City of Watertown land rezoning request needs approval or lawsuit could ensue

WATERTOWN, S.D.(KXLG)- Watertown City Council had the first reading of the contended and denied by the Planning Commission Board petition to rezone land owned by the City from I-1 (Light Industrial District) to C-3 Highway Commercial District to complete a land exchange deal with Dollar General and continue moving forward with the new Street Facility building.

Public Works Director/City Engineer Heath VonEye.

A contentious discussion has revolved around extended 10th Avenue Southwest across SD Highway 20.

VonEye provided paperwork from the SD DOT, also attached to the article on, and a potential extension of 9th Avenue Southwest. He also reiterates the intention of the action before the Board and the Council.

Councilman Colin Paulsen commented he supports the rezoning and feels the Planning Commission Board would have approved this rezone request if the 10th Avenue extension wasn’t involved.

Councilman Glen Vilhauer inquired about access points from SD Highway 20 that would be eliminated if the concerns of the owner of Arrow Trucking were addressed.

It was also confirmed that the project did not qualify for a traffic count, but VonEye pulled up some statistics showing around 9,550 vehicles travel through that area daily. US Highway 212 and SD Highway 81 were the number one intersection with incidents; the 10th Avenue Southwest and SD Highway intersection was rated 18 out of 20.

Councilman Mike Danforth recalls discussing the road extension early on in the discussions. Danforth inquired about part of the contract, and City Attorney Lisa Carrico responded.

Since this is the first reading of the rezoning, no action could be taken. It will be up for a vote at the June 20, 2023 Council meeting. Councilman Vilhaur clarified it would take a “super majority” or five Councilmembers voting yes to approve.