Lincoln County landowners file lawsuit over new men’s prison

A group of Lincoln County landowners has filed a lawsuit against the state of South Dakota and the Department of Corrections over the site of a new men’s prison.

The suit outlines the landowners’ arguments against using 320-acres of farmland between Harrisburg and Canton. It questions if the state is subject to local planning and zoning laws. The DOC maintains zoning ordinances and land use approvals are not required for state-owned property.

A 1977 Attorney General opinion states zoning regulations do not generally apply to state-owned land.

The landowners argue the state Supreme Court has not adopted that rule but instead looks at balancing the interests of the state and local governments.

State Representative Karla Lems of Canton says they also question if the site selection process followed by the state was legal.


November 8, 2023