Sioux Falls Development Foundation opposes Slaughterhouse Ordinance

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 3:02 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is speaking out about a controversial ordinance on the ballot this November.

The foundation’s board of directors is asking Sioux Falls residents to vote “NO” on an ordinance that would ban any new slaughterhouses from being built within city limits.

The move comes as some in the community are opposed to the new Wholestone Farms slaughterhouse that could be coming to town.

The 170-acre complex, from the Nebraska-based company, would be built just off I-229 on the east side of Sioux Falls.

The ballot measure in question would add language to the city code stating that “no new slaughterhouse may be constructed, or be permitted to operate, within city limits.”

Sioux Falls Development Foundation President and CEO Bob Mundt, says passing this ordinance would send the wrong message.

“We want all industries to be welcome here in Sioux Falls,” Mundt says.

Mundt referred back to a zoning plan that was voter-approved in 2014. In addition, he says the specific land that would be used for this project was properly rezoned in 2017.

“The company bought the property under the premise that it’s an I-2 district, they paid a lot of money for it under the premise that they were going to build a plant there, and so for us to change that last minute may not send a very good message to other industries, not just the processing industry, but the other industries that are looking to Sioux Falls,” Mundt says.

But, not all residents feel the same way. The group in favor of the ordinance, Smart Growth Sioux Falls, has taken their campaign ads to local TV.

That group has even gone as far as to file a lawsuit against Wholestone Farms and the City of Sioux Falls.

Former Sioux Falls City Councilor Christine Erickson is part of an opposing group: Sioux Falls Open For Business.

“This (ordinance) sets a terrible precedent statewide and citywide, saying, ‘hey, come to South Dakota, we’re open for business, but only if we like your industry,’” Erickson said.

She says the idea of not allowing this new company into town would be a step back for the community.

“I really find it ironic that until now, there hasn’t been opposition,” Erickson said. “I don’t know where they were four and five years ago when they could have tried to have an influence... and that’s problematic to me as well.”

Representatives from Smart Growth Sioux Falls were unable to do an interview with Dakota News Now, but they sent a statement saying:

“The only endorsement that matters at this point is from the people of Sioux Falls. They will decide whether or not to allow new slaughterhouses within city limits with their vote. When it comes to attracting future business to Sioux Falls, the last place quality companies will want to invest is in an industrial disaster zone with foul odors, contaminated water, and hundreds of semi-trucks with live animals jamming the roads.”

Robert Peterson, Treasurer of the Smart Growth Sioux Falls campaign.

The Slaughterhouse Ordinance will go before Sioux Falls voters during the general election on Nov. 8.