Rhea Crane, Director of Equalization and Planning

1300 Sherman Street, Suite 222, Sturgis, SD 57785


Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday



Bill Rich, Deputy Director of Planning

1300 Sherman Street, Suite 222, Sturgis, SD 57785


Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday


Name *

What We Do


The Meade County Director of Equalization is appointed by the Meade County Board of Commissioners to manage approximately 20,000 parcels totaling over $2.6 billion in assessment.

The Director of Equalization Office annually assesses all non-ag property at full and true value, and ag property according to agriculture income value.  The Director of Equalization and staff are responsible for discovering, listing, and valuing all real property within Meade County.  They are also responsible for linking real properties to their respective owners and placing assessed values and owners' names on the assessment roles.  Types of properties included in the assessment process are  residential, commercial, industrial, and agriculture.  

The Director of Equalization has a number of additional responsibilities which include:

  • Providing equalization between classes of property

  • Determining property adjustments

  • Reviewing abatements

  • Administering all state laws pertaining to ad valorem property tax assessment

  • Working with property owners and the boards of equalization through the appeal process

  • Testifying in court regarding assessment issues

  • Managing tax exemptions, Veteran’s property tax relief programs, assessment freezes, the owner-occupied program, TIF districts, discretionary formulas, renewable tax credits, and maintaining the Meade County GIS program

The Director of Equalization and staff must be certified by the South Dakota Department of Revenue to assess real property for tax purposes with re-certification every 5 years.  The certification process includes attending Department of revenue schools, workshops, and SDAAO conferences. After initial certification, appraisers must be re-certified every five years.


Local Board of Equalization:  Written appeal must be filed with the clerk of the local board on or before the Thursday preceding the third Monday in March.

County Board of Equalization:  Written appeal must be filed with the County Auditor on or before the 1st Tuesday in April.

Appeals are for the current assessment year, taxes payable the following year. 


The Meade County Planning Office serves our citizens to perform a vital role in the vision of the county and acts as the primary coordinator in the development, adoption, and implementation of the county's policies for residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural growth. The office provides both current and long range planning services to the various county boards, including the Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment and County Commissioners, as well as to the general public and also coordinates planning activities with our municipalities.  Our vision of the future for planning is unique in that Planning is citizen driven; citizens, through their local government, should work together to direct and guide the planning process.

The Planning office reviews subdivisions, site plans, and variances, building plans, permit issuance, and is also responsible for the development and enforcement of the Subdivision, Building, Wastewater, Signs and other ordinances to enhance our community.  It is the goal of the Planning office to provide timely, responsive and helpful service to all members of the public.  We are committed and dedicated to promote sound planning that benefits the citizens of Meade County.

We are pleased to provide you the information contained on this website, and hope it helps you understand and participate in the planning and development review process. We welcome your comments and suggestions so please do not hesitate to contact us with your thoughts and ideas about how we can improve our services. Thank you.

Planning Board Meeting Schedule

Economic Development

Meade County is a dynamic prosperous area and is a balanced, growing community with economic opportunities for income potential allowing personal independence.  Our goal is to foster a strong economic environment which supports businesses and the expansion of those businesses nurturing growth and new investment in the region, creating new jobs which provide year around employment throughout Meade County, while maintaining a high quality of life with a livable wage.

Meade County is where the community accepts that a certain level of growth and development are healthy and necessary to maintain our quality of life; where the enjoyment of a suburban and rural lifestyle is allowed without the necessity of urban services.  We are focused on advancing the long-term economic viability of the suburban areas by encouraging and supporting small business and manufacturing as well as in our rural areas with an emphasis on ranching, farming, forestry, and other businesses consistent with the unique character of Meade County.

Growth is encouraged where appropriate infrastructure exists or is planned to exist, thus enabling urban, suburban and rural lifestyles to coexist; where the community is engaged with their elected leadership to accept responsibility for contributing to the solutions of continued community growth.

If you are looking for a pleasant and secure place to raise your family, start a small business, or expand an industry, we are a county with a healthy and positive attitude, nurturing growth and excellence, choosing Meade County is a wise choice.

To all current and potential new business owners:

  • If your business is within the unincorporated part of the county and you want information or help, please contact Rhea Crane or Bill Rich at the Meade County Equalization & Planning Department

  • If your new business is located within the city limits of one of the following, please contact that municipality for information or help:

City of Sturgis

City of Summerset

City of Faith

City of Box Elder

City of Piedmont

City of Buffalo Chip

Many residents of Meade County find the venture of running a home business very profitable and satisfying economically. A home occupation can satisfy the needs of a parent with young children at home, a retired person who may have limited mobility, or just someone who likes the convenience of making some extra income in the comfort of their own surroundings.  For information on starting home businesses within the County, please contact Rhea Crane or Bill Rich at the Meade County Equalization & Planning Department.



2019 Building Permit Reports 

2018 Building Permit Reports 

2017 Building Permit Reports 

2016 Building Permit Reports 

2015 Building Permit Reports 

2014 Building Permit Reports

2013 Building Permit Reports

2012 Building Permit Reports

2011 Building Permit Reports

When do I need a building permit? 

You would need a building permit for any structure you plan on constructing except for accessory buildings 200 square feet or less or decks 100 square feet or less. There are other exceptions that exempt you from obtaining a building permit such as replacing shingles on your roof or installing replacement windows etc. Refer to Ordinance No. 34, Meade County's Building Code and Construction Enforcement Ordinance, there is a list of exemptions under Article I, Section 1.01 that you can reference. If you are still not sure whether or not you need a building permit, please do not hesitate to call our office and ask us at 605.347.3818.

When do I need a septic permit?

You will need a septic permit for any new on-site wastewater treatment system or septic system. If you are replacing a septic tank, installing a drain field, placing a holding tank or repairing your system, you also need a septic permit.

What are the property or yard setbacks for Meade County?

The setbacks in Meade County are as follows:

  • Front Yard is 25 feet

  • Back Yard is 25 feet

  • Side setback is 8 feet

Can I get a variance for a setback, and how do I get one?

You may apply for a variance under most ordinances that fall under Planning. For example, if you want a variance for a setback, you would need to fill out a Planning Application, (which can be found on our web page), and bring it to the Equalization and Planning Department and give it to our Planning Secretary along with a copy of any supporting documentation, pictures, maps, sketches, etc.

When the application is submitted for any non-hardship variance, you will be required to place a sign in your front yard, which we have in our office, and the sign must be placed so it can be easily read by those who drive by your property. You will then be asked to attend our next regularly scheduled Planning Commission Meeting where you will present your variance request to the Planning Commissioners.

There are some costs associated with the Variance Process which are the following:

  • Application fee of $250.00

  • Sign deposit fee of $100.00, which requires the sign to be returned at the Planning Commission Meeting. This deposit is refunded to the applicant when the sign is returned, as long as it is in good condition.



Contractor Information

Contractors working in Meade County must be licensed by Meade County.  Electrical and plumbing contractors are exempt.  If you have any questions about licensing requirements, please call our office at 605.347.3818.


Meade County requires construction inspections for building projects within the unincorporated boundaries of Meade County.  Three type of inspections are required:  the foundation inspection (footings and walls), rough framing, and a final inspection.  Meade County requires that a Certificate of Occupancy be issued before any newly constructed building is occupied.

Building Code

Meade County has adopted the 2015 International Building Code and the International Residential Code along with the International Fire Code.  We also have an ordinance that covers building and construction, Ordinance No. 34, which can be viewed or downloaded from our website.


Meade County does have an ordinance that covers wastewater systems being installed within the unincorporated boundaries of Meade County.  This ordinance, Ordinance No. 33, covers requirements for septic systems and other sewage systems along with water systems either private, community, or public.  We do follow the South Dakota DENR Rules and Regulations.

General Liability Insurance

Contractors, please do not forget to renew your "General Liability" insurance, so you can maintain your license with Meade County.  Please call your insurance company and have them fax us your renewal certificate, so you can stay current.  Also make sure to renew your license with Meade County before it expires.