County Keeps Right-of-Way Rules

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Ward County has put off changes to a right-of-way policy that has drawn criticism from some rural residents in recent months.

Jim Olson is live near Minot with details of where the tug-of-war over property rights stands as of today.

County Commissioners voted 3-to-2 against a proposal to shrink the amount of property landowners must donate to the county alongside township and county roads.

Some landowners have balked at the rules that, they say, requires them to essentially give away a large chunk of their private land without compensation.

The right-of-way issue has been a thorny one in several area counties – and Ward County Engineer Dana Larsen reported on a meeting with officials from those counties about the differences in how it’s handled.

Commissioner John Fjeldahl supported rolling back the right-of-way borders immediately, but a majority on the commission disagreed, saying the county instead needs to undertake a long, expensive re-working of it’s comprehensive plan that would address the issue – and many others.

(Jim Rostad, Ward County Commissioner) “I really think we need to, whether this year or next, plan in our budget to have a comprehensive plan made up that represents all of Ward County.”

(John Fjeldahl, Ward County COmmissioner) “Let’s stop this for a while, bring this input together and maybe this is going to  be it, maybe it’s going to be something different.”

Fjeldahl and Alan Walter supported the smaller right-of-way requirements, but the other three commissioners disageed, but promised to bring in people from all sides of the issue as part of the process of developing a new comprehensive plan for the county, something that’s likely to be included in the county budget in the next year or two.

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