Hoeven Introduces Legislation to Allow Homeowners to Purchase Lots at Jamestown Reservoir

Legislation Recognizes, Protects Homeowners Investments in the Land & Property at Jamestown Reservoir

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven recently introduced legislation that would allow homeowners at the Jamestown Reservoir to purchase their lots from the federal government and transfer all remaining Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) lands around the reservoir to state and local public ownership. The bill grew out of meetings Hoeven’s staff held with the homeowners and local officials over the past year and is modeled after similar legislation the senator introduced for homeowners at Patterson Lake.

“After years of investment in their homes and lots, residents of the Jamestown Reservoir deserve the security of owning the land on which they live,” said Senator Hoeven. “We worked hard to find common ground with all parties, including homeowners and the federal, state and local entities. This legislation helps secure the future of the community that has been built around the reservoir and maintains access to important outdoor recreational opportunities for the region.”

Specifically, Hoeven’s legislation:

  • Establishes a process to make 71 residential lots on the reservoir available for sale for five years.
  • Permanently transfers all other federal lands in the area, including two campgrounds, a park and unpurchased lots, to the Stutsman County Park Board and the North Dakota Game and Fish at no cost. 
  • Requires BOR to provide a legal description of all properties to be transferred.
  • Provides that the value of the residential lots be based on a local third party appraiser, valuing the land as unimproved residential property, excluding all improvements.
  • Maintains BOR responsibility over the reservoir and dam and directs all revenue from the sale of residential lots to be used for the costs of carrying out this legislation and deferred maintenance of the dam.

This bill follows Hoeven’s successful efforts to include a provision in the Water Resources and Development Act last year that limited fee increases for permittees on Patterson Lake, Lake Tschida and the Jamestown Reservoir. BOR had proposed increasing fees to more than twice the cost of current fees for permits on the three reservoirs. Hoeven’s legislation prevented that increase and limited the total fee increase to no more than 33 percent over 5 years.