Entries Tagged 'Developers' ↓

The proposed Southside Walmart has only one access, and no plans for more


There has been plenty of talk about the traffic studies by the proposed SS Walmart before the election, but the facts about access to the retailer were murky. A resident in the SON neighborhood recently spoke with a regional engineer (RE) with the SD DOT, here were the results of there teleconference;

Widening Highway 115 is rescheduled to 2017; this is due to not getting it approved by the state for 2015. The City was going to work on Cliff Ave and the State thought they should wait with the widening project. For 2016, any projects approved and scheduled prior to the last budget were funded, Highway 115 was not. So 2017 seemed the most appropriate time to do the work.

In July 2014, state-wide STIP meetings, to plan projects by DOT were held. They were open to the public (not sure where, probably Mitchell or Pierre) for statewide projects.  Aug to Sept will be the Transportation Commissioners’ meeting to approve projects for 2017. I’m not sure if we could get to communicate with this Board or not.  Usually approved once projects get this far.

One item for SD Highway 115 widening is the right of way. The RE said needs to be sorted through to get them right.

I also told him that 85th from Cliff to Highway 115 had not been asphalted this year as the City had planned. The purpose of this was mostly to provide the detour for Highway 115 widening.

According to The RE, the City is planning to hire a private developer to fix Twin Eagles pond. We had discussed how it floods at least once a year and how the rise in the water table has occurred; how the water keeps recycling through the sump pumps and sits saturated on the south side of 85th. Apparently, the City drainage engineers are trying to see if they can redirect some of the drainage to Heatheridge, as they are draining too much down Mustang and Grange).

The City will supposedly place a retention pond near Highway 100 and one farther south to County Rd 106 just west of Highway 115 (this area was a lake in June 2014). I asked if he knew about the other developments behind Jeff G.’s property and also about the road that more than likely will be put in over to Western Ave.  He was not aware of this.

The State most likely will not be able to tell the City what to do for engineering of drainage. The state will try to do all the highways with 100-year flood levels. I asked if they are redefining those since we are getting them every 2 years, they aren’t. They will also not do drainage studies from the existing areas and new areas and will rely on Sioux Falls.

He was aware of the building issue at 85th and Minn. and the court action pending that is pending. The State is planning to put signal lights at that intersection.  The City is responsible to build out 85th to the 4 lanes at least up to the entrance to the retail development.

So, it looks like the development will have only one intersection in and out until 2017 and will not have the right in/right out on Minnesota. I asked about why the 1/4 mile could not be allowed and maybe push Highway 100 south a bit; he said it would impact the environmental reviews that had just been approved. I don’t think they want to rework the routing. He thing that there will be no more instances of turning over control to the city (like north of 85th).

I’m sure the little driveway approach that is closer to Minn. on 85th on the south side will probably be the construction access.

For the part of Highway 100 that will be NE from Menards north to I90, this will be in 2018.  This will happen before the South will be done. DOT people should have public meetings to show the plans for this road and the bridge over I-90 to Cty121.

The South part will not be started until after 2018. They will be working on designs and right of way purchases. It could be that the DOT may have some shared responsibility with the City on the retention ponds. DOT does not usually deal with retention ponds, but appears they might this time. He thought the City of Sioux Falls would push its southern boundaries to County Rd 106/Highway 115 area.

I asked him how much of WM’s traffic study report from Kimberly Horn DOT had read as WM’s opening day depends on certain roads and traffic signals being completed. That report failed even with the RIRO on Highway 115 and the widening project done. He said that some of the other engineers have reviewed it and that is why they are putting in the traffic signal at the Minn. and 85th intersection.  It seems they will not supersede the city on that.

I’m sure they learned from the Hwy11 disaster. I think they slowed down due to the loss of the Shindler Lawsuit.

Let’s hope they have the access where it was to be on 85th (300 ft east), and not all the way to Audie.  This would also help the Charis corner development across the street.


City Government Time Machine; Platting Fee Boondoggle, 9/15/08

Last night at the regular city council meeting a citizen brought up the failure of the platting fee idea to raise money for arterial roads, and he ultimately said ‘It should be repealed’.

I couldn’t agree more, it has been a complete failure, the plan that is.

In reality when the plan was proposed on September 15, 2008 (watch the meeting here).

It may have sounded good. It was simple, they would raise the 2nd penny tax to a full penny to help pay for arterial roads. The second part of the plan was what made it attractive. While raising the penny would help pay for 40% of the arterial roads, the developers would chip in 60% in platting fees.

That HAS not occurred. In fact they haven’t even come close to probably 4-5%. And while over the past 6 years the citizen taxpayers were putting in their share, the developers have contributed very little. Heck even a few years ago, a developer complained at a council meeting that the city wasn’t holding up their end of the deal by not building enough arterial roads like they promised. This developer was told, and rightly so, once the developers hold up their part of the deal the city would chip in.

When ever this is brought up (the terms we were sold) the developers have all kinds of excuses;

• The economy took a dump

(at the meeting that night, one proponent brought up the economy tanking, in fact that day, the dow dropped a record amount. The economy downturn was ALL over the news, but somehow SF developers thought they were immune. Ask them today about that immunity)

• They claimed they never said they would put in 60%

(over the past six years I have heard this LIE. Repeatedly during the above meeting the proponents said over and over again they would put in 60%. There was even a taxpayer funded website the city put up called movingsiouxfallsforward.org that claimed this amount.

• Public Works Director, Mark Cotter even repeated the plan

(He told Staggers in the meeting (1:06) that the plan was that the CIP would put in $35 million, the 2nd penny raise would put in $20 million and the developers would put in $30 million over the following 6 years. That has not even been a reality, not even close.

• As one opponent points out during testimony, there was nothing in the proposal to ‘legally bind’ the developers to put in what they promised. Nothing.

• And now that the economy has turned around and building is booming in Sioux Falls, will developers give us back pay on these platting fees to at least match what taxpayers had to put in (during an economic downturn) Of course not, just more excuses.

• The vote went down 4-4 with Munson breaking the tie and voting for the increase. Councilors Staggers, Costello, Beninga, Anderson voted against the increase and Councilors Brown, Knudson, Litz and Jamison voted for the increase.

• Even though this plan did fail, and the developers haven’t put their fair share in over the last 6 years, it hasn’t stunted growth at all. Why? Because once again, the taxpayers of SF have been bailing out the developers.

Some ‘Other’ highlights of the meeting;

• Mayor Munson gaveling me at the beginning of the meeting during public testimony when I made the accusation that the ethics commission were puppets for the administration. After he chews me out and tells me they are independent, I asked him, “But you appointed them? Correct?” He answered yes.

• Vernon Brown flipped his vote. When this first came up months earlier, Vern voted against it, this night he voted for it.

• Kermit points out that they weren’t following the proper state law to pass the platting fees (taxes) and should not even been voting on it.

• All the Proponents got to go first to testify, while the opponents had to wait almost 2 1/2 hours, instead of alternating speakers.

• Another funny moment was when Bill Peterson told Staggers that people weren’t flocking to move to Minot, ND to live anytime soon.


My KELO interview a year after the tax increase

DaCola Links

Sometimes the City Council gets it right . . . sometimes

As I have watched this city government over the years, I often get suspicious when they do the exact opposite of what they normally do (Item #31). Usually they rubberstamp developer plans and kind of thumb their noses at individual property owners. Last night they took a left turn, denying a new development;

After being deferred twice over the summer, a proposed 17-lot development is receiving scrutiny after neighbors just to the south feel that they’ve been misled about what would be done near their homes.

“I’m a little confused because I thought the reason this got deferred twice was that Mr. Cooper was working on a solution for our questions and concerns, but I haven’t seen that so far,” homeowner Todd Miller said.

The Canterbury Heights neighborhood has one main road that is used as an entrance and an exit, which both homeowners and city council members see as a major safety concern.

“All of you guys are nice guys and you work really hard and you do great things for the city, but I am so disappointed for how these people have been treated, I can hardly say,” council member Michelle Erpenbach said.

“It’s unfortunate, these homeowners have had to live in a half-developed development, and they’re going to have to stay that way until many years,” council member Greg Jamison said.

On a vote of 1 to 7, the new development was rejected. Neighbors and city council members hope to work together to make sure an additional major access road is added. At that point, the additional development would likely be submitted again.

First off, who is Erpenbach talking about? The developers or the city staff? Probably both. It seems the planning department tried to pull another fast one and ramrod a project through without due diligence, they even roped a city fire marshal into going along with it. No doubt, the council was right to deny this development until the roads are completed to the existing development. A two track dirt road doesn’t count as an access road, in my opinion, only an emergency escape, when maintained.

But there are some factors to consider, and maybe why Staggers voted for the project. As I have said in the past, when you build your home on the edge of the city’s boonies, you can’t expect all the amentities that go with it, no matter what you have been told by the builder. But the existing development was promised finished roads. Here lies the problem. What incentive does the developer have to finish these roads? Will they finish them simply so they can move forward with the new development? Maybe, but that’s a gamble. I believe the city council’s denial only set the taxpayers of Sioux Falls up to finish the roads out there. This could have been solved before it got this far. The Planning Department and Planning Commission could have required the builder to finish roads while building the new development as a stipulation/package. As far as I can tell, that didn’t happen. Maybe I am completely wrong (and often I am) but I think this denial is only going to cost the rest of us, not the developer. Sometimes I feel sorry for the city council, because they are often given very little information before a vote, and when they do vote, it is too late to fix the initial problems with the planned development. We can partially blame the mayor’s office and the departments he manages, but the council should have a little personal responsibility in this by researching these projects before they vote.

Lately I have been watching the Minnehaha County Commission meetings, they operate much differently than the city council. When they need answers they drag the department heads in front of them and ask them. If they don’t have the answers, they defer projects until those departments give them answers. The city council should have done the same, and maybe some of them did, and were misled by city directors hell bent on protecting their own asses and jobs and doing what the boss tells them to do.

This is no way to legislate a city, and last night was proof of it. When government is transparent in their processes everyone leaves happy, the winners and losers, sometimes.

TIF rebate well spent


Looks like the reviews are not the only thing falling to pieces at the new Hilton.

I searched our local news to see if anyone was covering this story, and found nothing. Not saying that none of them covered it, but it seems to be off the radar screen like a KDLT weather forecast.

The retaining wall at the Hilton fell over. There are many reasons this could have happened. I am not a landscaper, but one told me it could be a combination of bad backfill, improper stones and placement and probably heavy rains, either way, it failed, and it is only a year old. Thank goodness no one was on the bike trail when it happened.

This property received a TIF, and a bulkhead subsidy from the city and this is how that money is being spent, on shoddy work.

This is what happens when growth is too fast and not well managed. I am all for progression in our city, but it must be done right and well thought out.

It ain’t over until the fat lady sings while eating her salty snacks from Walmart

As I suspected, the SD Supreme Court upheld the circuit court’s decision to allow the zoning for a 4th Walmart in Sioux Falls;
The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s decision, allowing the annexation of land into the city which is now slated for a Walmart store.

The appellants are a group of residents near the site calling themselves Save Our Neighborhood. The group has argued that the land annexation was illegal because the city didn’t first get Lincoln County’s approval.

It was a long shot to begin with, but worth it. But this isn’t the end of the fight. Besides the fact that drainage is a serious issue in that neighborhood, as we saw this past week, there was another court filing by the SON group. Shortly after the election, SON filed a suit contesting the misleading ballot language. One of the main complaints was the mention of Walmart in the language. The ballot question was about re-zoning, not about Walmart specifically. The re-zone would allow any kind of large retailer to build there. In fact, as I understand it, Walmart only has a purchase agreement with the Homan family. If Walmart isn’t granted a building permit, they will have no financial obligation to purchase the land.
The city has yet to respond to the ballot language suit, or at least I have not seen anything in the media about it. Since WM won today, I wonder if they will ask the city to issue them a building permit (the only thing WM has left to do). Or will the city respond to the suit first? Of course that would require fairness and common sense from the city attorney’s office.
One can only guess what this Planning Department, Mayor and City Attorney will do, but I can guarantee whatever it is, it won’t be in the best interest of the SON neighborhood or the citizens of Sioux Falls.


Look who is getting another handout

Guess who is working on the YMCA apartment project? I will give you one guess . . . (Item #1)


One of the largest facade handouts ever. I don’t have a problem with helping downtown and city wide businesses with preserving their structures, where I don’t agree is handouts. I think it should be given with a low interest or zero interest loan, but not a handout.

How’s that Sid’s facade working out?

Will the Prairie Meadows residents be able to afford annexation?

These numbers seem at bit daunting when it comes to cost of the annexation (DOC: PrairieMeadowsAnnex;
 Distributed on an individual lot basis per front foot.
 Sanitary Sewer – 3% for 20 years
 Water Main – 3% for 20 years
 Storm Sewer and Curb and Gutter – 3% for 20 years
 Surfacing, Sidewalk & Lights – 5.75% for 20 years
While the 3% interest rate doesn’t look to bad, the almost 6% rate seems a little high, especially for a neighborhood that may not NEED sidewalk and street lights. I will be interesting to see how this plays out.

More proposed handouts DTSF to those who really don’t need it

Look who is belly up to the trough again looking for tax payer funded incentives;


Promoting the use and conservation of historic properties for the education, inspiration, pleasure and enrichment of the citizens of Sioux Falls

Draft, Meeting Minutes for the meeting held on April 9, 2014

Façade Easement application – YMCA building

Erica Beck (Lloyd Companies) and Katie Krantz explained the YMCA Housing Initiative Limited Partnership project façade easement application in detail. Since it is a corner lot situation, the easement application is requesting funds for two street facing sides of the building. The amount requested is $125,000.  This item was informational only.

FYI:  That would be $125,000 out of a total budget of $200,000 for 2014. So I guess TIF’s are NOT enough for the Lloyd Companies, they must also chip away at façade money, and take over 60% of the budget for one project. I guess others seeking façade money will have to fight over the crumbs and scraps.

Then there is the mysterious DTSF ‘Incubator’ program;

The pilot program has access to $100,000 as part of a former development incentive fund that it will use to award applicants until the funds are gone.

And just exactly where did this ‘fund’ come from? Community Development? Federal Funds? City funds? Property taxes? Private dollars? While I don’t have a problem with the incubator program, it would sure be nice if someone from DTSF would explain the details of the funding.

Comments to land annexation hearing further proof that some SF voters are extremely misinformed, and kind of stupid


The story about the land annexation SD Supreme Court hearing today in Pierre gathered some interesting FB comments. They mostly speak for themselves, but it seems most don’t even know that this hearing has been pending months before the city election, of course, these people think that when you appeal to the SC they will hear your arguments in a couple of weeks? LOL, sometimes it takes a year. Also, they don’t realize that this is the 3rd time the zoning has been attempted to be changed on the neighbors. This is a property rights issue that could happen in ANY neighborhood in this city. Ask Whittier how the city rolls. This could happen to you next. Are you willing to fight?

“unreal how these morons can waste time and money and the courts time, perhaps we the people can sue them for prohibiting our future”

Yes, because, NOT having a 4th Walmart in Sioux Falls, would ruin our future.

“They wanted the public to vote on it, so it was voted on. People determined that they wanted the Walmart by a large margin. Thanks for continuing to waste taxpayers money. I can’t wait for the SC Justices to deny their appeal, so the store can get underway.”

First off it will take a couple of months before they render an opinion, and secondly, the only one wasting  tax dollars is the city by misleading voters on the issue in advocational sessions and handing over millions in infrastructure upgrades for Walmart. A couple of court cases and an election is a miniscule cost to what we will be ponying up for Walmart.

“one thing about those supposed ‘rich snobs’ that are invading our city, they still don’t think they have to abide by anyone’s rules and laws but their own. sickening and disgusting, and they don’t belong here!”

Are you talking about Walmart? Because I agree 100%

“Think of how many hungry children in our community could have been fed with the amount of money these people have wasted. Get over it you lost, time to move on with life.”

Yes, blame them for the hungry children in our community. Well at least if you get a job at Walmart you will be eligible for food stamps to feed your children.

“For cripes sake, it’s not like a fracking operation is going to be drilling at that location. This matter of annexation and Lincoln County was already decided on.”

Uh, no it hasn’t, that is why it went to the SC.

“Just give the retarded people another useless Walmart. A little city like Sioux Falls really needs a 4th one. Lmao!”

I know people with Down Syndrome that have about 200% more common sense then some of these commenters, you are being to nice.

“Wow Listo, your ignorance is showing by the awful choice of words you displayed in your comment. Do you really think Wal-Mart didn’t conduct market research before they decided to build a new one? The market shows they’re needed, therefore, they will keep building. It’s called supply and demand, but someone as small as you probably can’t comprehend that basic economic principle.”

You are right, Walmart hasn’t defeated every single locally owned retailer yet, so they needed to build this store to get it accomplished. Ask Yankton how their Walmart worked out for them.

“Listo Harbor It’s not only about serving the current size of Sioux Falls, but the growth. The city is growing pretty rapidly, and need the services in place in order to meet the demand from consumers.”

Yeah, we NEED a 4th Walmart like we NEED a hole in our heads. I haven’t shopped at Walmart in years, and if they all left town tomorrow, the community would be fine, and growth would continue. To tell you the truth, we might be BETTER OFF without them sucking our tax dollars and paying low wages.

“I moved to the east side of town and have been going to the Walmart over here. I noticed most of the things buy on a regular basis has gone up one dollar. Ive noticed some thing advertised on sale that are actually a dollar higher.”

Walmart using trickery in their advertising?! Get the F’ck outta here! If you had half a brain, you would realize that Walmart’s prices are not much different then other retailers.

“Such a waste of the Justice’s time.”

Yes, because who cares about zoning and annexation laws? We should just get rid of those laws all together so I can build a shooting range  and lion’s den in my backyard.

“This is absolutely absurd that people can act like this. If you don’t like what is going in your neighborhood move! Good riddance!”

They were there first, this is the THIRD time the zoning has been changed since 75% have built their homes. IMO, if Walmart doesn’t like the neighbors wishes, they can build elsewhere.


Will ‘Shape Places’ be tweaked?

Before the election I warned that passing Shape Places would not force the city council to tweak the bad parts of the ordinance.

There has already been questions shot at the Planning Department as to when these tweaks would take place, no plans as of yet.

I do know that SOME councilors have asked for another review of Shape Places to shore up some of the issues with the ordinance. Hopefully today at the 4 PM informational it will be brought up in open discussion.

I was told last night that former city planner, Steve Metli was against the ordinance change and had a post about it on Facebook. He said something about beaucrats in the city planning office having to much control of planning. In other words, many of the checks and balances that have existed before have been taken out.

I wish Mr. Metli would have been more publicly vocal about Shape Places before the election, if his FB post is indeed true.

If someone is friends with him on FB, would love to see his take in the comments section.