Hoeven Outlines Jamestown Reservoir Land Transfer Legislation for Homeowners, Stutsman County Park Board

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today convened a meeting with the Stutsman County Park Board and homeowners from the Jamestown Reservoir to outline his recently-introduced legislation that would allow the homeowners 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. After providing an overview of the bill, the senator held a question-and-answer session with local stakeholders. Hoeven’s legislation grew out of meetings his 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 in Dickinson. 

“Our legislation is about protecting residents’ investments in their homes around the Jamestown Reservoir and ensuring the future of this community,” said Senator Hoeven. “We appreciate all of the county officials, the park board members and the homeowners for coming together and working with us on this legislation. We look forward to advancing this bill through Congress and giving residents the opportunity to own the land on which they live.”

Specifically, Hoeven’s legislation:

  • Establishes a process to make 71 residential lots on the reservoir available for sale to the homeowners 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.