Noem Bill Removes Public Notice Requirement For Special Permit Hearings At County Level

Jan 31, 2020

Governor Kristi Noem wants to cut red tape on the county zoning and appeal process for conditional use permits.

That’s the concept behind a bill she’s planning on introducing to the state legislature this session.

This bill will impact county commissions decisions on permits for Concentrated Feeding Operations—or animal feedlots, wind turbine projects, etc…

One section of the bill states if a project meets criteria it can be granted a certification through a ministerial act—an act taken by a county employee—or by a vote of the board of adjustment.

The next section states that no public notice or public hearing is required through the board of adjustment in the case of special permitted use processes. That board—when considering a project—will only investigate if the specified special use criteria are met.

Speaking at a press conference for the legislation at the Black Hills Stock Show, Noem says this bill will streamline the permitting process.

“We all know in some of these instances a lot of emotion has been involved in some of these county debates,” Noem says. “This is to add predictability, bring the facts to the surface and allow a project to have a fair process and clarity while they get that approval or disapproval as it may end up.”

The bill requires an appeal to the board of adjustment be made within 14 days of an approval. The board of adjustment must act on the appeal within 60 days.

It urges the appeals court to move quickly and also allows the court to award attorney’s fees, costs of the action and damages against those who bring an appeal and do not win the case. It also makes permits for projects valid for two years after the completion of appeals.

Governor Noem says setbacks for projects will remain a county decision. She says the language of the bill is still being drafted and will get introduced to the legislature soon.