South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem recently proposed a bill to streamline county zoning and permit appeal processes.
I think the bill would contain some welcome changes.
“South Dakota’s local zoning and appeals process is impacting too many good rural development projects,” according to a newsletter from the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association.
“Projects are being delayed by an appeal process that can take years, which at the very least cost projects time and money, and at the very worst can kill them,” the SDCA newsletter said.
The bill Noem proposed keeps local zoning decisions local but levels the playing field for rural development projects in a variety of ways, including:
- Approving Conditional Use Permits by a majority vote.
- Improving the appeals process and appeal timeline.
- Allowing the courts to award attorneys’ fees and damages against unsuccessful appellants.
- Creating an appeal bond for challengers.
- Making the appeals process tougher for bad actors and addressing frivolous claims.
The bill, which has not yet been filed, will make the process easier for rural projects to receive conditional use permits, facilitating investment and job creation in rural South Dakota, according to SDCA.