Hoeven:Energy Committee Holds Hearing on Patterson Lake Legislation

Hoeven Bill Enables Homeowners to Purchase Their Lots, Transfers All Federal Lands Managed by Dickinson Parks and Recreation to Parks Department

WASHINGTON – At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven outlined his legislation, S.440, which enables homeowners to purchase their lots at Patterson Lake. Hoeven was joined at the hearing by Patterson Lake Homeowners Association President Tom Fisher, who represented the 41 permit holders with permanent homes along Patterson Lake. Today’s legislative hearing is the first step in getting committee approval for the legislation, which will enable it to move to the full Senate for consideration.  

“This legislation is the product of many years of hard work and constructive meetings among local, state and federal entities,” said Hoeven. “The stakeholders meticulously looked at all aspects of this land conveyance and came to a workable solution that will enable these homeowners to fully enjoy their homes and property.”  

“We, as homeowners, support Senate Bill S.440. With the bill’s passage, we too will have a chance to experience the American Dream of home ownership and security,” said Fisher in prepared testimony. 

In addition to enabling homeowners to purchase their lots, Hoeven’s bill also transfers ownership of all federal lands managed by the Dickinson Parks and Recreation Department to the Parks Department, including several holes at the Heart River Golf Course. The legislation would transfer ownership of all federal lands around Patterson Lake to private and local public ownership.

Hoeven and his staff held several meetings with the Patterson Lake Homeowners Association and Park Board officials, as well as other stakeholders in the community to get input on how to proceed with legislation.  

The Hoeven legislation will:

·        Provide a mechanism for the homeowners to purchase their lots at Patterson Lake from the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR)

·        Transfer all other lands currently managed by the Dickinson Park & Recreation Department to the Parks Department, at no cost, two years after the date of enactment of the bill 

·        Provide for the transfer of all unpurchased residential lots to the Parks Department, at no cost, 2 years after the date of enactment of the bill

·        Require the BOR to provide legal descriptions of all lands to be sold and 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

·        Provides that the revenue generated from the sale of the residential lots to be used by the secretary for carrying out the costs of the act and for ongoing/deferred maintenance of the dam in the Dickinson Reservoir. The BOR will retain responsibility for the dam and lake.

In December, Hoeven successfully included legislation in the Water Resources and Development Act that limited fee increases for permittees on Patterson Lake, Lake Tschida and the Jamestown Reservoir. The BOR had proposed increasing fees to more than twice the cost of current fees for permits on the three reservoirs; the Hoeven legislation prevents that increase and limits the total fee increase to no more than 33 percent over 5 years.