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North Dakota RV Park Sues State For Withholding Operating License

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An indoor RV park that has opened its doors in North Dakota’s Watford City in 2013 has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court asking the state authorities to extend their operating permit. As an alternative, they asked the state to pay the RV park at least $5 million, a report said.

In the suit filed in court, the North Dakota Indoor RV Park claims that the park, which can accommodate around 160 recreational vehicles, has invested $5 million in specialized equipment. The RV park was expecting that the state government will continue to issue operational licenses “on the same basis” as the first license was issued.

The suit also stated that the park was informed in 2020 by officials from the North Dakota Department of Health that its operating permit for 2021 could not be renewed unless some new “cost-prohibitive” conditions were met.

In March, the park was informed that the license was not renewed and that continued operation could subject the park to criminal sanctions, according to the suit.

The lawsuit claims that notification was based on an audit report drafted by the North Dakota Fire Marshal’s Office and was applied to both the outdoor and indoor aspects of the park’s operations.

The rift between the park’s management and state officials began to develop in 2016 when fire officials raised safety concerns regarding how the park was run.

According to the lawsuit, in 2018, the state Fire Marshal’s Office issued an order to stop the park’s residential use.

The decision was subsequently appealed. Prior to any decision from the courts, it was decided that the Fire Marshal’s Office abandoned its order seeking to stop residential usage of the park’s facilities.

The suit further claims that, despite abandoning its 2018 abatement decision, the Fire Marshal’s Office worked with the Department of Health to inspect the park in June 2020.

After the inspection, the Fire Marshal’s Office issued a report outlining the same safety issues mentioned in the agency’s abatement order. According to the lawsuit, this connotes that the Fire Marshal’s Office “sought to circumvent the park’s right to judicial review … by using the Department of Health as a ‘backdoor’ to enforce the abandoned abatement order.”

The indoor part of the park is comprised of ten insulated buildings designed to accommodate 160 RVs. Each building is divided into eight sections, with each 50-foot wide bay capable of housing two RVs.

The buildings offer security against fire, carbon monoxide. Each also has smoke detection and climate control for the occupants.

Gas, electric, and water connections are available for every RV lot within each bay.

The outside portion of the park is comprised of 60 lots that have utility as well as sewer connections.

The common building provides residents with mailboxes, laundry facilities, as well as a room for gathering equipped with recliners, couches, televisions, vending machines, pool tables, and restrooms.

The Department of Health and the Fire Marshal’s Office were named as the defendants in the suit.

The North Dakota Attorney General’s Office that represents the defendants wrote in response, that the state denied the allegations in the lawsuit and will respond to the allegations “in due course.”

A phone call at the North Dakota Indoor RV park was answered by a recorded message declaring that it was closed in the meantime. However, storage space was available for rent.

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