prices.
Beulah Mayor Darrell Bjerke said Beulah hosted a man camp during the 1980s coal boom and that having more people in the town can only be beneficial to business.
“It’s difficult to understand the opposition. It will be fenced, with security, and rules for no drugs or alcohol,” Bjerke said. “They will be here working whether we house them or not.”
Bjerke said he expects a lively city meeting on Tuesday.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com
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