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Hoeven introduces lot purchase bill for Jamestown Reservoir

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., has introduced legislation that would let cabin owners on Jamestown Reservoir buy the lots on which their cabins sit from the federal government.

The legislation would also transfer all remaining U.S. Bureau of Reclamation lands around the reservoir to state and local government ownership, according to information from Hoeven’s office.

The legislation would establish a process to make 71 residential lots on the reservoir available for sale for five years. All other lands, including two campgrounds, a park and unpurchased residential lots, would be transferred to the Stutsman County Park Board and North Dakota Game and Fish at no cost.

The legislation would require 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.

The Bureau of Reclamation would have to provide legal descriptions of all properties to be transferred. The bureau would also be responsible for Jamestown Dam and the reservoir, and all revenue from the sale of residential lots would be used to cover the costs of Hoeven’s legislation and any costs for deferred maintenance on the dam.

Last year Congress approved the Water Resources and Development Act that limited fee increases for cabin lots on Patterson Lake, Lake Tschida and Jamestown Reservoir. Hoeven supported the act, as did North Dakota’s other congressional representatives, Democrat U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, and Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer.