Lincoln County landowners, Department of Corrections headed to court over men's prison site
Litigation comes as South Dakota plans new correctional facility on farm ground near Worthing
The state of South Dakota's ability to site a new prison in Lincoln County without consent of local government planners and the process it used to select the planned location are being challenged in court.
An organized group of landowners near the Department of Corrections selected site for a men's prison near Worthing — calling itself Neighbors Opposed to Prison Expansion (NOPE) — is asking the Lincoln County Court to determine whether the state should be subject to county zoning regulations. And in a filing submitted to the court Friday, NOPE also wants a ruling on whether the process used by the DOC to choose the rural agricultural land for the site was legal.
“The State's selection process did not involve any prior notice, forum or opportunity for hearing on the part of the Plaintiffs or other landowners or residents of the County,” wrote NOPE attorney Arvid Swanson in the 28-page lawsuit. “DOC has emphatically underscored its avowed position that the State's selection of and that construction, occupation and use of the Farm for a new prison is also one unencumbered by the County's Plan and (Lincoln County Zoning Ordinance), as the state asserts ‘zoning does not apply to state property.’”
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