Zone defense County questions property description The Buffalo Run Winery is rising above a bluff west of Vermillion thanks to the efforts of construction crews. The project may need additional attention from local government officials because of errors in an extraterritorial zoning ordinance. by David Lias The Clay County Commission found itself dealing with a virtual alphabet soup of property zoning designations Tuesday.
At issue is whether the site of the Buffalo Run Winery, being constructed on the western outskirts of Vermillion, has been zoned properly.
According to Commissioner Paul Hasse, there is a problem.
He noted that property in the three mile limit surrounding Vermillion can be zoned A-1 (agriculture), B-1 (business), I-1 (industrial) and as a flood plain.
On Oct. 18, 1999, the Vermillion City Council agreed with a decision made by the city and county planning commissions last Oct. 12. Those bodies voted unanimously to change the zoning of the proposed site of Buffalo Run Winery from A-1 to B-1.
The building that will house the winery, a bed and breakfast and banquet facilities is rising out of a bluff located on West Main Street. The structure's site is outside of the city limits, but within Vermillion's extraterritorial zone.
Hasse said a winery can't be operated at that location under its present zoning.
"A liquor place is not permitted in B-1," he said. "The city and county planning boards met and rezoned that property. It hasn't been rezoned properly."
Before owner Eldon Nygaard can serve wine at Buffalo Run Winery, he will also have to obtain a liquor license. Such licenses can be granted by municipalities, not counties.
"He wants to get a liquor license in Wakonda, keep it 90 days, transfer it and then have his winery annexed into the city of Vermillion," Commissioner Jerry Sommervold said.
"Under B-1, wineries aren't permitted," Hasse said. "They're permitted under I-1."
"He hasn't annexed into the city because he doesn't have the liquor license locked in," Sommervold said. "I think it should be classified as a winery. The bed and breakfast is secondary."
Nygaard wasn't present at the meeting.
David Wherry, Clay County's zoning administrator, told commissioners that the problem lies with a flawed ordinance.
"It (the zoning) was passed by the Vermillion City Council," he said. "The problem is, they followed the extraterritorial zoning ordinance, and it's wrong.
"If it was done right," Wherry added, "it may have been zoned I-1."
The county has been in communication with SECOG (South East Council Of Governments) seeking advice on how to properly word the ordinance.
"But who makes the decision if it's a bed and breakfast or a winery?" Sommervold asked. "I don't think we should take away anything that's been given to this man."
Hasse noted on a couple occassions that jeopardizing the winery was not his intent when he began the zoning discussion.
"I really think this has been done wrong, and I want to see the business succeed," Hasse said.
The commission took no action, opting instead to wait for more information on the extraterritorial zoning ordinance.
A law approved by the South Dakota Legislature and signed by Gov. William Janklow earlier this year amends a state regulation.
The change makes it possible for the holder of a farm winery license to also hold on the premises where the wine is produced an on-sale license issued pursuant to related state laws.