North Dakota Town’s Levee Project Won’t Help Protect Some Homes

December 12, 2017

A $4 million flood protection project in Bismarck, North Dakota, set for next year will affect nearly two dozen properties that won’t be protected by the levee that’s being built.

The Burleigh County Water Resource District’s project will damage driveways, sprinkler systems and mailboxes on 22 Fox Island properties not protected by the levee, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

“We’re leaving 22 homes unprotected. That doesn’t make sense to me,” said Burleigh County Commissioner Jim Peluso.

Following Missouri River flooding in 2011, the project was approved last fall to safeguard the area against a 20-foot flood. The work involves raising a road and constructing a levee in a southwest Bismarck subdivision called Gallatin Loop.

The Legislature has committed $2.8 million to complete the project. The County Commission will provide $920,000 in yearly installments. Fox Island residents with property inside the levee will pay the balance.

Most of the homeowners outside of the levee live on Gallatin Drive. They said they weren’t properly considered in the process and that their property values will decrease.

Several residents have asked the County Commission to consider an option that would provide all residents with flood protection and minimize property damage.

Greg Larson, chairman of the county’s water resource district, claims that the 22 property owners signed a petition opting out of the project on July 31, 2012. “That’s why they’re out, because they asked to be,” Larson said.

Resident Tim Clausnitzer said that’s not the case. “I didn’t opt out of flood control,” Clausnitzer said. “I voted against that option, then later found out we were out of the whole thing.”

Larson said the project is approaching final design and applying for permits. He said they expect to start and complete the project in 2018.

The commission recommended that the water board and residents outside the levee come together to discuss the issue.

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