Entries Tagged 'Developers' ↓

The Argus Leader ‘almost’ tells the whole story about TIF’s

oz

So I got a tip this week that the Argus was working on a story about TIF’s and how King Huether may be manipulating the application process (or just shredding the applications all together).

Yawn. He manipulates many things, old news.

Apparently, some developers are mad he has been refusing to process their TIF applications.

There’s strong interest in the business community about TIFs, but some developers have been warned that they shouldn’t apply.

And who are these mystery ‘developers’? Not that I am defending the mayor or Darrin Smith, but if these folks are so upset about the process, why not give their name to the Argus and go on record. See, because I know some of the names, as do many councilors and journalists in our community. So please, fess up. Change doesn’t happen behind the wall of secrecy, it requires transparency.

Wait, one came forward;

Last year, Lloyd Cos. shelved its vision for redeveloping seven acres on the Communications Service for the Deaf campus in east Sioux Falls after being discouraged by the city from applying for tax increment financing.

Oh, boy, we must be in panic mode now since the welfare queen of TIF’s got denied. If Lloyd can’t get a TIF, nobody can. I wonder also in the 26 month period if development investor Mrs. Mike (Cindy) Heuther was denied any more TIF’s? Seems Mike likes sleeping on the couch.

Oh, but wait, the state likes to get in on the bitchfest also;

The result of this off-the-books policy means that projects are being turned away by Mayor Mike Huether’s administration without there being a formal application and paper trail. The projects in question include downtown developments as well as multimillion dollar manufacturing facilities that would bring hundreds of new jobs to the city.

Pat Costello, the commissioner of economic development for Gov. Dennis Daugaard, said there are manufacturing businesses that have considered building in Sioux Falls. Those projects are in limbo in part because the city won’t agree to TIFs.

“They have certainly showed their reluctance to do TIFs,” Costello said. “They’ve repeatedly been approached by a number of different entities for a number of different TIFs for a lot of reasons.”

And those companies are . . .? Oh, right, back to them getting skiddish like a pregnant ewe in the corner of the barn staring down a starving coyote if they share their names.

I wouldn’t doubt it was this company pissing off the mayor at a Minerva’s luncheon.

Like I said above, if you want the mayor to stop acting like a dictator you have to start using your rights of freedom of speech, and you gotta start using your name.

Is the city of Sioux Falls following their own rules on TIF’s?

According to the city;

The City has effectively and reasonably used TIF as a development incentive for blighted areas within the core of our community.

Tax Increment Financing assists local governments in attracting private development and new businesses into blighted areas.

As you can see, the city’s policy is to use TIF’s for blighted areas. So what is blighted about the current TIF request downtown? A developer is looking to build apartments just North of Sunshine grocery store downtown. Currently the Tyler building and parking exist at this location. As far as I can tell, the Tyler building is still useable and NOT blighted. Besides the expense of tearing down a building, there really is NO blight involved. So what is the TIF applicant asking for? Are they applying for the TIF for demolition purposes? That isn’t a definition of blight in my opinion;

An area of a city, often a large metropolitan city, in which most buildings are abandoned or in severe disrepair. See also brownfield site, greenfield site.

The townhouses being built across the street actually had to demolish (blighted) homes before building, and it was done without the use of a TIF. So what is the difference? There really isn’t one. I understand that property downtown IS more expensive than in other areas of town, but that also relates into a ‘better investment’ return for the developer once a project is completed. Unless the planning commission and city council can find some kind of ‘blight’ in the Tyler Building area, I recommend they deny the TIF request.

I have also heard there are rumblings of another TIF request for a new retail/office/residential mixed use building near the Washington Pavilion. The rumored proposed area is ALSO not blighted.

The mayor often talks about letting FREE enterprise do what they want to without a lot of government intervention. I would agree, and that is the exact reason why the city should get out of the business of subsidizing free enterprise with property tax rebates and let them sink or swim on their own.

Darrin Smith gets Tifilicious at the County Commission meeting

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(starts at 20:30)

Funny how the commission gets to see this presentation before the council – or at least I can’t recall the council getting the presentation yet?

Darrin explains TIFs before the new TIF presentation. While he is correct that TIFs don’t cost taxpayers up front (even though we are footing the bill to administer them) we are losing property tax revenue for several years. Basically the developers are paying themselves property taxes and using the money to pay for the development.

Is city planner Jeff Schmidt an elitist?

Okay, now that I have your attention, I don’t think he is, but he does think highly of himself.

Great Hair.

He came to speak at Democratic Forum today, and I did enjoy his opening joke (sorry no audio or visual, so I scratched this down from memory). After explaining what the Planning Department does, Jeff says this;

“I’m not a member of the city council, because I actually do something.”

He certainly believes that the Planning Department has a lot of power, and they do, if they don’t have checks and balances, and maybe that is what his joke was about, his department is unchecked by the city’s legislative branch.

So I decided to question Jeff about this, I mentioned to him at the mayor’s last Shut up and Listen session that the mayor said there was ‘nothing’ the city could do to limit zoning of car lots because he believes in free enterprise, so I said to Jeff,

“Just because the planning department and planning commission recommend something and vote for it doesn’t mean the city council has to approve it?”

He of course talked about how the planning department and commission must follow zoning laws, etc, and I nodded in agreement, he eluded that if the city council ‘doesn’t like someone’ they can vote against them or follow recommendations. (which is funny, because the department and commission have voted against several entities that they didn’t care for politically that were well within their legal rights)

So I followed up and said, “But the council has the power as elected officials to vote against a re-zone?” and Jeff said, “Yes.”

I found the exchange interesting, because while I knew the answer, I was surprised, first off, that Jeff answered it honestly. But what took me back more is that Jeff doesn’t understand the importance of elected officials versus appointed public employees. Our city council is our check against the mayor’s administration and public employees. And while everything is well and good on paper at city hall, the public may not want a freaking disgusting car lot fly by night operation next to them, and that is the power of our city’s legislative branch to say NO, and they have that power, and they should exercise it, because as Jeff says, they need something to do.

UPDATE: Not much influence?

UPDATE: HERE ARE THE DETAILS OF THE PIPELINE PROPOSAL

Oil-Pipeline-Good-practices1

We don’t have time for no stinking oil pipelines!

I was partially confused yesterday at the city council informational meeting when I heard Councilor Erpenbach talk about an upcoming joint Minnehaha & Lincoln County commission meeting next week (I think Tuesday afternoon at Carnegie). The meeting will be an informational from the Dakota Access (Baaken pipeline) People.

As we have discussed in the past, the pipeline will be coming very close to the city and through Lincoln and Minnehaha counties. What shocked me was when Michelle didn’t seem to see the importance of the meeting when she said,

“We don’t have much influence over that . . . the PUC has to grant the permit.”

While this is true the county commissions and the city council also have to approve zoning for these projects, and should be VERY involved with the process. For someone who calls herself a self-proclaimed ‘Government Nerd’ she better get to ‘Nerding Up’ on some of her job duties.

GOT TIFs?

Well it has been over two years, and no one has applied for a TIF (imagine that, record building permits in 2014-thank you hailstorms-and we did it without issuing one single TIF) As I have often pointed out, development in Sioux Falls will steam ahead, with or without TIF’s.

A Sioux Falls developer is seeking a tax increment financing (TIF) designation to build an 80-unit affordable housing complex next to Sunshine Foods downtown.

Legacy Development and Consulting Co. is seeking a TIF for a project it wants to construct at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and 13th Street, or just north across from Sunshine.

As we all know, I am not a fan of TIF’s, they take money out of the county for prosecuting criminals and money from public schools. But I will play the devil’s advocate on this one, using the criteria that TIF’s are mainly used to clean up blithed areas I am puzzled by this request. This seems like a pretty simple project, leveling a few buildings, tearing up a parking lot and slopping up some middle to lower income apartments. Seems like a very profitable venture for anyone with the capital to invest in this project. I see NO need for a TIF. If Legacy cannot get a bank loan to fund this, it’s not the TIF that is holding them back, it’s their credit rating.

 

Re-Zone on Holly Avenue

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The ‘100 Eyed Spaghetti News’ did a story today about the rezone to commercial property on Holly Avenue next to residential. You can read all the juicy details here (Item #25).

I really don’t see an issue with the rezone, and if I was sitting on the council I would vote to approve it. While it is close to residential housing, you must realize it is only a block off of 41st street. I have friends who live 2 Blocks North of 41st street near Western Avenue, and I don’t think they have ever seen any bad effects of retail near them. In fact, it is a pretty quiet neighborhood.

What I found ironic about the rezone was the petitioner, Lloyd Companies and councilor Erpenbach’s reaction to the rezoning proposal;

That’s probably true, Erpenbach said. But she wasn’t picking up that sentiment in any of the letters she was reading on this issue.

“For now, I take the other side of the fence,” she said. “There are people living there, and continue to live there, and they would have to put up with the construction and the additional traffic. I want to hear from them. We need to hear their voices.”

Michelle, should I laugh now, or wait until you vote for this tonight? One of your largest campaign donors, Lloyd is asking for a re-zone, I’m pretty sure you don’t give two snits about what the residents think. We know the only thing you listen to is the sound of a check being signed by another developer donating to your campaign. You will vote yes tonight after you explain to us how you are satisfied with the fencing, berm and buffering. Do you need me to write you the script? I can email it to you?

I also find the Lloyd connection interesting because they are requesting they encroach into residential to expand retail, yet when Lloyd received a TIF downtown for condos and retail, he had to change it to all condos and no retail because retail just couldn’t be supported at that complex.

You know what, I think I just changed my mind, I don’t think any residential should be rezoned to commercial in this city until we have filled all of the other vacant retail space in town. Of course, that would require developers to get more creative, and who needs creativity when you can just donate a couple of grand to a councilor’s campaign, it’s a much easier and cheaper way to go.

Didn’t we just have this PC a couple of weeks ago?

I guess no one was listening or cared about a record breaking (Hail Storming) building permits in Sioux Falls last year, so let’s have a re-run;

2014 End-of-Year Building Permit Stats Are In! A Record-Breaking Year News Conference on Monday

 

What:  News conference to announce end-of-year building permit totals for 2014 and preview what’s ahead in 2015
 When: Monday, January 5, 2015
11 a.m.
 Where: City Hall Commission Room
224 West Ninth Street
 Who: Mike Cooper, Director of Planning and Building Services
Ron Bell, Chief Building Official
 Why: Sioux Falls building permits broke three different records in 2014. Come to the news conference to learn which records were broken and what the statistics mean for 2015.
 Visuals: Charts, graphs

Like I have mentioned before, wouldn’t have happened without the hail storm. I talked to a roofer the other day that said a lot of impatient homeowners used out-of-state (cheap) companies and we will probably seeing the effects of that in a couple of years. He also told me he already has 45 re-roof jobs lined up for the Spring, so it seems like the damage that needs to be repaired from the hail storms is still trickling in.

In other city news, I see Cory Madville did a great post about Big Brother using our cell phone data to track us;

Mayor Huether could buy more detailed information about Scott Ehrisman’s weekly travel habits. Mayor Huether could buy more detailed data, divide distance by time, mass-mail speeding tickets to every phone user who gets across town in under fifteen minutes. He could buy cell phone data to calculate road usage and send every driver a bill for road usage, essentially turning every street into a toll road. No federal legislation stops him. The Obama Administration says (and the courts so far agree) cell phone users have no reasonable expectation of locational privacy. The only things stopping Mayor Huether from such invasions of privacy are cost and good will:

What concerns me even more is that the traffic department is doing this kind of research using our tax dollars and without prior approval from the city council. Heck, I think most of them didn’t even know about it until they saw it in the newspaper. But hey, what do you expect from the most transparent mayor we have ever had?

The largest Pawn Shop plan, tell me it isn’t so Scott!

tifpawn

Here is the details of what is being proposed for Badlands Pawn (Item#6). What I find interesting is that Scott Hoy is also listed as an owner. Scott, PLEASE STOP! Hopefully nobody buys video games at the Pawn Shop and plays them in the backseat of a car.

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Planning Commission to get TIF briefing

I found this interesting and something perhaps to watch;

Prior to the monthly Planning Commission public hearing, the City of Sioux Falls Planning Commission will be having a briefing on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, at 12 noon. The briefing consists of the items on the upcoming January 7 Commission meeting agenda, and then the members will adjourn to be briefed by the staff on a Tax Increment Financing project.

The briefing will be held at City Hall in the Commission Room on first floor, 224 West Ninth Street. More information on Planning Commission hearings, agendas, and other items is available at www.siouxfalls.org/planning-commission and is posted at the specific public facilities.

I am not aware of any projects pending, but if there is, I can almost guarantee they will have either Lloyd’s or, ah, Lloyd’s name attached to it ;)

I also find it interesting the ‘briefing’ must take place at noon at city hall instead of during their regular meeting that night at Carnegie (perhaps because the cameras won’t be rolling at the old commissions chambers).

How ‘Executive’ & ‘Hip’ we have become. I’m almost blushing with pride.

Nothing like taking money out of the public school and county’s kitty and building luxury quarters for the rich in Sioux Falls.

Downtown residential development in Sioux Falls had lagged that of other cities, despite the central presence of beautiful Falls Park. But things picked up after city leaders worked to attract more commercial activity. Hospitals, banks, hotels, and others moved in. Craig Lloyd, CEO of Lloyd Co., made the $2 million, winning bid for a city-owned brownfield, using tax increment financing to improve the site. He rehabbed two buildings, demolished another, and built three apartment buildings. 

Funny how they forgot to mention Lloyd went back on their promise to have retail on the first floor, but still gave them the TIF anyway. Who runs this town? Good question.