The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 29, 2013

Allowing some temporary industrial workforce housing in Enid is a very wise move

Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — In a wise and proactive move, the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission approved an ordinance to allow temporary industrial workforce housing in Enid.

Planning Administrator Chris Bauer said the time limit was five years, with a five-year option. He said the current oil boom is expected to last between five and 15 years.

The ordinance also would include an 8 percent fee for the housing units to offset what is lost in hotel/motel tax revenues. The camps can only be built in I-1, I-2 and I-3 industrial zones.

Some interesting points on this subject were discussed at Monday’s Enid City Commission candidates forum.

“Most people don’t realize that after 30 days of continuously residing in a hotel room, you don’t have to pay hotel tax any more,” said Dr. David Vanhooser, a Ward 6 candidate and a current commissioner on the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission.

“We’ve lost revenue to that. When Halliburton rents the whole hotel for six months, you only pay hotel tax for the first 30 days.”

Another Ward 6 candidate, Joey Meibergen, cautioned the city should avoid excessively restrictive codes, especially pertaining to oil and gas service businesses.

“Don’t code them to death, so they move to Ponca City or somewhere else,” Meibergen said. “If they can’t get it done and get it done now, they’re going to go somewhere else.”

Those are good points. We don’t want these to become unsanitary shantytowns, and we don’t want these areas to resemble ghost towns after the oil boom busts.

Alva, which is in the bull’s-eye of the oil play, has handled intense housing pressure during the prosperous drilling cycle.

We appreciate the city of Enid being proactive on this issue.