STURGIS, S.D. — Officials in the South Dakota city of Sturgis are calling upon the state to take action against the incorporation of the Buffalo Chip Campground of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally fame.
The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of the incorporation of Buffalo Chip, nearly three years after it became a municipality, the Black Hills Pioneer reported .
“We are disappointed in the ruling,” said Mark Carstensen, mayor of nearby Sturgis. “We thought when this finally came out, it would be over.”
The annual Sturgis rally draws hundreds of thousands of people to the area, and the campground hordes of those visitors. The city of Sturgis, area landowners and the South Dakota Municipal League challenged a 2015 vote to incorporate Buffalo Chip. Meade County Circuit Judge Jerome Eckrich ruled in May 2016 that Buffalo Chip shouldn’t be a city, Eckrich said that the census survey and map submitted by the Buffalo Chip Campground were not legal, and that people who voted to approve the town did not actually live at addresses where they were registered to vote.
“We all know the people who voted in the election for incorporation didn’t live there,” Carstensen said.
The Supreme Court ended up vacating Eckrich’s ruling, saying the lower court did not have subject matter jurisdiction and that any action challenging the incorporation must be brought by the state.
Buffalo Chip attorney Kent Hagg said he’s unsure whether there will be more litigation surrounding the matter, but he’s confident Buffalo Chip will retain its status as a town.
“The state has had its opportunity from day one to step in, and they have not,” he said. “Regardless of how Buffalo Chip became a municipality, the fact that it has existed as a political subdivision makes it a de facto municipality. Buffalo Chip has operated as a municipality for well over two years, and as such, it would be against case law to find against us.”
Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, http://www.bhpioneer.com