Entries Tagged 'Code Enforcement' ↓

Tell us what you really think of code enforcement in Sioux Falls

It’s pretty clear what this property owner thinks when code enforcement asked this Fargo owned company to come in compliance on a sign that wasn’t being used. They complied. Be careful what you ask for I guess. Just don’t paint pregnant women on the sign, than you really could get in trouble. LMFAO.

Are our regulations in Sioux Falls enabling us to be bad neighbors?

Hey, I see it right here on my blog, several anonymous commenters throwing barbs at each other, because it is protected speech, and better yet, no one knows who is saying it. We seem to be a lot more daring in how we treat people when we can get away with it without being identified. Sad really;

Is there really a need to demand action from the city or call the police every time we’re annoyed at a neighbor’s too-long grass or the landmine their Chihuahua left beside our mailbox?

Approach minor nuisances of daily existence on your street with a Neighborhood Watch philosophy that promotes autonomy and self-reliance. There will always be occasional extremes — like the toxic situation seen recently in Norton Acres — but a great deal can be handled on a neighbor-to-neighbor basis without appealing to authorities. Good fences might make good neighbors, but only if we’re willing to walk through the gate for mediation and understanding when needed.

In other words if we just chose to talk with each other instead of anonymously turning each other in, things would be a lot better off, and frankly cheaper.

Street Talk #3: June 25, 2017 – No Mow Policy

The AL did story today about using mediation between neighbors instead of a system of anonymously turning in neighbors for the purpose of being vindictive;

City council members Michelle Erpenbach and Theresa Stehly both see potential in mediation, a process that supplements or sidesteps the courts with negotiation through a third party.

“It takes some of the pressure off of the people that are involved and it creates the opportunities to find out ‘what’s really going on here,’” said Erpenbach. “You can’t force people to be good neighbors, but hopefully we can walk down a path where we can learn to live with each other”

In Dayton, Ohio, there’s a mediation center inside city hall. Larger cities use housing court – which Erpenbach calls “glorified mediation” – as a less adversarial forum to sort disputes between landlords and tenants and deal with code violations.

Stehly thinks a more personal approach could stave off more serious issues in some cases.

“Sometimes when people get boxed in, they’re pigeonholed with their backs against the wall it doesn’t help,” said Stehly, herself a target of overgrown lawn ticketing. Judges in some states won’t set a court date without an attempt at mediation through a third party.

First off, I am a little shocked Theresa and Michelle are in agreement on something (bravo). But they both make a good point. Put our efforts in trying to get along instead of trying to tear each other down.

Now if the city can just figure out how to mow their nasty weeds;

The property across the street from Rick Larsen’s western Sioux Falls home was well kept for most of the 35 years he’s lived there.

But since the city bought the property in 2015, weeds and grass have grown unkempt around the former greenhouse at Madison Street and Harlem Avenue.

The lot has prompted calls to City Hall from neighbors wondering why it’s not being mowed and better maintained.

“Eight inches means eight inches,” Larsen said, referring to the grass length limit spelled out in city ordinance. “The city seems to be the worst slum lord of them all.”

They are a ‘Lord’ alright. Surprised the city didn’t come back and say they don’t have to mow their weeds because they are an ‘Act of God’.

Sioux Falls city tax collection still down from year before

It kind of looks like we may be flatlining for the year.

In other news at the city council informational meeting, we get to meet the ‘code enforcement’ team. Surprised they would want the public to know their identity. “You need help, here I am.” Maybe Ruby can help with tax collection?

Also, at the Public Services Committee meeting they want to get barking dogs under control. Good Luck.

Is Huether bailing on a statewide run?

It seems a little odd to me that a person who switched their registration to independent wouldn’t be out fundraising. If Mike doesn’t announce he is running for higher office by the end of July, it may be a little difficult for him to raise enough money to be competitive. I think both the Governor and Congressional races will probably run about the same campaign budget numbers.

While Mike doesn’t have to compete in a primary, I would think he would want to be out there running right now.

There is also a part of me that believes Mike when he says he doesn’t know what he wants to run for. Well, I kind of know what he wants to run for, another mayor’s term.

It could be something he could very well pull off. If Diamond Jim wins, he could easily resign within 2 years and leave it open for a special election (and giving Huether an early heads up). I wouldn’t doubt that Mike will endorse Jim.

In other news, Mike talks about his yellow stickie notes in his truck he writes down code violations. What a guy, not only is he so talented to run our city with business acumen, he has time to be our number one code enforcement officer.

He says the only people who complain about code enforcement are those that don’t follow the code, I would partially agree, but I also think that a good percentage of people who complain about code enforcement are also very aware of their property rights and the US Constitution, something the mayor has no clue about.

Don’t get on the City’s ‘lawn mowing’ black list

By now we have all heard about councilor Stehly’s ‘Lawn Gate’;

Among them was Councilor Theresa Stehly, who said Tuesday she got word someone had complained about her yard, alleging it was unkempt and exceeding the maximum height requirement.

If it’s determined the complaint is valid, the city sends a letter telling the property owner to mow. If the violation isn’t corrected, they get a $100 fine and have to reimburse the city for hiring someone to mow.

What the city doesn’t tell you is even if you mow your lawn before a fine can by issued, you are now blacklisted. In other words if someone complains about your yard, and you mow it before you are fined, the city puts you on a ‘list’ anyway. The next time someone complains, the city issues NO warning and just mows it and fines you, and considers that first warning a warning throughout the season.

Seems a bit harsh.

What is ironic about this is that the city says they don’t have the man power to trim their own trees in the boulevard, but they have plenty of ‘manpower’ when it comes to fining you. Why does the city treat it’s taxpayers this way? Hopefully the next mayor will bring customer service back to the city.

This is what our zoning and code enforcement officers fart around with

IMAGE: KDLT-TV

It’s almost embarrassing to think this is all they have better to do;

A Sioux Falls business will be holding a ‘painting party’ after the city says the mural on the side of their building is against city code. The owner of Elegant Mommy says she tried to resolve the problem, but has no choice but to concede to the city.

Of course, all code enforcement violations start with a complaint, I can’t help to wonder if the city’s biggest grocery retailer sharing a parking lot had a little to do with this?

Than there are those silly rules about the square footage of the lettering of the signage compared to the building itself (not sure whose butt they pulled this math from);

The City of Sioux Falls Zoning Enforcement Manager Shawna Goldammer says there’s another problem: there is too much signage. Gaddis says she never received official notice of that violation. She says having a permitted company put up signage that is within city code will cost her at least a few thousand dollars.

Oh, because you know, how on earth could a business owner be able to know how to paint a stencil on a straight line? Yes, in all this silliness you have to hire a certified sign contractor to put a sign on YOUR property, even if you follow all the insane rules. It reminds me a lot of Project TRIM where the city requires you to trim THEIR trees, and if you don’t do it to THEIR standards they will hire a contractor that can, charge you for it and also send you a fine.

It makes you wonder if you really own your property anymore if you are not allowed to improve it yourself without hiring a certified contractor. Lewis Drug did that for their project on 1oth & Phillips, how did that turn out?

VP of Major Developer argues with me over rental registry

READ the comments.

The funny part is that I don’t think asking rental property owners to register is unconstitutional. I take issue with searching property that doesn’t register. While the city ‘claims’ they will get a warrant to search an unregistered property, it is a stretch to say they can search a property because someone didn’t fill out a city form. The city has been busted several times searching people’s property without warrants. I see an opportunity here for abuse and unlawful search based on a bogus city ordinance. The proposal has already been thrown out by the Land Use Committee, but it doesn’t stop Mr. Point from arguing with me about it’s constitutionality. I’m not the only one who questions it and property rights afforded by our constitution.

As I point out at the end of our discussion, the big guys in town want to regulate out the little guys, and they want the city to do their dirty work for them.

UPDATE: OSHA investigation nearing the end?

UPDATE: Even though there was 28 citiations worth $100k handed over to Hultgren, it seems Legacy is probably off the hook due to being a LLC. It doesn’t mean there still couldn’t be civil suits against Legacy or even the city for that matter (for having knowledge of what was going on). Either way, IMO, the city should not allow Legacy anywhere near a public partnership with the city. Just by showing bad judgment in allowing such an unsafe construction company to work on it’s projects (several of them) tells me we need to send Legacy packing on the parking ramp and all future projects. We will see if the council has the cojones to see the same thing.

ELLIS & SNEVE from the ARGUS discuss the fines.

While this is under way (I heard there was about 50 subpoenas handed out) Stehly is fighting for the identity of investors of the DT parking ramp;

City Councilor Theresa Stehly wants to know who stands to profit from a city-backed, mixed-use development in downtown Sioux Falls.

Yet the giant secrecy of MMM’s Iron Curtain exists;

It’s not the first time a city councilor has called for greater transparency in the city’s public-private partnerships. In 2014, then City Councilor Greg Jamison unsuccessfully pressed for an ordinancerequiring investor disclosure in developments that receive tax increment financing from the city.

Jamison’s request followed an Argus Leader Media investigation that revealed Mayor Mike Huether and his wife had invested in real estate deals that required city approval.

And what would make us think anything has changed since?

Rental Registry Ordinance (4/18/2017)

The ghost of Q-Tip is still haunting us at Sioux Falls City Council. Let’s see how many years has it been since he quit the Council to join the Boom Town mayor’s administration so he could quit there to now lead the Pavilion? Does it matter? Not really but here is the old proposal to allow the town’s code enforcers to abuse citizens and property owner’s Constitutional rights preventing unlawful searches. You know unlawful seizures get to follow, just because they can.

Have you heard our esteemed code enforcers are back searching property when no one is home just because they can sneak in? They got caught by Cameraman Bruce illegally standing on a 6′ ladder taking pictures over a 6′ privacy fence one day. The judge was none too happy by this crap. These fine upstanding quasi-legal (or are they quasi-illegal) government employees don’t care when they get slapped down in court by a judge as long as they have the city attorney’s blessing to keep do that thing they do. Oh well, just another day at the office.

Listen to the public and several Council members sink this current proposal just by asking very legitimate questions. If a property owner signs up on this list so it is easier to contact the owner, why do the enforcers ignore the information they seem to have in their own files and require owners keep up to date?

Who is the list actually compiled for and why?

Why bother being legal when we have great apologists ready to change laws to justify the bad behavior. The proposed ordinance was set aside for now in the City Council Land Use committee on April 18, 2017 because it was both illegal and stupid. It was nice Michelle Erpenbach and committee Chair Rick Kiley set aside and allowed the public to speak, another precedent knocked down.