The Williams, N.D., County Commission decided Monday (Dec. 30) to impose a heavily reduced fine on the owners of Top Notch Services who were alleged to have operated an unlicensed RV park for two years without consequence.

The Williston Herald reported that on Dec. 10, the commission postponed charging more than $1.2 million in fines on owners Johnny and Carmen Iovino. After much deliberation, the board reduced the amount to $12,000.

Commissioner David Montgomery told Johnny Iovino he initially wanted to “put some teeth into our violators to get their attention, and I think we got your attention.” The area has experienced an overpopulation of oil workers, drawn by the Bakken shale formation, that has caused a severe housing shortage.

A county zoning investigator first discovered the unlicensed park Aug. 13. Upon finding the violation, which included 55 RVs on the commercial property, he sent the owners a formal non-compliance letter, informing them how to navigate the proper official channels if they wanted to run the park.

Iovino followed up, requesting the Williams County Planning and Zoning Department grant him a conditional use permit for an RV park to house employees free of rent.

The commission was backlogged and wasn’t able to hear the request until Oct. 3. At this time Iovino said he had 20 RVs remaining.

The commission recommended denial of the conditional use permit request. It was also recommended that all temporary housing be off the property by May 1, 2014.

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