Alone on the Range

Lawyer and “practical prophet” Russ Voorhees designed Heritage Farms 2000 as a refuge from the anarchy he believes will result from the Year 2000 computer bug. According to its Web site, Heritage Farms offers its sanctuary for only the nominal deposit of $1,000 on a five-year, $10,000 lease to begin on Jan. 1, 1999 (assuming the dollar is still worth anything then). Where is this paranoid’s paradise? Not in Sully County, South Dakota. Though originally deemed the “perfect” site by its planners, the county planning commission rejected the application to develop this “model village for the new millennium.”

“They didn’t really have their ducks in a row,” says Karen Wilcox, Sully’s planning and zoning administrator. “The whole thing seemed kind of shaky…. People were concerned.” In fact, she adds, “We filled the courtroom that night.”

Concerned, but not, it seems, paranoid. According to Wilcox, Voorhees could point only to “lots of interest” in the project, not to any lots leased–in fact, he didn’t even own the land.

The Heritage Farms 2000 Web site calls the rejection of a permit a “snag,” and claims that the residential site will be “ready for move-in by the summer of 1999.” For her part, Wilcox is unconcerned about the glitch that may end civilization. “I mean, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”