Lake Madison residents react to little-known county ordinance regarding camper use

Local News

LAKE COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — Camper use ramps up around this time of year with people heading on vacations to campgrounds nationwide, but using one while not at a campsite is raising some controversy.

Social media posts are shining light on a Lake County ordinance that many people didn’t even know existed.

The ordinance prohibits people from occupying their camper or recreational vehicles outside of a campground. Mike Siedschlaw has lived near Lake Madison for 44 years.

“I feel it’s my property, my house, my camper and if I want to let guests stay in that so we have places to sleep, it’s no different than if they put out a tent. I mean, that’s my business. That’s nobody else’s business,” he said.

Lake County’s Planning and Zoning Officer says the ordinance has gone undetected for many years. Siedschlaw says nobody he knows has been affected by it.

“I know of no one that has received a ticket or where there has been a complaint on this situation. I was just informed by, be careful what you do, you could get in trouble,” he said.

People who are opposed to the rule say it in infringes on property rights and there should be nothing wrong with letting visitors use a camper for a short time outside of campgrounds.

“I think people should be able to have their camper on their own property and if someone is staying in it for a few days, I don’t see the problem with it. I’m surprised that this ordinance even exists, really,” Lake Madison resident Annie Bechtold said.

Bechtold offered a solution.

“They could put a time frame on it or, you know, anybody who does it to excess like three campers or whatever, but I think that would be the thing to do,” she said.

KELOLAND News reached out to the Lake County Zoning and Planning officer and the county commission Wednesday, but they both declined to comment.

A link to the Lake County Zoning Ordinance can be found here.

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