As the good people of Yankton County strive to understand the difficult issues related to zoning, I would encourage everyone to please stick to the facts.
The latest craziness was the statement last week at the Irene meeting that farmers need state certification to raise a single chicken. Under no circumstances would one chicken ever require a conditional use permit let alone state certification on a yearly basis. To claim that as the reason to break away from Yankton County is absolutely ridiculous, false and dishonest.
Our county commission and planning commission have been working over the last year to update our zoning that was put in place in 2003 and updated in 2006. Our proposed changes will make some of the livestock requirements less restrictive, but our efforts have been placed on hold because of two record flooding events, and legal challenges to our zoning ordinance.
The same attorney who prepared the legal challenge to our zoning ordinance is also the attorney who is representing out-of-compliance CAFO owners. Now he shows up at a meeting designed to further split the county. I believe it is important that we make good decisions that work for all the people of our county — and not be bullied or intimidated by a few individuals and organizations who have very vested interest in the zoning process.
I greatly appreciated the Press & Dakotan’s recent editorial (Jan. 7) in which the editors noted that there are people on all sides of the zoning issue who reside both within and outside the city limits of Yankton. This is not the urban-rural split that some want to create for their own purposes. We all want economic development. We all want our farmers to succeed. We all want clean air and water. The challenge is to balance all those important goals.
Over this past year, I have appreciated the numerous telephone calls, emails, and conversations I have had with citizens. The support and encouragement from so many people is humbling. The citizens of Yankton County are intelligent folks who see through the appalling attempts to distort the facts for the benefits of a few. The truth is that the vast majority of our neighbors want to protect the land, air, and water quality of our community. They want to keep Yankton County a wonderful and prosperous place for future generations.
Moving forward, I challenge everyone, myself included, to do more to bring our community together. I ask that you become a part of the solution to these issues, and not part of the problem. Let us discuss the facts in a respectful manner and do what is right for our entire community. Complaining without offering a better solution helps nobody. Stirring up controversies with mistruths and fabrications is not helpful.
Finally, let us heed the words of wisdom from former Yankton County Commission Chairperson Marian Gunderson, who said: “We can disagree without being disagreeable.”
If you have a question about Yankton County, I am just a phone call away (605-857-3799).