Yankton County has a lot of opportunity, but is it the right opportunity?

The current economic situation will require the U.S. government to spend millions of dollars to tide us through the COVID-19 situation, but business WILL again prosper. Surprisingly, even the number of new businesses created in 2020 increased. People are still buying homes and certain businesses are expanding. Our manufacturing segment remains strong.

The black eye of Yankton County, however, is our zoning. The County Commission has dilly-dallied around this for several years, making few changes to our outdated ordinances.

Article 5 concerning animal feeding operations remains unresolved. As Commissioner Don Kettering stated, “We all know they stink.” What stinks more is that a resolution with any sort of compromise has yet to be reached. Rural residents have no representation or protection. What we do have is rampant tribalism in Yankton County, pitting Big Ag producers against traditional farmers and city residents. We all pay taxes. We all want a healthy and clean environment, The vast majority don’t want Yankton County to become the “Iowa” of South Dakota.

Recently, Commissioner Dan Klimisch was removed from the Planning and Zoning Commission. As he was the strongest advocate for responsible farming practices, this has the appearance of “stacking the deck.” We are seeing a strong-arm tactic from one sector imposing their will upon the county, with little consideration of what the majority of county citizens feel. This is not acceptable.

Most would agree that we don’t want the county overrun with a cesspool of raw swine sewage. Protective setbacks with reasonable development needs to be encouraged. National and local events have distracted us from what is happening with the Yankton County Commission and the Zoning Commission. Their actions are not in the best interest of Yankton County. The time for complacency is over.

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