PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Supreme Court has refused to overturn a township board’s decision against two landowners in Marshall County.

The state’s high court on Thursday publicly released its 29-page decision in McLaen v. White Township.

Farmers Steven and Matthew McLaen wanted to install culverts under a township road and use the road ditch to carry water off their land. Steven McLaen thought he and his son had permission in 2015 from David Seibel, who at the time was on the White Township board of supervisors.

The McLaens started the project in 2019, after Seibel no longer was a supervisor, and found out the township board’s current supervisors didn’t like what they were doing. The township board denied the McLaens a drainage permit.

The McLaens took the township board to court, but Circuit Judge Richard Sommers ruled in favor of the township board. The Supreme Court unanimously upheld his decision.

Justice Patricia DeVaney wrote, “The McLaens essentially ask this court to conduct a de novo review of the township’s decision. However, this court is without authority to substitute our judgment for that of the township when we review non-quasi-judicial actions.”