South Dakota high court paves way for Wal-Mart

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PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The city of Sioux Falls can annex land which is slated for a Wal-Mart supercenter, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

A group of residents near the site called Save Our Neighborhood had challenged the annexation, arguing it was illegal because the city didn't first get the approval of Lincoln County.

A circuit court judge had ruled that Sioux Falls officials didn't do anything wrong, and Supreme Court justices agreed. The owner of the property brought it to the city to annex in early 2013.

Dana Palmer, in a statement for the group of residents, said members wanted to ensure that the annexation considered traffic concerns and drainage issues with Lincoln County.

"Although the South Dakota Supreme Court recognized that our state annexation statutes are unclear, they resolved the ambiguity in favor of the city," Palmer said.

She added that while the group would have preferred a different outcome, its members respect the decision.

City Council member Kermit Staggers said the council always believed its actions were legal.

"We're not surprised by the decision, and we thought it was the right decision," Staggers said.

The Sioux Falls City Council rezoned about 40 acres of land from agricultural use to commercial for a Wal-Mart supercenter. Save Our Neighborhood collected signatures to have voters decide on the rezoning. In April, residents voted to support the rezoning for the store.

Wal-Mart did not return immediate requests for comment.

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