Highway sign rules set for wineriesPIERRE — The state Transportation Commission decided Thursday that farm wineries don’t belong on the informational and directional signs at highway interchanges and rural intersections in South Dakota that direct motorists to camping, lodging, food and gas.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — The state Transportation Commission decided Thursday that farm wineries don’t belong on the informational and directional signs at highway interchanges and rural intersections in South Dakota that direct motorists to camping, lodging, food and gas.
The Daugaard administration opposed the attempt to add farm wineries to that list of motorist services. The change was requested by state Sen. Eldon Nygaard, R-Vermillion, and other owners of farm wineries.
A compromise was negotiated instead, clarifying the criteria under which farm wineries can get space on other tourist-oriented directional signing along highways. They also will be allowed to use a grape-cluster logo on those signs.
Bill Nevin, the commission’s attorney, said larger sign facing and stronger posts might become necessary for signs that show the logo. Fees paid by businesses for the signs will need to be adjusted, he said.
Nevin explained the conclusion by the governor’s office: Adding farm wineries would go beyond the commission’s legal authority, and the change wouldn’t be in the interest of the traveling public.
Jim Schade, of Volga, chairman of the South Dakota Wine Growers Association, said the dissent.
“We think all tourists should have to stop at a farm winery and buy wine,” Schade joked.
Chairman Dick Gregerson of Sioux Falls said that one of the commissioners who wasn’t there, Bob Benson, of Winner, had called Gregerson to relay his opinion that alcoholic beverages shouldn’t be advertised along roadways.
The five commissioners present for the meeting agreed to the revised rule changes on a voice vote.
Commissioner Don Roby, of Watertown, asked whether there would be more such requests from other types of businesses. Nevin said farm wineries already were eligible to be on the tourism-oriented directional signs but the changes make that clear.