Williston's population has been growing in the past few years - and now the town itself has grown.
Some residents of the area - north of Williston - had protested, saying the annexation could mean a loss of liberties such as the ability to hunt or use fireworks.
Gary Brode was in Williston to find out what the annexation means for the city and its citizens.
Williston is making an effort to play catch-up with its surging population by annexing a large portion of land North of the city. The Northern Annexation will add 7.6 square miles, making it the largest in Williston's history. Areas of the annexation cover the North of 42nd Street to County Highway 6, one square mile on each side of Highway 2, the immediate area North of the Airport and West of the Little Muddy River. Williston Principal Planner believes the new land gives more opportunities for the long term growth of Williston.
(Donald Kress, Principal Planner, Williston) "Annexing an area into the city allows us to have a more complete plan for the extension of city services, the extension of infrastructure in a direct way. Not a piece here or a piece there. This will provide an area in which new growth can be directed."
The current population of Williston is estimated around 25,000. However, recent population projections done by North Dakota State University have city officials searching for more room to place the expected growth.
(Donald Kress, Principal Planner, Williston) "Population projections indicate that in the near future, Williston will have 44,000 people potentially. The annexation area would provide an area of growth to comfortably accommodate about 50,000 people at a reasonable residential density."
Northern Annexation impacts 520 property owners and a large number of crew camp residents. Deadline for public protest passed and the number of protesters fell short of what was needed to halt the annexation. But that did not stop dozens of both concerned citizens from attending the city commissioners meeting Thursday night to voice their opinions...
"I applaud you for having the guts to do it because as you can see, about half the people do not want to be in the city. But what choice do you have."
(Connie Hval, Williams County Resident) "That's what is hindering us. We already are settled. We have our sewer systems and have our wells or have our water or whatever. We don't need the city, we don't want the city."
"There's one question we ask, everyone in here probably has this question. How are we going to pay for this?"
Questions may remain - but the final decision was made in unanimous fashion. The annexation will go forward.
Gary Brode, KX News.
Williston officials say they have few options for how they may handle the crew camps in the annexed area.