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Denied: County Commission rejects JSDC proposal to purchase land in Spiritwood Township

The Stutsman County Commission rejected a proposal from the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. to purchase additional land in Spiritwood Township for development during its regular meeting Tuesday.

The vote was 3-2 to deny the purchase. Commissioners Dave Schwartz, Craig Neys and Denny Ova voted in favor of denying the purchase while Commissioners Dale Marks and Mark Klose voted in favor of completing the deal.

Schwartz said the cost of the land was too high when he moved to deny the purchase. The proposed purchase price is $6,000 per acre or about $2 million for the 320-acre parcel.

The land is adjacent to Spiritwood Energy Park Association land. Construction of a rail spur from the SEPA rail loop, planned for construction this summer, could have provided rail access to the property, said Connie Ova, CEO of the JSDC.

Ova had furnished a memo containing suggested ideas for the property including annexing the property into the city of Jamestown and the Jamestown Public School District.

“The possibility of annexing property into Jamestown is a stretch,” she said. “The idea has been thrown out partly because the majority of the money used to develop the park is from the city sales tax.”

Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen said the idea of annexing the property into Jamestown was new.

“That was something that was not discussed at the (JSDC) Board of Directors meeting,” she said. “It has never been discussed at the city and it did not originate at the city.”

Schwartz said he had received a number of calls on the annexation issue.

“They feel this is disrupting the whole community,” he said, speaking of Spiritwood. “They feel expanding the SEPA park is a big downfall to them.”

Clarence Daniels, chairman of the Spiritwood Township Board of Supervisors, agreed.

“We’re the one enduring all the development out there,” he said. “Why would the city come and take the tax away.”

Casey Bradley, county auditor and chief operating officer, said the land did not meet the criteria for annexing into the Jamestown Public School District because there were no school-age children living on the land in question and it was not contiguous to other property in the Jamestown Public School district.

In other business, the commission unanimously approved the conditional use permit and zoning variations for the Courtenay Wind Farm.

“I was quite impressed with the preparation of the wind farm people,” Marks said. “By and large, everyone there is real excited.”

The permit passed on a 4-0 vote with Schwartz abstaining because a power line associated with the project crossed his property.

The commission also approved a Flex pace interest buy down for Buchanan Ag with an 80 percent county, 20 percent city split. The buy down will reduce the interest paid on an expansion loan. The funds are repaid at the end of the loan term.

Buchanan Ag is a farm input supplier operating at Buchanan.  Ova said the business has seen remarkable growth and is expanding its warehouse space.

The commission also approved new jobs training funds for Dakota Spirit AgEnergy on a 90 percent city, 10 percent county split.

At the beginning of the meeting, Chad Jackson was introduced to the commission as the new director of the Stutsman County Correctional Center. Jackson has been employed as a captain at the James River Correctional Center.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at