Officials in Fargo-Moorhead are expected to approve the first home buyouts Thursday to make way for a proposed Red River flood diversion channel.
The $2 billion project hasn't been authorized or funded by Congress. But local officials say they need to consider cases of homeowners who are in limbo because of the project.
Clay County administrator Brian Berg heads the diversion hardship committee. He says there are people who need to leave their homes for medical reasons, but can't sell because of the proposed diversion project.
"Not knowing what's going to happen is the problem. Currently banks are saying no, we won't give loans on those properties and we're not even going to send an appraiser out because it's an unknown future," Berg said.
For now, local officials will only consider medical hardship cases for early buyouts.
About 400 homes in small towns and rural areas, mostly in North Dakota, will likely be purchased and removed if the Fargo-Moorhead diversion project is constructed.