Entries Tagged 'Code Enforcement' ↓

Get your ‘Boulevard’ on!

The city is tired of NO consistency with boulevard landscaping in town (and those pesky decorative mailboxes). How dare people allow their homes to look different then their neighbors. Better charge them with criminal nuisance! (I won’t get into that). So now they are suggesting a compromise of allowing up to 20% to be landscaped, and you have to get a permit from the city (never miss an opportunity to miss out on a pointless fee).

This is how I look at it. The city owns the boulevard, but the adjacent homeowner/business is responsible for maintaining it, they should be allowed to landscape it however they want to within reason, circumstance and how the area is zoned. If the city wants to TELL us how our boulevards should look, fine. You can come and mow them and trim trees in them. But since we are responsible for the maintenance, we should have a say in what goes in them.

Of course, in this document (DOC) they show a lot of bad examples. That is a whole other ball of wax, if someone isn’t maintaining it properly, then yes, they should have to. But telling people they can’t have flowers or painted green boulders (that one made me laugh) on property they maintain doesn’t make sense, seems they are getting their panties in a bunch over nothing. But since our city is run like a dictatorship, it doesn’t surprise me. Pretty soon they will start arresting people for not mowing their lawns.

A word of advice to Huether, tread lightly when you are considering retaliation

From Guest Poster. I have heard about similar incidents in Sioux Falls who dare to speak out against the mayor get visits by code enforcement. In fact, one of the stories is about to boil to the top here real soon;

A Peoria, Illinois man sued his local mayor for ordering a police raid on his home in response to a Twitter account mockingly portraying the official as being preoccupied with alcohol and strippers,WGN-TV reported on Friday.

The plaintiff, 29-year-old Jon Daniel, identified himself as the creator of @PeoriaMayor in a press conference on Thursday, saying he did so as a joke originally intended to be read by himself and his friends.

 

Trash Can ordinance

The new proposed trash can ordinance has me a bit on the fence;

The Sioux Falls City Council will vote this month on an ordinance that would require residents to keep trash cans hidden — either inside, behind or beside a structure.

Personally, I keep my cans in my garage. The main reason is because I have gotten dogs, cats and other critters who have gotten into them when leaving them outside. I have even had random people ‘add’ to my garbage. I would agree with this assumption though;

Some garbage haulers are worried a proposed change to keep trash bins out of sight will mean more customers forgetting to put them out on collection day.

I forget quite a bit, mainly because my hauler teamed up with another one and they changed my collection day, but also as the old adage goes, out of site, out of mind. I probably forget about 25% of the time to put my trash out.

In some ways the ordinance doesn’t make any sense, because obviously they will still allow the cans to be out on your driveway on collection day, so in some ways, there will always be cans visible any day of the week, on any block in this town. Secondly, most people don’t own there receptacles, so how do you enforce a homeowner to store a trash can that they do not own? And lastly, I am a big property rights person, the city telling people where they need to put their cans is just silly, I think this line says it all;

“To me, it’s just a vote on city aesthetics,” LaVergne said Monday, standing in his driveway in southwest Sioux Falls.

Once again, we have become a city that is worried how things look on the surface instead of worrying about the bigger issue, how much will this cost us in higher fees from the haulers when they have to start digging around for our cans? That and the fact that the landfill is increasing drop rates. Once again it seems we are looking for a solution to a problem that doesn’t need to be fixed and will only end up costing us more.

Dumbass city.

People who build ‘Rat Rods’ are ‘Bad Neighbors’

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Image: KELO-TV

Leave it up to Jorgi and camera crew to take a picture of this truck. This guy must be in violation, look at the scary maltese cross on the door. This is the first thing I thought when I saw the truck (commenter on FB);

I have a complaint! In this story, you had footage of a pickup truck, when you mentioned abandoned vehicles. That particular vehicle is not abandoned! It belongs to a friend of mine, and is what they call a “rat rod”. It IS registered and licensed. I think you should apologize for not doing proper research, and maybe do a story on the ” Rat rod” scene in the Sioux Falls area. You would learn that the folks who build threes cars are very proud of them. I agree about the problem you covered, but in this case, you blew it.

Yeah, it would be nice if KELO did a story about ‘Rat Rods’ but you can thank DTSF for chasing Automania out of town.

If someone fails to do something about the problem within a few days, the City will issue a fine of $100.  If the property owners continue to ignore the problem, the City will fine them another $200.  A third violation can result in a $300 fine for a total of $600 in fines all together.

And this is where the city has it wrong legally. You can’t continue to issue fines until the first violation has been resolved, and you certainly can’t make them pay every violation. The city has learned nothing from the Dan Daily Supreme court case, except keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results. The code enforcement ‘system’ in Sioux Falls is broken, not jut because the ordinances are poorly written but because the people in charge of the department are power hungry bullies that take pleasure in harassing property owners.

As for abandoned homes that have no clear title holder, that is an issue all in itself. That has to do with property that has ownership problems. By all means, clean it up and take care of it. But if someone is working on their own licensed vehicle on THEIR property, how is that a violation? The city has no right to tell you what you can do on your own property as long as it is not illegal activity. The city charter is hardly the law of the land, and quite laughable if you ask me.

This code enforcement firestorm by the city and media is out of control. The Charter Revision Commission needs to take a serious look at the ordinances that deal with property cleanup and maintenance.

And BTW, nice job on the staged trash shots by the cameraman to make it look like trash is all over the place. I had to laugh at the containers that were clean and clearly probably taken from the KELO break room trash can. That’s some serious ‘investigative’ journalism Jorgi.

Mike ‘The rules don’t apply to me’ Huether

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One can only laugh at the irony of Huether busting everyone else’s chops about ‘code enforcement‘ yet doesn’t follow the rules himself.

City Ordinance Section 97.001 Posting on public property. No person shall nail, paste, paint or otherwise affix in any manner any sign, advertisement, picture or design whatever upon any bridge, viaduct, sidewalk, parking, parkway, boulevard, crosswalk, curb or street or upon the railing or approaches of any bridge, viaduct or sidewalk or upon any telephone, electric light or fire alarm pole or post.

These signs (3) in the boulevard were seen outside his campaign office this past week and were still there today. Maybe the city’s code enforcement shrink needs to have a discussion with Mike about his obsession with signage. He seems to be ‘hoarding’ the boulevard with his signs. Maybe this obsession is a sub conscience mental disorder?

2013 Code Enforcement breakdown, Reward the Rich – Punish the Poor

You can look at the entire document here: code-numbers

By the numbers

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The map is interesting. Look where most of the investigations/violations are? In the ‘older’ and ‘poorer’ neighborhoods in Sioux Falls. While the city is consistently promoting more annexation and new development, they continue to ignore the core and older neighborhoods. Sure, some of these properties are run down, but just look at the streets and curb and gutter in these neighborhoods. The city can harass the personal property owners all they want about cleaning up their properties, BUT what’s the point of fixing up a property that sits on a street that looks like it was hit by a mortar round? The properties in these neighborhoods are a reflection of the PUBLIC property in these neighborhoods. Don’t believe me? Just take a drive around the areas in these maps, and tell me the roads are not crumbling. If the city wants the residents of these neighborhoods to clean up there act, instead of sending out code enforcement goons, they should send out public works employees to work on the infrastructure.

This administration’s attitude towards zoning and code enforcement seems to be Reward the Rich, Punish the Poor.

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Dan Daily sends out letter to suspected code enforcement violators

Not sure if you know it, but the city has a webpage that lists all the peeps and bizzos that have received code enforcement violations (apparently this is more pertinent PUBLIC information then knowing TIF investors :(

Mr. Daily decided that he needed to educate these ‘supposed’ violators and sent them a letter explaining their rights. Not sure what the response has been, but it is intriguing, none the less.

THE ENTIRE DOCUMENTCode-Violations

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This guy needs to read the US Constitution (or least have it explained to him)

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Sorry Bro, you are not contributing to the beauty of our community.

When I started reading this letter, I was waiting for the punch line at the end, and it never came;

Homeowners and businesses that do not comply with city ordinances in regards to upkeep of their property also should have fines doubled and required to pay within 30 days or doubled.

First off, the city’s code enforcement department already sends out multiple fines for one violation, which is not only questionable legally, it is probably unconstitutional. Besides the multiple fines, they really have no way of collecting them, because that process is also been found to be unconstitutional.

But the best part of Mr. Marshall Law’s letter is yet to come;

This will cause tax revenue to increase, compliance to laws/ordinances to increase as well as a safer and more beautiful city to live in.

So besides being a grumpy old ‘stay off my lawn’ man, he feels these stringent penalties should be implemented to make our city prettier. So a word of warning to all you long haired bearded folk of the community, get a shave and a haircut or you will be fined, double.

Scoop it your frickin’ self

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I have a feeling after people read this ‘My Voice’ letter yesterday in the Argus Leader, this lady’s driveway is pretty clean by now.

Her letter was about the how the ‘Scoop It’ program wasn’t working for her. A few things I will say before we throw the HelpLine under the bus. First off, I heard they do not let the prisoners out when it is too cold because they don’t dress them very warmly (the rumor is if they give them ‘too’ warm of clothes they will be tempted to escape. Not sure if I believe that, but I am sure liability issues arise if a prisoner volunteering for this program gets frostbite or injured due to the cold.

I am a 70-year-old lady with significant disabilities that require me to use a walker to get around. I’ve owned my own home for 21 years and was able to keep up with all of my yard work until just a few years ago, despite my own physical problems. I have a limited income that barely covers my expenses, but I pride myself in that I always have been able to manage with the assistance of a friend who has since moved.

My biggest problem is getting my driveway and sidewalks shoveled so that I can at least get out of my house and to the doctor and for groceries, etc.

Secondly, not to sound too harsh, but if you cannot manage your property and you are on a fixed income, maybe it is time to move to an apartment or an assisted living center.

But I do agree with her on one level, if you are going to promote a program to help the elderly who are choosing to stay in their homes, approve them for the program through an application process and threaten them with fines if they don’t scoop, you need to follow through with the program. I have heard several city councilors and the mayor tout the program for people who cannot take care of their property. But it kind of sounds like the program doesn’t work very well. I find it a little hard to believe that this is the only person who has experienced problems. It is evidenced in her letter, first they tell her it is too cold to scoop, then the mayor’s secretary tells her ‘tough luck’ then they continue to lie to her about when they are showing up. An isolated incident? Doubtful.

I take pride in scooping my sidewalk and driveway. I learned very quickly one year, if you skip a couple of times, you are playing catch up until spring (removing ice, etc.) and I’m sure many of these elderly people feel the same. But I have also believed that people shouldn’t be fined for not cleaning the (residential) sidewalk they are assessed for. Technically if it our responsibility to clean this sidewalk, and repair this sidewalk, we take ownership of it. And if we don’t have time to clean it, or have other physical impairments, the city shouldn’t be able to force us to do it. Why?

Well first, the city rarely takes care of all of their own property (but the skate board park parking lot is always sparkling clean :) Secondly, I understand that people in wheelchairs, the blind and just regular Joe’s without cars are trying to get to work. But most of the routes these people take are emergency snow routes and main arterials, and yes, those sidewalks should be clean. But residential? That’s debatable. I also see a lot of businesses/apartment complexes getting off pretty easy with following the rules. About 4 years ago I used to go for a walk in the winter on my break at a place I worked at by the Western Mall, this corner lot that featured a business (that actually sold snowblowers & salt, ironically) never scooped the sidewalks, EVER! By the end of the winter there was literally about 8 inches of compacted snow and ice on the sidewalk surrounding the business. I won’t say who it is, but if you are going to hire someone to scoop your sidewalk make sure they ARE NOT wearing a RED shirt.

I find the city likes to pick and choose who they enforce ordinances on. It’s easy to beat up on a 70 year old disabled woman for code enforcement violations it’s a lot harder to pound at a retail chain or large apartment complex owner.

The irony in all this is that the city has the money (through a Federal Grant) to hire a shrink for the code enforcement office, but they just can’t get the resources together to help people with snow removal and tree trimming. Somebody needs their heads checked, that I agree with, but it’s not the residents of this community.

 

So now ‘collectors’ are considered ‘mentally ill’ by the city

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Okay, I totally get it, collecting ‘garbage’ behind your house is not a good idea, and it is certainly against the law. People who urinate on other people’s property, also against the law. Are some of these people mentally ill. Maybe, maybe not, but it is not the job of the city’s code enforcement department to determine who is mentally ill;

The team includes law enforcement officials, zoning personnel and a newly hired mental health professional.

Sometimes a property owner is struggling with mental health concerns or physical limitations that prohibit him or her from completing cleanup and maintenance tasks.

A fellowship grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is paying for a health professional to be part of the enforcement team. It’s a two-year program.

Am I the only one to find it a bit ironic that a department that has been found to be unconstitutional, several times, in applying city ordinance is now questioning the mental health of it’s citizens? Isn’t ‘denial’ a mental ailment?

Is there a difference between ‘collectors’ and ‘hoarders’ – in some cases, yes. But if someone owns their property and they want to store a Beanie Bear collection on that property, that is their prerogative, whether they are mentally ill or not. See, in this country, it is not against the law to be ‘crazy’.

If someone is committing a crime, and they are mentally ill, leave it up to law enforcement and trained medical professionals to deal with those situations. If someone isn’t mowing their lawn, maybe they need to see a lawn mower repairman, not a shrink.