Monday, June 29, 2009

Developers Try Pushing Ag Out in SD

Zoning commission considers livestock ordinance
By Tim Velder, Lawrence County Journal staff

DEADWOOD, SD -- The Lawrence County Planning and Zoning Commission went back to the drawing board after a January proposal to regulate livestock operations in the county was deemed unsuitable.

The new document has some changes from a January version that was pulled by the Planning & Zoning Commission. It includes a new chapter regulating concentrated animal feeding operations.

Planning and Zoning Commission chairman Rick Tysdal of Spearfish said the new version is a conglomeration of other similar ordinances taken from South Dakota counties that have large numbers of feedlots.

Tysdal said there is no language in the draft ordinance allowing for existing operations to be "grandfathered in." However, the county recognizes that the ordinance would create a new class of nonconforming properties. Those existing operations are not in the county's crosshairs, Tysdal said.

Eric Jennings is a member of the citizen committee that met regularly with the zoning officials this spring. He said the proposal will not be popular.

"I can't believe there is going to be a lot of people in favor of it," he said. "It affects a whole lot of people with only one horse." Read More

Many times it’s easy to feel insulated from some of the challenges that animal agriculture faces when you live in a rural area. Unfortunately the insulation is beginning to wear thin as evidenced by this draconian zoning ordinance. This winter a group of local ranchers worked together to develop a zoning ordinance that would mutually protect agriculture and the growth of housing developments in the county. That however wasn’t good enough for the planning and zoning commission which is entirely made up of real estate agents and land developers. They have made it quite clear that they wish to usher the families that farm and ranch in their county out the door. Tonight at St. Onge Livestock, a meeting will be held for all concerned landowners. If you own one head of livestock you will be affected. So come join us to find out how you can help.

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