A couple of ‘special’ stories.
The first talks about a conditional use permit going before the planning commission concerning unhappy neighbors near The Banquet objecting to the proposed Catholic diocese homeless shelter. If SON had not referred Shape Places, these folks wouldn’t even have the opportunity to voice their current concerns to anyone. SON has said all along that if the city can do this in their neighborhood, they can do it in yours too.
The second story by Don Jorgensen demonstrates the complete lack of integrity by Sioux Falls City Planner Jeff Schmitt as he continues his “educational” crusade to convince people that somehow the Walmart at 85th and Minnesota is NOT related to Shape Places. In his words, they “just happened” to be before the city council at the same time. Sure Jeff.
Just like the story concerning the proposed homeless shelter above, had SON not referred Shape Places when they did, there would not be an opportunity for citizens to voice their concerns over the proposed Walmart, and the good folks at Henry Carlson Company like Meredith Larson, Diane Derry and Dawn Hass (or is it Haas?), would be rolling in the dough.
Meredith Larson, the vice president of preconstruction services for Henry Carlson Co., has been on the commission for 10 years. He was one of four commissioners this week to vote in favor of the rezoning on a 4-2 vote.
Henry Carlson has done millions of dollars of work for Walmart here and in the region over the past several years. But, Larson said, all of that work was earned through a competitive bidding process. And any work that Walmart awards in building two new stores in Sioux Falls — including the controversial store at 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue — also would be awarded through a competitive process.
Jeff, who serves at the pleasure of Mayor Huether, keeps telling people if Shape Places doesn’t pass, Sioux Falls is headed straight back to 1983. Nothing could be further from the truth. The current Sioux Falls zoning ordinances have been continuously improved and amended since 1983 hundreds of times. These are the same zoning ordinances that have served the city of Sioux Falls well through record growth for years now, (i.e. nearly $600 million in building permits last year).
Under the proposed Shape Places, the Conditional Use Permitting (CUP) process will be removed. The folks with SON realized last spring that if Shape Places passed they would no longer have any input under the CUP Process as it related to the proposed Walmart at 85th & Minnesota. Before referring Shape Places last spring, SON asked the city council to please keep the CUP process as part of the proposed Shape Places amendments to ensure continued citizen input as it relates to development near their property (see above story again concerning the homeless shelter if you forgot how important that is). The city council, Jeff Schmitt and other planning staff told the people with SON ‘NO’ when Shape Places was passed. Not to be ignored, that decision was subsequently referred to a vote by SON.
The rest is history. So, for a short while at least, the citizens in Sioux Falls, like those living near The Banquet will still have the right to voice their concerns over proposed developments in their neighborhoods thanks to the efforts of SON. A vote No on April 8th against Shape Places will allow that long-standing input from our fellow citizens to remain a part of our city’s future for years to come.
And to further comment on the Whittier neighborhood situation. I do agree with the Diocese that there needs to be a ‘DAY’ warming facility. But a more appropriate place would be by the county shelter Downtown by the jail and courthouse. Or even a better idea would be to move the Diocese’s humble servant, the Bishop into a more appropriate living arrangement, like a one bedroom apartment and convert his home into a shelter
I have felt all along this is a political move, the downtown developers don’t like the Good Shepard facility only a few blocks from all of their luxury condos they are building, so why not move the shelter to the poorest neighborhood in the city, right next to the The Banquet? Let someone else (the working poor, who don’t already have enough problems in this crappy economy) deal with the homeless.
How dare the ‘Specials’ who live downtown or even the Cathedral neighborhood elites have to look at or deal with the homeless!
While I commend the Diocese for wanting to fill a void in our community, I also commend the Whittier neighborhood for standing up to it. We can do better, and find a more appropriate location, but it’s so easy to kick the little man when he is down? Isn’t it? Heck they even kick the bigger man (upper middle-class SON neighborhood) because while they are partially ‘Special’ they are not ‘Extra Special’ like the biggest ‘Specials’ of our community.
A South DaCola foot soldier contributed to this post.