- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

STURGIS, S.D. (AP) - A campground and event site that swells in size during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally wants to become a community all its own, but Sturgis officials are fighting the idea.

Buffalo Chip Campground owner Rod Woodruff wants to turn the 600-acre site into a city that could attract businesses. If the Meade County Commission determines the bid conforms to state law - having at least 100 legal residents or at least 30 voters - it has to call an election of registered voters in the area on whether to become a municipality, the Rapid City Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1ywgOfV ).

“There are 47 registered voters of this area as we speak that have been verified by the auditor’s office,” Buffalo Chip attorney Kent Hagg told county commissioners on Thursday.

Sturgis officials maintain that the campground is within the 3-mile jurisdiction of Sturgis, meaning it can’t incorporate into its own city. Sturgis has determined that the proposed municipality is 2.987 miles from the Sturgis city limits, City Manager Daniel Ainslie told commissioners.

“Sounds like being off by a foot in this case really does matter,” Commission Chairman Alan Aker said.

The City Council earlier Thursday also voted to annex a high school and land surrounding it east of Sturgis, further reducing the distance to Buffalo Chip, Ainslie said. Hagg contended that the annexation does not take effect until 20 days after the resolution is published, meaning the action would come too late.

Hagg eventually withdrew his petition and said officials would hire an engineering and surveying company to measure the distance.

“We want that clarity as much as this body and the city,” Hagg said.

The matter likely will be debated again at the commission’s next meeting on Feb. 25.

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