Some confusion surrounding the property rights for construction of the Diversion Project’s Inlet Control Structure surfaced this afternoon after the property owner alleged improper activity on his property. Construction has been underway since April on the Diversion Project Inlet Control Structure south of Horace, North Dakota. The Cass County Joint Water Resource District (CCJWRD) previously acquired the requisite right of way needed for the Inlet Control Structure Project in accordance with North Dakota law. Right of way was required from three property owners to accommodate construction; which broke ground in April of 2017. After several months of negotiations between CCJWRD representatives and these landowners, the parties ultimately could not arrive at mutually-acceptable terms.
The Diversion Authority and CCJWRD have implemented a robust process for securing property rights for the Project. The process includes securing appraisals to determine the fair market value of the right of way necessary, then utilizing the appraisal amount to commence negotiations. In this case, CCJWRD representatives commenced negotiations with these three landowners in January of 2016 and continued for several months. Project sponsors had an obligation to secure land rights for the Project contractors before a construction contract could be advertised for bids. Because CCJWRD and the landowners could not reach mutually-acceptable terms, CCJWRD initiated eminent domain proceedings under North Dakota law. CCJWRD followed the applicable North Dakota statutes to acquire the right of way necessary to accommodate construction of the Inlet Control Structure Project. The District Court recognized there are three prerequisites to the immediate acquisition of right of way, and acknowledged CCJWRD has met all three.
The contractor is proceeding with construction of the Inlet Control Structure Project on all three properties where the Inlet Control Structure will ultimately be located.