Regarding the Jim Bye variance issue with the Yankton County Commission:

Destruction of the family farm in Yankton County: Dad owns the farm. The son wants to come back and help dad on the farm with his wife and kids. Dad wants to give his son 3.5 acres so the son can build his own house for his family. Yankton County obstacle is the 20 acre rule. Dad goes before the Yankton County Commissioners and requests the variance.

Yankton County Commissioners hear his request for the variance and deny it because there is not a super majority. (No voters: Loest and Healy — both farmers).

Healy states: no new variances until the 20 acre rule is either eliminated or reduced to a lower acreage amount.

What just happened here? Son does not get to establish a “base camp” for his family. No new home is built. Where do the son and his family live to help dad? Dad may live to 100 so what is his son supposed to do — rent/buy in town? You the reader go out and try to buy 20 acres ($5,000 an acre = $100,000 just for land. Now add a house and bring in the water, sewer, electricity.) What kind of income do you think the son would have to pay for a $300,000-$500,000 bank loan just so he can help dad farm? Is this right, fair or just?

Why should the Yankton County Commission try to destroy the prospect of developing our next generation of farmers in Yankton County?

What they need to do: Change the zoning to a 2 acre rule so our next generation of farmers has a place to live and raise their own family under their own roof and still maintain independence from the parents.

Source: Bye Variance request, Yankton County Commission, Aug. 4, 2020, 2:27 time on the video which can be seen on

(3) comments


Why doesn't dad give son 20 acres? I'm not for the 2 acre plan.


No to 2 acre AG residences. The reason for zoning is to have ordered development and Low-Density Residential already provides 2 acre lots.

Yankton resident

I believe Bye is barking up the wrong tree. If you do it for one you set a standard and open a pandora's box for every person who requests the same 2 acres. 20 Acres was the standard the ag industry wanted when the ordinance was adopted. Actually I believe they started at 40 acres for residential and compromised at 20 acres. That being said I guess all residential lots regardless of location aught to be 2 acres then as Mr. Bye suggests. I am beginning to wonder if certain individuals in the ag community really know what they want. Build wherever you want without platting or having a minimum of 20 acres, or a density requirement for housing. I cannot believe the ag community would be endorsing Mr. Byes request. Simple solution, Mr Bye give your son the required acreage and agree to continue farming whatever he doesn't need. Zoning for a reason, to protect ag, this appears to be an instance where ag is ready and willing to sacrifice for very personal and selfish reasons.

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