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Subdivision study offers no solution to the housing shortage

Posted 3/04/09 (Wed)

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

Moving to a new community or adding to your family can be a stressful time, especially when you are in need of a new house and there aren’t any available.
McKenzie County residents and those wishing to relocate too McKenzie County know all to well the difficulties involved with a housing shortage. Western North Dakota including McKenzie County has been fighting with an ongoing housing shortage for more than a year, with no end in sight.
“Developers call me on a regular basis wanting to know what opportunities there are in Watford City for building,” says Gene Veeder, McKenzie County Job Development Authority director. “There is land in Watford City that can be built on, but without figures on what it would cost to put in services I don’t have much information to give those who call.”
In an effort to help Watford City attract developers and individuals who are interested in building homes, the Roughrider Fund, the Economic Development Committee and the Job Development Authority put together funding for a subdivision study to see what it would cost to put in services, roads, water and electricity on some un-plotted land in Watford City.
“We brought in an engineering firm to look at the lots and see what options are available,” adds Veeder. “We gave the information from that study to the city and it is now up to them what will happen next.”
The study will also be used as a tool to give to any potential developers or anyone else interested in building a house in Watford City.
“There are lots available in Watford City,” says Lowell Cutshaw, Watford City city engineer/administrator. “The problem we keep running into with existing lots is that they are too small for a modular home, and that is what most people looking to put new homes in town are looking for.”
At this point, the lots studied are not plotted and the city is not sure what their next step will be.
“According to the study it would cost around $52,000 per lot once services have been put on them,” states Cutshaw. “We just don’t see that as a marketable price, so as of now, we aren’t sure what the next step will be.”
Although the study did not bring any relief to the current housing shortage, those involved with it still feel that it was a good investment.
“Without the figures from this study all we could do was have meetings. Now that we know what we’re dealing with there is a lot more to work with,” says Veeder. “I think funding the study was well worth the investment.”