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The Codington County Commissioners narrowly approved an ordinance this week that will regulate the construction of shop style homes in the county.

On a vote of 3 to 2 with Commissioners Troy VanDusen and Charley Waterman opposed and Myron Johnson, Lee Gabel, and Brenda Hanten in favor, the commissioners adopted Ordinance 72 that will set out stricter standards for anyone in the rural areas of the county considering making their machine shop and home all part of the same dwelling. The ordinance requires that any building with poles have to be buried below the frost line, that shop-style home buildings must be designed more for living  than not and  that shop style home dwellings not include structures with vertical or corrugated steel siding.  The ordinance also states that shop style home dwellings are required to have more than one roof line.  Bob Fox who chairs the Codington County Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment, explained the concerns and need for the ordinance in Codington County’s agriculture district: 

Fox says that, between the tires, chemicals, and other contaminants in these buildings, it’s a toxic mess: 

He added that, “a house is a house and a shop is a shop and there should be no common wall between the two.”  He says people are not allowed to drive intoxicated and likewise they shouldn’t be allowed to live in areas that aren’t safe.  However several contractors who opposed the ordinance disagreed with him.  Casey Witt with Witt Construction is one of them:

He encouraged the commissioners not to take away freedoms from law-abiding citizens because no one wants to be told what they can or can’t do with their own place.  Zach Wipf with Wipf Construction also opposed the ordinance:

As the hearing closed the commissioners discussed the ordinance with Myron Johnson thanking the contractors for coming, but expressing disappointment they hadn’t attended previous meetings when the ordinance was being discussed.  Johnson, who again voted in favor of the ordinance, says he too lives on an acreage and understands the concerns of having more regulations and how nice these shop style homes can be. But he says that, after time these buildings can become unsafe:

Commissioner VanDusen said his biggest concern was safety of the homes occupants in case of a structure fire. After he was assured the firewalls were part of the structure to inhibit any potential for a shop fire to invade the home, he voted to oppose the ordinance. 

Commission Chairperson Brenda Hanten supported the ordinance saying it will help differentiate what is and isn’t a part of the living quarters on acreages and farms in the rural areas: 

Commissioner Charlie Waterman opposed the ordinance: 

Again the vote was 3-2 in favor of ordinance 72.