Entries Tagged 'Code Enforcement' ↓

What do you think of the NEW proposed boulevard ordinance changes?

I think the proposals look great, so far, the city is still looking for more input;

The City of Sioux Falls is proposing changes to the current right-of-way ordinance. The current ordinance limits landscaping to only turf grass and trees in the parking strip. A new ordinance would allow for additional flexibility in plantings while preserving the functionality of the public right-of-way.

The new proposed ordinance allows turf or native grasses; approved street trees; annual, biennial, or perennial plants; cultivated flowers; wildflowers; and fruits and vegetables. To maintain the safety of the right-of-way, some restrictions would apply. Those include:

  • Plants must be maintained at a height of no more than 36″ from the top of the curb.
  • Neither plants with thorns, spines, or other sharp rigid parts nor evergreen or deciduous shrubs would be allowed.
  • Plant material may not overhang or encroach onto the sidewalk.
  • Wood mulch may be used only on a limited basis around plantings as a water-conservation measure.
  • Turf grass must be maintained at a height of no more than 8″.

The proposed ordinance also would allow some surface area in the parking strip to include landscape pavers, edging, rock mulch, or concrete splash guards. The ordinance would be phased in to allow adequate time for property owners to make changes before enforcement of city codes would take place.

To provide input into the proposed ordinance, please contact:
Matt Tobias, Code Enforcement Manager
605-367-1896
mtobias@siouxfalls.org

 

A message from Cameraman Bruce on the Agenda timeline proposed changes

Greetings to all,

The citizens of Sioux Falls need your help. As we have discovered in our efforts, the more we work to expose the inner workings of Sioux Falls city government, the more the administration works to shut us out. Our efforts in opening up the government to citizens is transparency of process. The administration is working to shut you and I out of all discussions.

I am sending this email to many of the people and groups I have been involved with during the recent petition drives and elections. None of our efforts would have been possible if the administration’s efforts to stifle debate would have been in place.

The City Council has scheduled two items for Tuesday we must have people ready to stop. The administration has two proposals.

The first item is dealing with a possible illegal car rental tax to fund a private entity’s construction project. This may not seem like something you and your organizations should care about but it is. It needs a full discussion since it is being dropped on the spring election ballot without having to go to the public for petition signatures. If you had a problem with the way the cellphone ban was short circuited at the Council, why should this questionably legal tax be fast tracked?

In the second item, the administration is planning to change the posting of meeting agendas to 24 hours prior to the Tuesday meetings . Our current ordinance requires posting by close of business on Friday. The problem with this change is close of business on Monday gives the ability to slip items onto the meeting without the public being able to know what is planned. How would you have been able read the posted at close of business agendas, research the items and then gather your troops to battle the proposal you worked so hard to win. It would be eliminated.

Consider the administration’s ability to drop a resolution onto the agenda leaving none of us the time to stop it. We would have no opportunity to inform the Council members of our concerns. Some of the Council gets confidential information with behind the scene emails and briefings. These items don’t get a full discussion now and with this proposal there will be less. The Powder House Road name change was dropped on us because of an internal city naming group made the resolution to change it. With the new proposed ordinance change, how many more things like this will occur? Resolutions are often dropped onto the agenda without any prior discussion letting us know the vote will occur.

In the past year our efforts to open up government to citizens has started to take hold and it is bothering the officials at 9th & Main. Our attention to process, agenda details and the willingness to bring them into the public discussion are at root to my arrest with prosecution for being a public nuisance. I was found not guilty because at least the court saw through these actions. If the council allows the city clerk to move forward with the change to the posting of agendas from our current short timeline to an even shorter one, we all lose.

Please contact me, bruce@citizens4integrity.org. We all need to help stop the abuse of our rights to be involved in Sioux Falls city government. There are ways to stop the erosion of access to our government but it takes you being involved. We are working to make the process easier to participate. Please don’t sit back and think someone else will save our rights. It is up to each of us.

Check out our process and progress at:

www.citizens4integrity.org

www.siouxfall.org

www.youtube.com

Bruce

Bruce Danielson

Citizens4Integrity

To make it easier to see what is being dropped out I made the red line text yellow, (DOC: AMENDING CHAPTER 30 CITY COUNCIL)

More Boulevard Public Input on Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016

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The Land Use committee of the Sioux Falls city council will be accepting more public input about boulevard gardens.

The informational will also be busy talking about the upcoming city election (switching to precincts, because they are forced to because they don’t own any E-Poll books) While I am all for precincts, it should have been like this all along, more musical precincts, no consistency on voting. At least the combined city/school board election, the primaries and the November election will all be the same process as precincts. Did the previous SOS eat all the E-Poll books, or hide them in the trunk of a former staffer’s car forgetting they were there? Oh, that’s just state historical items, my bad.

The city is proposing to get in line with state law and having the very minimal time of posting agendas at 24 hours. Does this mean no more agenda postings on Friday? We will see. (Proposed Ordinance, DOC; info_posting_agenda

Shape Places needs more changes, go figure.

Dean Karsky will be talking about the rental car fee hike to help rich developers put in sewer pipes.

Sioux Falls City Council Land Use Committee meeting, Dec 15, 2015

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Will this never end? When it does, will it end well? It will but will it be something thousands of Sioux Falls property owners want? Of the 65,000+ properties in our little town on the prairie very likely has 35,000 in violation of the current outdated, old fashioned and very ecologically bad boulevard grassy strip by the street ordinance.

Let’s see, we could prosecute the 35,000+ out of current compliant property owners or find a way to make them compliant and help set easy to follow guidelines for the future.

The first likely path would look something like this: If our city council decides to allow for code enforcement prosecutions, all Hell will fall upon our city leaders. Our current over staffed code enforcement department and city attorney offices would have to grow exponentially to handle the legal load. The wrath of citizens would likely create electoral problems for those trying to stay in office. No amount of illegal process serving will clean up the mess they proceed with. Can you imagine all the trip to the Shopping News to buy little blue bags to illegally hang on door knobs?

A second path would find a way to educate the property owners about safety concerns, encourage sensible plantings for sustainability and encourage creativity. If the city used it’s considerable resources to help the public understand the issues without a strong arm of a government led retribution system we could likely all win.

In our video watch the nuances from both perspectives. Think about how crappy Sioux Falls drivers are in general and how few of our crappy drivers actually are affected by flowers in the property in front of your house or business.

We also hear about drainage issues our fair city chooses to ignore. How many of you have seen the lousy ways our developers remove the thick layers of top soil from new developments and replace it with thin layer to just barely keep the grass growing? Find out what experts are saying about his practice.

By the way, the definitions everyone is using in this video are screwed up. The area bordering the street up to your property pins (to across the street property pins) is city owned and controlled right of way. Shouldn’t we be calling the grassy area between the street and sidewalk something else? How about the right of way or parking strip or parking area or something more logical. The use of the word boulevard is too often confused with the traffic dividing median like used on 21st St by the tennis courts.

Sioux Falls Zoning Board of Adjustment, Dec 21,2015

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You never know what the Cracker Jack Sioux Falls City Attorney’s office will do next to their legal opponents. In this video we see what last minute legal jurisdiction claims and strange emails do to billboard applications.

Why does the city of Sioux Falls legal team and staff always seem to “find” new favorable evidence / documentation just before or during a court proceeding? Is the city of Sioux Falls document data storage system so bad documents get lost constantly? Didn’t the city get their hands slapped by the SD Supreme Court in the Dan Daily ruling overturning the administrative fine processes declaring them unconstitutional?

So we ask why the crucial data continues to be found at the last minute. As you will see in this video, the assistant city attorney and the code enforcement official pull important “NEW” evidence and jurisdiction issues at the hearing.

The high price outside consulting attorney was not at this hearing, the city’s floodplain expert who made the ruling against Lamar was missing and to top it off the city’s Director of Planning & Building Services was a no show. Each of these people could have been at Carnegie Town Hall on December 21, 2015 because they set the schedules and plan the events. There was no excuse, none. This was pathetic gamesmanship.

Mayor Huether treats ‘Compassion’ like he treats ‘Transparency’. Do as I say, not as I do.

After I got off the floor from laughing, I was better able to evaluate this press release;

“Sioux Falls is made up of diverse backgrounds, abilities, economic status, and beliefs, and all of us deserve to live in a compassionate community,” says Mayor Mike Huether. “Our citizens regularly demonstrate compassion by sharing their time, talent and treasure, but even more can be done.”

This coming from a guy who preyed on the poor and financially inept, selling them credit cards they could never pay off.

Becoming a compassionate city will encourage Sioux Falls residents to work together to alleviate the problems of inequality and disrespectful behavior, which will end fear and ignorance that creates distrust and division.

You want to know what creates distrust and division? A city government that is not only neither transparent with it’s citizens, but with it’s councilors and employees. A police department that can’t be forthright about when officers screw up. A mayor who continually lies about the process with the backing of a city attorney, who should be looking out for the best interest of the citizens and protecting the city charter and US constitution, not the mayor’s lies.

Oh, but the ‘compassionate’ advice keeps a coming;

• Connect with individuals, organizations, and local government.

Yes, and when you get to involved, you are labeled as a ‘gadfly’ and told you are ‘tiresome’. Another ‘feel good’ initiative like the ‘Sioux Falls Has Jobs’ campaign that doesn’t really solve the issues at hand.

City of Sioux Falls Double Standard?

As the first flakes of winter begin to fall, so do the letters to the editor about the hypocrisy of city code enforcement;

The same thing happened to an elderly friend of ours a few years ago. She was 95 years old and was out trying to clean ice off the top of her driveway with an axe and broke her wrist, all because of a city citation.

Those giving out these citations can surely tell if the walks were shoveled or not.

The same double standards apply to the citizen’s boulevards. A lot of the city boulevards are just as unsightly and dangerous as the people’s, but that is another story.

The same double standards are going to apply to the poor and middle class people this next summer with swimming. Only the rich will be able to swim in the public pools and the wonderful new indoor pool. We will be having problems with the rest of the children trying to swim and drowning in the Sioux River, The Falls, etc.

Or how any new business, church or non-profit in Sioux Falls must supply adequate parking, yet the Events Center is exempt from the rule.

In October, Sioux Falls code enforcement decided to fine and prosecute a resident on a little known ordinance (even though the mayor and city council has promised a moratorium on boulevard plantings until the ordinance is revised);

160.518  DRIVEWAY SAFETY ZONE.

(a)   No monument style sign or other sign with its face less than ten feet above grade or any fence, wall, shrub, evergreen or coniferous tree or other obstruction to vision exceeding three feet in height above the established street grade shall be erected, planted or maintained within the area from the curb line to ten feet behind the curb line.

The issue, the resident had 4 foot day lilies (I have heard once day lilies hit that 37″ mark they tend to attack cars driving by and small children, they have even been known to swallow fire hydrants alive). And while the city has plantings by the downtown library that exceed almost 5 feet, they waste tax dollars going after a resident, AFTER they promised a moratorium. Now that’s hypocrisy kids.

Why was the sheetrock provision amended from the building codes by the Sioux Falls City Council?

According to this Argus article, it would appear the Homebuilders Association knows more about fire safe materials then actual fire fighters. And why wouldn’t the council listen to them? Our fire department was practically dead silent about amending the provision.

Why didn’t Fire Chief Sideras come and speak about the importance of this issue? A Brandon firefighter died because of this exact problem. I can’t even fathom a fire department being absent from a discussion as important as this.

 “Ron Bell said last month the added layer of drywall would add between five and 10 minutes of structural life to floor trusses in the event of a fire.”

Not quite!

A 1/2” layer of ordinary sheetrock can add up to 30 minutes of additional protection to a floor truss delaying structural collapse. Ron isn’t a fire expert but a fire fighter like the chief or the fire marshal (Dean Lanier) could have easily provided that information.

Either one of them could also have reminded the council that many cities do not opt out sections of the International Fire Code when it is updated, they adopt it as is. (I.E., they don’t let the Homebuilder’s Associations run the show with scare tactics like “people won’t be able to afford houses anymore or it will add $3,000 on to the cost of a house (Notice they didn’t mention the square footage of that house).

“Putting that cap up, there is still going to be areas that will be exposed to those trusses and the airflow will go up in there,” said Council Chairman Kenny Anderson Jr. “I just don’t feel there’s enough data to show … that this will be effective.”

Airflow isn’t the problem, it’s when the flame gets to the metal gusset plate on the floor truss itself. Example: Take a hot pan on the stove on high heat. Put your hand above the pan 2” away. You can feel the heat, but you aren’t being burned. That’s airflow. Put your hand on the pan. You’re being burned, eventually to the third degree. (bet you wish you had that piece of drywall about now) See the difference?

Drywall will delay that for up to 30 minutes.

More Evidence;

www.1800drywall.ca

homerenovations.about.com

www.archives.nysed.gov

The fire department, Sideras, and the union have the data to show floor trusses are extremely dangerous under direct flame contact – that is why the fire code was changed to cover the trusses. They will fail within 5-10 minutes of direct flame contact. In some cases that’s before the fire department is even on scene. Changes to the fire code aren’t made lightly, they’re just as political and fought against at the national and international levels.

So did Sideras put his career ahead of the life safety of the 200+ firefighters under his “protection”?

“Citing cost concerns and a lack of effectiveness, councilors rejected the proposal Tuesday.”

They made the only decision they could come to considering they only had half of the facts – the ones provided by the homebuilder’s association and the incorrect ones provided by the building services director. Where was Sideras and what are we paying this fire chief for? But it also proves that our city council does very little research of their own relying solely on the shills that run the different departments.

(Note: A former firefighter/inspector contributed to this post)

 

Sioux Falls City Council accepting Public Input at what time?

As you saw in a previous post, the city council will be accepting public input on boulevard gardens tomorrow, but like the time your cable repairman says he will be by to fix your cable, the council seems to be taking the same approach;

Land Use Committee, *** 4:30 PM

*** Committee Meeting will start immediately following the adjournment of 4 pm Informational Meeting.

Which pretty much means anytime between 4:05-6:55 PM.

I brought this up on the Argus ‘100 Eyes’ show today, and Patrick Lalley agreed that it wasn’t a very good way of handling public input. He suggested a special meeting at a specific time to address an issue like this. I rarely agree with Pat, but he is right. Don’t tell us you are accepting public input, but can’t give us a specific time when it will occur. People have busy schedules and don’t have the luxury of sitting around for 3 hours waiting for an opportunity to speak. I will be surprised if anyone shows up, in which the council will use as an excuse that no one cares about the issue.

Funny how the council and mayor are always asking for ‘respect’ yet don’t show the same respect towards the people who pay their wages.

Boulevard Landscape Ordinance to be discussed w/Public Input

MEETING ON TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15TH AFTER 4:00 COUNCIL INFORMATIONAL MEETING

CARNEGIE TOWN HALL, Council requesting public input!

A proposed ordinance could affect hundreds of property owners who have landscaping in the boulevard area. Councilman Greg Jamison is putting together an ordinance which will address this issue. Many homeowners and businesses have worked to beatify this strip of land between the curb and the sidewalk. This ordinance could mandate that this landscaping be ripped out.

Areas that may be targeted are: medium to tall grasses, rocks of any kind, large boulders, mailboxes and landscaping by the driveway, corner plantings, fencing and shrubs on either side of the sidewalk, pavers and flowers. Several council members have told me that if this ordinance passes, the city will also be required to remove the rocks, daylilies, grasses and Russian Sage on city property. This would include the area by the downtown-library and the McKennan Park Boulevard.

Please call the men on the Land Use Committee and let them know how you feel about this effort. They are:

Greg Jamison 310-1930

Kenny Anderson261-5132

Kermit Staggers 376-4056

Rick Kiley 367-8102

It also would be beneficial if you called the representative for your district and the Mayor. You can get this information from the city clerk’s office 367-8081

There is a Land use committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, December 15th, after the 4:00 Council informational meeting.  The meeting will be at the Carnegie Town Hall.  Watch the Argus for further updates. They have assured me that they will cover this issue.

Theresa Stehly, 332-1363