6th generation farmer fears Brandon will target farm for annexation

Local News

BRANDON, S.D. (KELO) — The owners of a 143-year-old farm on the outskirts of Brandon are worried about their land. They believe the city of Brandon, which is rapidly growing, wants to annex their farm into the city. The Elofson family says they are looking for answers from the city, but so far, communication has been limited.

Like a lot of towns surrounding Sioux Falls, the city of Brandon is growing. Some landowners around Brandon welcome annexation into the city.

It means paved streets, lighting, fire protection, and sewer, and water. But also includes higher taxes, zoning changes, and more rules to follow.

Annexation means development. Dave Elefson and his son Jess, are farmers, not developers.

“My great-great-grandparents came from Sweden, they walked from Sioux City to here with a cow and that’s how it all started,” said David.

And that’s why signs like this one pepper their land east of Brandon.

Both men say it’s the uncertainty that bothers them.

“We have zero information other than what comes out of from the developers, the developers all tell us that they’re being told that we are all getting annexed whether we like it or not because Brandon has to grow and that’s their only option,” said Jess.

The Elofsons say a farm cannot exist within a city and they say there is plenty of land in every other direction.

“If Brandon wants to grow, they can grow south they can grow west they can grow north, where there is nobody, I mean if they want the land to develop go take it, it all for sale why come after people who have no intention of selling their land, and a lot of the times we are told on well you can just sell your land and you will make a bunch of money and these people don’t realize it isn’t about money this is our livelihood this is what our family has done for 7 generations,” said Jess.

As for the City of Brandon, KELOLAND News talked with Mayor Jim Heinitz, Council member Dave Kull, and city administrator Bryan Read by phone today. They tell us they are waiting for an annexation study which will help determine the direction of any future annexation plans. They expect that study will be presented to the city council in late November or early December. Once that happens they will meet with property owners to talk about the results.

The annexation study is being done by the Southeast Council of Governments which helps local governments with planning and development in a six-county region.

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