Success in the County Site Analysis Program
Monday, July 21, 2014
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
South Dakota has long been a state that values local control. From cities, townships and counties to fire protection, rural ambulance and soil districts, local government officials serve their neighbors quickly and efficiently.
In fact, South Dakota has more local units of government per capita than any other state except North Dakota.
Using local control as the starting point, the state has created the County Site Analysis Program (CSAP), a proactive planning tool that uses data to help counties identify sites conducive to agriculture-related development. The CSAP was developed and implemented by the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the First District Association of Local Governments and Development District III.
The CSAP combines local permitting requirements, infrastructure availability and local zoning ordinance information to rate locations on their ability to host a variety of economic development projects, including manufacturing, commodity processing and livestock-related enterprises. County commissions, planning and zoning boards, and landowners then use this data to make well-informed decisions.
Investments in agriculture are vital to the long-term sustainability of our communities, but development must be done responsibly. Not every new project is a good fit in every location, so the CSAP also helps county commissioners and landowners determine where they feel projects fit most appropriately.
Since its launch a year ago, 30 county commissions have passed resolutions requesting the CSAP in their counties. In counties where the analysis is performed, local leaders use its data in their comprehensive planning efforts; landowners have concrete information outlining options for their land; and agribusinesses learn where their investments will be welcomed.
I am proud of this program and am pleased that the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) recently awarded the CSAP an “Innovation Award” for its novel approach to rural economic development. Todd Kays with the First District Association of Local Governments will be accepting this award at the NADO annual conference in Denver this August.
The success of the County Site Analysis Program is just beginning. Our dedicated local officials are using data-driven resources to make the best possible decisions for their friends and neighbors, and I look forward to continuing this partnership. It truly represents the best in state and local governments working together.