Lincoln County hosts meeting to discuss 20-year plan

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 9:28 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Lincoln County is continuing to experience growth and urbanization. Every 20 years, county officials develop a plan to account for future development.

An important part of the plan is to identify what the future is for Lincoln County and get input from those whom it would impact.

“You don’t have a plan if you don’t have citizens guiding what you want to achieve in the future,” said Toby Brown, Lincoln County’s Planning Director.

Brown is one of the people working on the comprehensive plan.

“The comprehensive plan is essentially a snapshot of where the county is today, but includes the goal policies and vision for what the future of Lincoln County is going to be,” explained Brown.

Tom Berry with Stantec is working as a consultant for the county in developing this plan.

“Without a plan, you don’t really know what’s moving forward,” said Berry. “With growth coming, it gets expensive, there are transportation concerns, there are land use concerns, there are tax concerns. As you make a plan, you can then make informed decisions towards better governance and better regulation.”

The last time a plan was created was in 2005.

“Since that time, the county has almost doubled in population,” said Brown. “And so this plan is even more important than it was back then.”

Brown says a key point is finding a middle ground between the rapid urbanization the north side of the county has seen, and the southern part, which remains mostly agricultural.

“What is the future of Lincoln County?” asked Brown. “Is it rapid urbanization, is it agricultural, and how do we balance all of that in between?”

Which is why they are calling on the communities to provide input. This was the second kickoff meeting in developing a plan, another was held in Harrisburg Wednesday night.

“This is a dynamic process,” said Brown. “Lincoln County is a dynamic county. Really, what we want the public to do is engage in this process and share their ideas. You don’t have to be a professional planner, we just want to know what it is you want to see Lincoln County be in the future.”

Paper community surveys were given to those who attended Thursday’s meeting. An identical electronic survey is available on the Lincoln County website for those who couldn’t make it. Officials say this will help shape any updates to the goals and policies section of the plan.