Entries Tagged 'Development' ↓

You wonder how often this happens?

Something I have been suspicious about a long time, picking favorites and winners and losers at city hall;

A Sioux Falls contractor says his company has been unfairly blacklisted from city building projects after a dispute over payment on an earlier project.

No other contractor currently carries the “non-responsible” designation.

Maybe the contractor could claim all of the bad things happened because of an ‘Act of God’. If the city can use it as an excuse for damaging personal property, why can’t a private contractor? What’s sad about this is the unlimited legal resources our city has to fight these kinds of things, with our money.

Copper Lounge Collapse OSHA case still OPEN

As you can see, the case is still pending.

Click to enlarge graphic.

Sioux Falls city council acts like lost sheep

Wasn’t quite sure what I was witnessing last night, but there was the smell of burnt chislic in the air.

When the only two councilors to vote against the $90K Legacy money grab are the most conservative and the most liberal, one has to scratch your head a bit.

Councilor Starr questioned just how much parking we would get, and if this is just subsidizing the developer’s property and not really a benefit to ‘public’ parking.

Stehly had even more questions;

Stehly is concerned since Legacy Development owned the the Copper Lounge Building, which collapsed back in December. She wants to wait until the OSHA investigation is done.

She’s also concerned with not knowing who the investors are in the project, and using the 2nd penny sales tax as collateral.

While both Starr and Stehly make great points (and why they voted against the project). There are also many questions about the location and timing?

But even ‘IF’ we had all of the answers above, what baffles me even more is why isn’t Legacy paying these expenses? If they want the city to invest with them, then shouldn’t they be the ones to pony up?

And lastly, in reference to the lost sheep of the council, I actually expected a 4-to-4 OR 5-t-4 vote on this with the mayor fiddling around with a VETO or tie-breaker vote. Maybe that is why the council just gave in, they are getting tired of dealing with the VETO controversy. Which is disappointing, since it seems it only took 2 vetoes to whip the council back in shape.

Then there is the history of projects like this, like a lost sheep, they seem to have a short memory on how the administration has been able to ram-rod this kind of crap through. Always putting the cart in front of the horse and financing all the planning before a bond is even taken out. I told Neitzert if your family was planning on building a new home, you would go to the bank first and see what they would be willing to loan you and what you could afford before you ever met with a realtor or architect, unless of course you are independently wealthy and don’t care. Which is kind of the mayor’s mentality when it comes to taxpayer money.

The council certainly looked like lost sheep last night following the wolves into the forest. With so many unanswered questions and history behind this project, I can’t imagine any other reason they would approve something that was so obviously wrong.

Watch the full discussion. Second to last item on the agenda.

City Administration tries to hide almost $90K of Legacy parking ramp in consent agenda

While I’m sure one of the councilors will have it pulled for discussion (Item #1), I am getting increasingly worried we are ramrodding a parking ramp thru that;

  1. We may not need
  2. Built in wrong location
  3. Will it benefit parking DT or the private developer’s business
  4. Using a development company that is still under investigation from OSHA
  5. Hasn’t received final bond funding from the council (actually nixed from the 2017 budget)

This train needs to be stopped, until at least the OSHA report is made public. We shouldn’t be spending tax dollars on a project that may not have a future. Not sure if there is enough votes (5 or 6) to stop the funding tonight, but hopefully there will be a good discussion.

What was I saying about suspension when it comes to the Copper Lounge building collapse?

Here we go again, a daycare provider under the suspect for a death, and what does the city do?

Her daycare license was suspended immediately pending an investigation.

LuAnn Ford with the Sioux Falls Health Department said, “Suspension generally happens very quickly because if children are at risk we want to put the daycare out of business as fast as we can.”

Yet a building collapses on a worker and kills him and the city and state’s attorney’s office does no investigation of the construction company.

I have been told by a county official that the State’s Attorney is watching the OSHA investigation closely and ‘may’ respond once that investigation is complete.

Is another parking ramp downtown being vetted correctly?

The first thing I can say is that I am grateful the city council killed the funding of the DT parking ramp in last year’s budget hearings. At least now we have a buffer from Veto Vinnie the Mayor before another one can be built.

Besides the fact that Legacy shouldn’t be touching any public projects with a 100 foot crane until a full investigation of the Copper Lounge collapse is completed, there is the bigger question if the proper location is being picked.

Like Washington Square, that got a TIF because they are promising FREE parking on nights and weekends (even though there is a parking ramp right across the street that offers the same thing) some wonder if building another parking ramp across the street from the current one on 10th is a very wise idea.

There is also the question if this should be a sloped parking ramp. As Bender pointed out in his market report last week, we should be focusing on flat parking structures because they can be repurposed if they don’t fill with parking.

There is also the question if parking ramps downtown are really being used at 100% capacity. Recently a South DaCola foot soldier perused them DT on a weekday afternoon and found the upper levels to be almost empty. Remember, the city is relying on a parking study done almost 3 years ago.

The city is once again pushing their idea to the city council during the informational meeting today. Some have suggested that the location of a new ramp should be closer to the Eastbank and something that could compliment the RR relocation project.

If anything, the council needs to kill the current plan, with or without a replacement plan.

 

Citizens get involved with a redevelopment project and everybody has a cow

It was one of the biggest Public Input involvement the city council has ever seen when the Oakview neighborhood showed up ahead of the approval of the Lacey apartment complex proposed by a local developer.

In fact the movement was so huge it helped to create one of the biggest neighborhood associations in the city (almost 10x the size of other neighborhood associations in the city).

It also prompted the city to try to stomp out the public input by creating benign rules before you can testify at Planning Meetings. They also came after a city councilor for encouraging public engagement with threats of false ethics charges.

The efforts of the neighborhood killed the project. That wasn’t a bad thing. It showed when you get involved with your local government you can make a difference. But the neighborhood is NOT against redevelopment of the area, they just want to be involved with that decision. This is where they are misunderstood.

But it seems some people are not happy the citizens voiced their concerns and got involved;

“Nobody wants to even make an offer because they don’t want to go through what Kelly and Lois went through last year,” said Arlie Brende, the Browns’ attorney who’s helping them navigate the process at City Hall. “It was brutal.”

Last year the Browns had a purchase agreement with Lloyd Companies contingent on it being rezoned for multi-family housing. The developer wanted to build an apartment complex but neighborhood opposition ended up killing the project.

So now we are comparing the public’s involvement with redevelopment a form of brutality. WOW. But Mr. Brende is famous for his quips.

The development community with the help of an anti-citizen planning department has been able to ramrod their wishes down the throats of citizens with out much resistance. The first battle occurred with the Walmart at 85th and Minnesota, and while that neighborhood is still fighting that battle, the residents of Oakview were not having it, and fired the first shots which took the developer by surprise.

Hopefully when the dust clears this time, everyone will be in agreement with the final project. Democracy is messy, but it is supposed to be, we get better government and in this case better development when citizens are involved.

Bender Market Outlook 2017 (Feb 23, 2017)

Bender Commercial presented its 20th Annual Market Outlook to Sioux Falls on Thursday, February 23, 2017 in the Washington Pavilion Mary W. Sommervold Hall.

The presenters gave the audience of business and community leaders along with Cameraman Bruce a look at the future of Sioux Falls as they see it. We also get to see a snapshot of each of the presenters as they looked in 1997.

Presenters included, Michael Bender, Andi Anderson, Nick Gustafson, Reggie Kuipers, and Rob Fagnan discussing the future of their fields of interest.

See what might be in our futures here in river city.

Why are we considering Legacy Development for Parking Ramp RFP?

We have a few questions to ask, see how many you can answer.

If someone goes to building code enforcement and files a concern, why does no one follow-up?
Do building and code enforcement only show up to arrest someone for having a pile of shingles in the wrong spot?
What are building permits good for?
If you have a building permit, does it allow you to do what you want?
Why do we need this parking ramp so badly?
If a building falls down, are we allowed to ask why?
Should we care?
If there is a death, shouldn’t someone from the county/state investigate?
Isn’t it strange there has been no grand jury convened to find out why a tragedy happened?
What does a contract allow you to do?
Where were the engineered drawings and permits to allow a load bearing wall to be taken out?

The Copper lounge collapse in downtown Sioux Falls leaves the public with so many questions. Scott Ehrisman asked many during the Sioux Falls City Council Public Input on February 14, 2017.

When you are done with the video, write down your questions and maybe send a few of them to the Minnehaha County State Attorney. Maybe he can help us get answers.

Maybe we should heed Legacy CEO’s own words in choosing them for the parking ramp project

Sometimes people present the obvious to us without realizing it. Many people in the community are concerned about Legacy being chosen to build a publicly funded parking ramp DT after their involvement with the Copper Lounge building collapse. Maybe Mr. Drake has a solution;

“I’m not going to address any questions about that site and the events that have taken place,” Drake said. “It’s an ongoing investigation, and until all the facts come out and are determined, we don’t feel like it’s prudent to make additional assumptions at any point there.

I agree 100%. And until assumptions are turned into facts or falsehoods, we should hold off determining you are the correct choice for the project. I encourage the city council to hold the brakes on this project until the results of the investigation have been presented, or pick another contractor.