Lincoln County voters could determine fate of possible small meat-processing plant Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Voters in Lincoln County could decide the fate of a possible beef-processing facility that appears to meet plans by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, county voters can vote on whether about 69 acres north of Highway 18 on the Canton I-29 exit should be re-zoned from light industrial to general industrial, said county auditor Sheri Lund.

Eligible voters should “vote at the same location as they do for general election voting,” Lund said. The only exception is for Precincts 111 and 115 where the location has been moved from 1st Evangelical Church to Trinity Reformed Church.

For more information, voters can use the South Dakota Secretary of State’s voter information portal.

Although the vote is for a re-zone only, it is tied to a proposal about a 120-head-a-day beef processing facility in that location.

The county has not received an application for the processing facility, Lund said.

But East Dakota Beef Processing has been working with the county on a possible plant.

David Coburn, the chief executive officer of East Dakota Beef, said Tuesday’s public vote comes after the company had already received a 4-to-1 approval of a re-zoning request on May 4. The county commissioners approved the request to re-zone the area of land from light industrial to general industrial.

After the county board’s May 4 vote, a petition for a county-wide vote was submitted to the county, Lund said.

Minutes from the April 27 county board minute show that there were some Worthing and other county residents who had concerns about a possible beef-processing plant. Commissioners were scheduled to act on a re-zoning request on April 27, but tabled action until May 4.

The petition calling for a county-wide vote met the required threshold of 2,250 verified signatures, Lund said.

“We were able to certify 2,635 signatures,” Lund said. The county had 60 days from time the petition was submitted to schedule the vote, she said.

Coburn said as of Monday, East Dakota Beef was not pursing a project in the county but if the re-zone was approved by voters, it would consider a project.

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