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Judge: South Dakota can pursue case against western town

August 9, 2018

STURGIS, S.D. (AP) — A judge has ruled the state can move forward with efforts to challenge the incorporation of a western South Dakota town that started as a campground for motorcyclists.

Fourth Circuit Judge Gordon Swanson denied a motion Tuesday filed by the town of Buffalo Chip to dismiss the court challenge, the Black Hills Pioneer reported.

Swanson ruled that the state “beyond a doubt has the authority to establish and enforce procedures for the creation and operation of government subdivisions.”

The legal fight has lingered more than two years with opposition from nearby Sturgis , whose annual motorcycle rally brings hundreds of thousands of people to the area. The state Supreme Court has even weighed in, saying that any action to challenge the town’s incorporation must be brought by the state.

South Dakota is challenging that Buffalo Chip was improperly formed because it had fewer than 100 legal residents or 30 voters at the time it was incorporated. Census information shows Buffalo Chip didn’t meet the threshold outlined in the 2015 law. The threshold has since changed to 100 legal residents and 45 registered voters.

Buffalo Chip officials have argued that the area had more than 30 voters.

The state’s hired attorney to oversee the case, James Moore, can now continue to bring action against the town.

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Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, http://www.bhpioneer.com

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