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Dave Olson, Published April 27 2010

Flood buyout home can move to subdivision

Over the objections of residents in a south Moorhead subdivision, the Moorhead City Council on Monday approved a permit that will allow a home that was part of the city’s flood buyout program to be moved to the subdivision.

The Moorhead Planning Commission earlier gave unanimous approval to a request from Brendan Muldoon, who asked for permission to relocate a flood buyout home from 28 River Oaks Point in south Moorhead to 3835 15th St. S., a lot located in a subdivision called Johnson Farms.

According to information provided by the city, the home has been inspected and is in good condition.

A group of residents living in the subdivision wrote a letter to city officials stating they are opposed to moving flood buyout homes to their neighborhood.

The letter stated that restrictive covenants, which residents in that area have agreed to along with their developer, state that no buildings will be moved from other locations to any lot in the development.

The letter also stated that if flood buyout homes move to Johnson Farms, it would significantly reduce the value of all homes in the area.

The letter was reinforced Monday night by comments from several homeowners and an attorney, Ryan McCamy, who said he represented Johnson Farms property owners.

McCamy said when people bought their homes, they did so with the covenants in minds.

While he said covenants may not be something the city can enforce, McCamy told the council they are not something “the city should just turn a blind eye to.”

McCamy said the city’s desire to see flood buyout homes located elsewhere in the city is valid, but added, “Put ’em into neighborhoods where they fit.”

Information gathered by the city for Monday’s City Council meeting indicated that the home Muldoon plans to move has an assessed value of $253,600.

According to the city, the average building value of single-family homes in Johnson Farms is about $234,500.

Council Member Dan Hunt said the house in question may be 16 years old, but he said it could pass for a freshly built house. “I look at this house, and it looks new to me,” Hunt said.

Steve Iverson, a representative for the Johnson Farms development who supported the permit request, said at one point there was a plan to pursue a blanket moving permit for up to 12 flood buyout homes, but he said that has been dropped.

Whether more requests for moving permits will be pursued remains to be seen, he said Monday.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555