Entries Tagged 'Code Enforcement' ↓

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.

Proposed Rental Registry ordinance gets sent back to the drawing board

During the land use committee meeting today several councilors and citizens (landlords) questioned the intent of the proposed ordinances and sent it back to the drawing board. One of the major questions ‘what is the incentive’ for signing up. City Attorney Paul Bengford could only offer that they could get in trouble if they don’t.

Wow, and they are all scratching their heads wondering why no one wants to sign up.

How about offering incentives for sign-up, here’s a few suggestions;

• Lower interest rates on community development loans for landlords trying to fix up properties.

• A possible TIF program for landlords.

• Better and brighter lighting (LED) around properties that are being upgraded and registered.

• A priority on street and curb repair around said properties.

See, that was not so hard. You can catch more bees with honey then with vinegar. If you want landlords to come in the fold, offer them a little something besides punishment.

2016 Code Enforcement Annual Report

Matt Tobias, Code Enforcement Czar will give his Annual Report Tuesday to the city council at the informational meeting. I will say this about Matt, I like his approach to code enforcement and by looking at the numbers it looks like he is taking a ‘softer’ approach. But there is a ton of work to do. I hope when the NEW administration takes over in 2018 they keep Matt on board and do a complete overhaul of code enforcement (Making it constitutional and all).

While they often brag over 90% compliance, it seems they struggle with collecting fines. You can see the full document here (DOC: code-enforcement)

South DaCola 2016 year in review (Part I)

art-maze-mower-lrArtMaze, one of the better parts of Sioux Falls life in 2016

2016 has been a rough year for citizen activism. While it has been up and down here in Sioux Falls with many successes and failures to boot, it seems Washington DC has gone into full collapse as we allowed racist, sexist, hillbillies to elect our president.

READ ABOUT 2015 REVIEW HERE.

But locally there were three things that stood out;

• Governor Daugaard claiming that voters were ‘hoodwinked’ into voting for IM 22, then getting the Pierre (in)justice system to go along with it. Funny how for over 40 years voters have been voting his party into power, and no word about ‘hoodwinking’ but once that corrupt power will be challenged, all the voters are idiots. As one official told me that used to work for Dennis, it’s not the public that are idiots, it’s Dennis. And his idiocy has been shining through.

• The South Dakota Democratic Party’s bottom completely fell out, and the people in charge patted themselves on the back. Insanity I tell you! Insanity!

• But one of the greatest achievements of the year is the Sioux Falls City Council’s change of power. The four new councilors have been flexing their muscles with a little help from Councilor Erickson, and while they have had a few missteps to start out, they have been learning from the battle scars. While ‘leadership’ of the council (Rolfing and Kiley) seem to be on a two man mission to rubberstamp all things Huether, shut down public input, and concoct false ethics charges against a fellow councilor (until they got caught lying like the snakes they are) they are becoming more and more in check. The city council has many big plans for 2017, and I have a feeling their agenda will push through easily as our lame duck mayor melts.

Let’s take a look at some the finer high and low points of 2016;

• The Huether Tennis center continues to block parking from other event attendees at the Sanford Sports complex though they basically stole $500K from taxpayers for the facility. Throughout the year there was several reports on cones and signs blocking the lot with not cars in it. But hey Mike’s Bride won an award this year and seemed surprised she did, without commenting that her check to the organization that gave the award wasn’t returned.

• The Sioux Falls City Council leadership and mayor’s HR department pulled a military retiree out of their asses for city clerk, a person who will be in charge of our city elections and hasn’t been registered to vote for years. He also proved his knowledge of official stamps when he stamped a petition without even bothering to read it. While Mr. Greco has gotten better over the year, the city clerk position should not be a $80K+ a year job as an apprentice, sadly being trained by one of his assistant clerks who has ten times the qualifications and applied for the position but was turned down. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the council chair’s view of women in the work place.

• Speaking of letting the mayor’s HR department and Leadership’s Mutt and Jeff pick the next internal auditor, the council barked loud enough that they did not want another ‘Greco’ pick. Not sure if the barking worked, but the person who was set to take the job saw the writing on the wall and turned it down. Hopefully the person who ultimately gets the position won’t be turned down because they shave their legs.

• The city continues to blow money on the Winter Wonderland Display, but the way the mayor has been cutting budgets these days, I expect next year’s display to be a couple of homeless barrel fire pits, sponsored by the Dudley House of course.

• After posting about the ridiculous corporate like raises the mayor has been giving to his management team, he turns around and still screws the minions with dismal raises again this year. I think in a special note to the city employees on their Christmas paystub he wrote, “I don’t care.”

• The city continues the FREE condom distribution program at area bars, and for some reason Monk’s is always emptied the quickest. Coincidence that is also a favorite watering hole of city managers . . .

• The Tuthill shooting case becomes ‘inactive’ and a tree branch shadow gets off scott free.

• The Erp wrongfully calls out local massage therapists as prejudice because they pointed out the ‘shower massages’ that were taking place around town. Apparently someone got a bad fortune cookie that day.

• The car rental tax and BID tax grabby-grabby fails in Sioux Falls, but the state legislature passes one of the most idiotic tax increases ever so our teachers are now just tied for last instead of dead last in pay. Out hoodwinking governor already has plans to rob the pot only one year after its passage.

• Hartford’s city government was in a state of collapse. Who really cares?

• The Levitt Pavilion is moving forward in Sioux Falls. It will be nice watching outdoor concerts sitting in the grass while battery acid is boiling beneath our asses.

• The Boulevard ordinance changes went into effect. Now stop worrying about rocks and plant a garden.

• The Washington Pavilion got a change of leadership after Darrin Smith takes over as President. So far he has only eliminated one director, but I hear the blood-letting has just begun. Now let’s throw another couple of million at the place to fix the poor construction to begin with. That will never happen with the Events Center . . .

• The Events Center cracks down on outside snacks and guns at events. We are all now safe from cheap fat people shooting us, but not in the parking lot.

• The Pottie Room war starts in Pierre and is guaranteed to return in 2017.

• A state legislator calls transgender people ‘twisted’. Now I’m struggling with what word to use describing our state legislators?

• A city council candidate throws a hissy fit over a post I wrote about his wife’s involvement with the Jesus plows and after threats to my employer I pull the post. He ends up taking last place in the at-large race. How’s Jesus working out for you now?

• Due to health reasons, Kermit Staggers decides not to run for a 4th term on the city council. His endorsement of Stehly puts her over the top.

• One of the youngest candidates in city history runs for city council. I apologize to Briggs for all the shitty things I said about him during the campaign.

• The Argus Leader sues the city for the details in the secret events center siding settlement. The Argus loses the first round but it is headed to the SD Supreme Court.

• On a similar note, the SON neighborhood is also awaiting a judgement in their Walmart suit with the SD Supreme Court.

• While our Sioux Falls City Council approves the DAPL through Sioux Falls, it takes thousands of protesters in ND to actually stop it. Too bad our city council chair doesn’t understand how to vote.

• The Mayor and Q-Tip Smith screwup the DT parking ramp development by flapping their traps to soon, and the council later on in the year returns the favor and defunds the ramp all together for 2017. I still think the fiasco is what got Smith to seek refuge at the Pavilion.

• City officials throw a hissy-fit over Bruce’s camera at a city meeting we were invited to by then city councilor Kenny Anderson. Looking back on it now, I just chuckle.

• Former city councilor Dean Karsky and now commissioner elect has become the official endorser in Sioux Falls.

• Bruce and I do a presentation on voter turnout in Sioux Falls at Democratic Forum and one of the mayor’s buddy developers in Sioux Falls tries to shut us down. When he fails, he walks out. Another casualty to transparency.

Does a private business have a 1st Amendment right to paint a mural on their property?

mural-disclaimer

Mural image; Argus Leader Media

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As a commenter pointed out, the irony of code enforcement cracking down on a private business for painting a mural, but allowing students to paint on publicly owned property their religious beliefs and being protected by a ‘disclaimer’ is a bit hypocritical. Could the business owner put a ‘disclaimer’ on the mural to exempt themselves from city code? Besides, the US Constitution is the highest law of the land, it trumps city charter.

Food for thought.

Is it time Sioux Falls changes the definition of business murals?

mommymural

Sometimes murals are obvious adverts, but sometimes they can be subtle and quite artistic;

“The purpose of the sign code is so people can advertise their business without overdoing it,” Jeff Schmitt of City planning and zoning said.

In other words, Jeff Schmitt with City Planning and Zoning says a business can have a sign, or it can have a mural, but it can’t have a mural as a sign.

“So is it a mural or is it a sign? Art is art, but a sign is what they put in the mural,” Schmitt said.

While I understand the city’s argument on this, I think it is okay for a mural to be an advertisement for a business as long as it doesn’t use words or lettering and artistic in nature, such as this mural is.

Gaddis, who admits she didn’t check City code, spent a lot of money having the mural painted. Now she’s being told it’ll have to be painted over or she’ll face multiple fines until she complies.

Yeah, Big Daddy doesn’t like it when you don’t ask for permission. I think it is time to get more lax on the mural laws.

Should the city of Sioux Falls prohibit RV parking in retail parking lots?

No matter what side you sit on this argument, it is clear that the law is unclear;

The city made a handshake agreement barring overnight RV parking into the permits for both stores, Cooper said.

“If you’re going to occupy a vehicle such as an RV overnight, you are required to be in a campground,” Cooper said. “We have licensed campgrounds and truck stops within the city limits for overnight parking.”

There’s a catch to this “requirement,” however, in that there isn’t actually a “requirement” in a strictly legal sense. There is no ordinance prohibiting RVs in commercial parking lots.

In my opinion, handshake agreements with a municipal government just doesn’t fly. Instead of having Walmart decide who can and cannot park in their lots, the city should either implement a city wide ordinance that RV camping in retail parking lots is prohibited, or have NO ordinance at all.

Either way, I personally think it should be prohibited. We have truck stops, camp grounds and rest stops for that reason. I remember one time I drove past the WM on Louise, and an RV was parked in the lot, they had out their lawn chairs and were BBQ’ing next to the RV. This is silly. How would you feel if you pulled into the HyVee lot and you saw a tent setup with people sleeping inside? How is that any different? It’s not. Community’s have campgrounds for this reason.