Entries Tagged 'Code Enforcement' ↓

Code Enforcement 2015 Annual Report

The new code enforcement director Matt Tobias just released the 2015 annual report (DOC: CODE-ENFORCEMENT-2015 )

It is an interesting read I won’t get into to much. But the way fines are collected, is an interesting read, also the amount of properties that are ceased and demolished.

DaCola plans a post soon about ‘what happens’ to the seized property. Stay tuned.

Project NICE? More Like Project Nosey.


Click to Enlarge

‘Paid For’ Yard Sign debate


A foot soldier pointed out to me that he has noticed several political yard signs without a ‘paid for’ on the bottom of them (Paulson & Srstka did not), and he was unsure of others. I know that Stehly, Noble and Neitzert do have the disclaimer on them. But it begs the question if ‘paid for’ is no longer needed on yard signs, there is no city ordinance on the topic, but there is state law, which is about as clear as mud;

12-27-15.   Printed political communications to contain certain language–Exceptions–Violation as misdemeanor. Any printed material or communication made, purchased, paid for, or authorized by a candidate, political committee, or political party which expressly advocates for or against a candidate, public office holder, ballot question, or political party shall prominently display or clearly speak the statement: “Paid for by (Name of candidate, political committee, or political party).” This section does not apply to buttons, balloons, pins, pens, matchbooks, clothing, or similar small items upon which the inclusion of the statement would be impracticable. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Signs are not mentioned in the law, so one wonders if they are NOT exempt. Any lawyers in the house want to chime in?

1st Reading of new Parking Strip (Boulevard) ordinance

While I find most of it agreeable (or as I have told advocates, it won’t change what it is in my boulevard). (Item #46, DOC; PS_O) The section regarding mailboxes, especially ones that are more permanent (like brickwork) may be a little concerned. As I understand it as I read it below (I think) if a utility company, or the city destroys your structure, you are responsible for the loss, and it also looks like you won’t be able to replace it like it was.


I totally understand in an emergency situation, but if it is scheduled work, there is no reason these cannot be preserved.

I wouldn’t want either across the street from me

Some times you have to make sacrifices if you want to live in a certain part of town, or should you? I live in the landing flight pass of the airport, 2 blocks from where hospital helicopter takes off from, 4 railroad tracks, several bars and casinos and a busy arterial street. But I like my location and my mortgage payment, so I drown out the noise.

These neighbors seem to be arguing over whether they want a plastic or metal trash can next to their homes;

A Sioux Falls man says his business neighbor is in clear violation of city zoning rules.

Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc. is a salvage yard, Bernie Schmidt says, an industrial-grade business that doesn’t belong next to a residential neighborhood.

The city says the 11-acre business is a “vehicle storage and auction facility,” fully compliant with rules for a light industrial zone and capable of harmonious coexistence with residential neighbors.

The distinction is important: Salvage yards aren’t permitted in light industrial zones. Wholesaling and manufacturing facilities are.

Kind of sounds like they are splitting hairs. Inoperable vehicles sitting in a ‘yard’ kind of makes it a ‘salvage’ yard. Either way, I wouldn’t want to live door to neither.

But the interesting part of the story is how the county and city look at things differently;

City officials say Tiede’s ruling isn’t binding for the city, which uses different zoning language than the county.

This happens quite often, and the city often bucks the county to get their way. I wish the neighbors luck.

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


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:





Bruce Danielson


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


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


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


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.