SD farm wineries will gain signsOther businesses face loss of their signage, South Dakota DOT says.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — On its third try, the state Transportation Commission finished revising rules for tourism-oriented directional signs Thursday.
The commissioners will allow farm wineries to be eligible and established a Jan. 1, 2015, date to begin removal of signs that don’t conform to the rules.
Approximately 200 signs for about 100 businesses throughout South Dakota will need to be taken down, according to state Department of Transportation officials.
The signs have been erected along state highways by DOT. Under the new version of the rules, they will be allowed only for a rural business that is tourism oriented.
In the past, DOT provided signs if a business met either requirement, but that interpretation has since been discovered to be in conflict with federal regulations.
The new regulations will head next to the Legislature’s rules review committee for final clearance. Its members meet Dec. 19 for the final time this year.
The legislative panel in April sent back for further work by the commission a set of proposed changes that would have made farm wineries eligible for the tourism oriented directional signs.
The new version of the rules as adopted by the commission Thursday provides specific definitions of the eligible types of business. Farm wineries would become eligible if the legislators agree.
Tourism-oriented businesses are listed in the new rules as a lodging establishment, campground, visitor attraction, recreation service, recreational equipment rental service, a visitor-intensive business as defined in state law for tax purposes, or an agritourism business.
The definition in the new rules for an agri-tourism business is a business that offers activities that occur on a farm and are related to the agricultural use of the farm site.
Those include on-site sales of agricultural products directly to consumers, such as roadside farm markets, “pick your own” operations, “you-cut” Christmas trees, farm wineries and educational activities and tours.
The rules as adopted Thursday are the third set considered by the commission. Sam Tidball, of Fort Pierre, was one of the three commissioners who served on a special subcommittee to consider comments from the public and business operators. He said the additional changes made to the latest version seem to be in order.