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Watford City is bursting at the seams

Posted 10/27/10 (Wed)

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

As developers and individuals work to end a housing shortage in Watford City and McKenzie County, it has gotten a little difficult to determine where the city ends and the county begins. As of now, some businesses and subdivisions aren’t sure which one they will fall into either.
“We have a lot of building going on right now,” says Lowell Cutshaw, Watford City city engineer/administrator. “From businesses to subdivisions and everything in-between, there is a lot happening around the edge of town.”
The city has received annexation applications for more than 230 acres surrounding Watford City.
“The annexation applications aren’t for one large area, they cover specific areas on all sides of town,” adds Cutshaw. “We have a subdivision on the north side and a business and trailer park on the west side, plus businesses on the south side, and we plan to annex the golf course and airport on the east side.”
One advantage of being annexed  into the city is that subdivisions or businesses don’t have to come up with their own means for water or sewer because they become eligible to use the city’s services.
“If the annexation applications are approved, the areas involved would become part of the city and be allowed to use all of our city services from police to garbage,” says Cutshaw. “The big pull for most of them is being able to connect with the city sewer and water.”
Currently, Cutshaw estimates that the city is around 900 acres with between 1,700 and 1,800 people using the water and sewer services.
“We have a company working on a study to see how many people our sewer and water facilities can handle,” comments Cutshaw. “However, we have a preliminary estimate that it can handle around 2,500.”
In addition to sewer and water, if approved, the annexation would also require more work from public works and the Watford City Police Department.
“With the possible annexation and the added housing to Watford City, we budgeted for more employees,” says Cutshaw. “In the 2011 budget, we included a building inspector, two new police officers and one new public works employee. Hopefully, that will help to lighten the load some.”
Even without the annexation, Watford City is still growing. According to Cutshaw, there are 36 town homes, five efficiency apartments, one stickbuilt home and three manufactured homes either recently completed or under construction right now within the city limits.
“We have a lot of housing going on in town right now and we still have lots available for more,” adds Cutshaw. “So far for 2010, we have issued 125 residential and 15 commercial building permits, compared to 10 commercial and 19 residential in 2008.”
Although the city is very busy, Cutshaw is confident that the city departments will continue to keep above water, even as things get busier.