Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Williston may put brakes on mobile businesses

WILLISTON, N.D. - Planning officials here expect to ask city leaders today to put a six-month moratorium on any new mobile businesses while they develop an ordinance to govern them.

Chiropractor Stephen Alexander, pictured Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, in Tioga, N.D., operates a mobile chiropractic rehab clinic catering to oilfield workers. Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

WILLISTON, N.D. - Planning officials here expect to ask city leaders today to put a six-month moratorium on any new mobile businesses while they develop an ordinance to govern them.

Williston Planning and Zoning Director Kent Jarcik said the city has received numerous requests for new mobile businesses, which the city's ordinance currently does not permit.

Technology advancements allow businesses to be more mobile, but planning and zoning codes have not kept up, Jarcik said.

"There are things to deal with from a zoning and land use perspective you never had to consider before," Jarcik said.

Nick Vasuthasawat, the city's code compliance officer, has drafted a proposed moratorium for the Williston City Commission to consider tonight.


Initially, Williston's planning department told MaxHealth Mobile, a mobile chiropractor, to cease operating immediately.

But after further discussion, city planning officials say they will exempt two existing businesses, MaxHealth Mobile and a mobile veterinary service, from the proposed moratorium while a consensus on mobile businesses is reached, Vasuthasawat said.

Williston's ordinances allow transient merchants who operate on a temporary basis.

But mobile businesses that operate on a long-term basis out of a bus or trailer have not been permitted, Jarcik said.

Mobile business owners aren't purchasing property or paying property taxes to support the services they use, Jarcik said.

"It doesn't build equity in the community," Jarcik said.

Stephen Alexander, a Las Vegas chiropractor who moved to North Dakota to serve oilfield workers, said he could open a permanent location in Williston, but that wouldn't help him fill the need.

Oil companies in Williston and surrounding communities contract with Alexander to set up his mobile chiropractic rehab clinic - an RV equipped with digital X-ray machine, examination room and other technology.


Alexander performs chiropractic evaluation and treatment, drug testing, massage rehab and provides health exams for truck drivers who need to renew their commercial driver's licenses.

Many oilfield workers can't make it to a chiropractor during regular business hours or they don't have vehicles, Alexander said. He recently saw six mechanics between the hours of 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. from the parking lot of a Williston business.

"When are they supposed to go to a chiropractor?" said Alexander, who estimates he sees more than 150 patients a week in Williston.

Alexander said he spends at least $6,000 a month to stay in Williston hotels. He could open an office location, but he'd still need to travel to care for his patients.

"I have equity that solves the problem," Alexander said. "Having a brick-and-mortar (business) doesn't solve the problem."

Vince Stenson, who said he has operated Bakken Mobile Veterinary Service since May 2012, said Monday he had not been informed of the city's discussions and had no comment.

Last fall, Williston leaders adopted an ordinance banning food trucks and other mobile food vendors, citing health and safety concerns.

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTA
What To Read Next
Artificial intelligence can now act as an artist or a writer. Does that mean AI is ready to play doctor? Many institutions, including Mayo Clinic, believe that AI is ready to become a useful tool.
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.