SIOUX FALLS, SD — A ballot question that could ban new meat processing plants in Sioux Falls is moving forward.
The city council certified the language of the ballot question on Aug. 2 after the citizen-led ballot measure campaign committee, Smart Growth Sioux Falls, turned in over 6,000 signatures, roughly five percent of registered voters. It will now appear on the November ballot.
The ballot measure stemmed from opposition to a proposed pork processing plant that Nebraska-based Wholestone Farms announced last summer, with plans to build a $500 million pork processing facility. Wholestone Farms purchased land last year in northeast Sioux Falls.The property is zoned for that type of use.
Much like Smithfield Foods processing plant that is already located in Sioux Falls, Wholestone Farms will handle about 6 million hogs per year. Locally-owned Wholestone Farms says the plant’s design and odor will not be a hazard to the area’s quality of life. Wholestone projects the Sioux Falls plant will bring $1.5 billion in annual economic impact to Sioux Falls, along with 1,000 full time employees and $500 million anticipated capital investment.
But opponents to the proposed meat processing plant say there has been no serious attempt to study the potential impacts of the project, including odor, traffic, water quality, workforce and affordable housing. They note building the plant could have profound implications on the health, safety and quality of life of area residents, reasoning that with so much at stake, the matter should come before a public vote.
If approved by the voters, the following text would be added to the city’s code of ordinances:
*Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code to the contrary, no new Slaughterhouse may be constructed, or be permitted to operate, within the city limits.
*This section does not apply to any existing Slaughterhouse constructed and operating before the effective date of this section. This section does not apply to the expansion or alteration of any Slaughterhouse constructed and operating before the effective date of this section so long as such expansion or alteration occurs at the existing site.