Entries Tagged 'Planning Commission' ↓

City News, Rumors, Odds & Ends

The Glory House rehabilitation apartments are one step closer to opening with the tearing down of the old ice rec center.


I kind of saw this coming;

The couple deferred the final vote to review costs.

Power’s say the Billion’s are revising their plan and changes will be made.

As I understand it, it was going to be very costly to provide underground parking due to quartzite issues, so I’m sure they are trying to revise the parking situation to include it above ground in the planned structure. But I’m not sure. I do know that the city requested the building be a certain amount of stories (6?) due to density and there may me a disagreement on just how that may be done with including above ground parking. I never understand why developers want to get involved with private/public partnerships with the city.


There has been rumor floating around from city hall that a TIF may be applied to this project. Now while you may argue that the land Sioux Steel currently sits on is probably contaminated due to decades of manufacturing and this would be classified as ‘blight’ do you think it is fair to give a tax rebate to developers who contributed to that blight to begin with? Kind of a philosophical/ethical question. While we know clean up will have to occur before redeveloping the site I suggest applying for EPA grants and NOT taking away money from public education in the form of TIFs.


Mike is going to address the Sioux Falls City Council about the purpose of joint jurisdiction after the recent fluff up over the wedding barn. The city must be getting nervous that the Minnehaha County Commission may be planning to withdraw from the ‘Polite’ agreement.


Not sure why the City Clerk decided to renew this contract with all the problems with the service?


Even after the city council told them to explore other options the Parks Department (director) convinced the TenHaken administration they still needed the studies done. So much for the legislative body’s input on this one. I also find it ironic we are seeking a parks accreditation but don’t seek the similar credentials for our police department. Because you know, green grass is far more important than public safety . . .


I posed this question to Head City Attorney Stacy Kooistra this week in an email;


I noticed after state law changed concerning public input that the planning commission started having public ‘general’ input at the end of the meeting. They did it for a couple of meetings than in last week’s meeting they did not do it (only on agenda items).

While I understand that maybe NO ONE came and spoke that doesn’t mean it can be eliminated. In fact in my 12 years or more of attending city council meetings there were several meetings in which people did not speak, but it still is offered.

I am wondering why they ended offering this at the planning meetings?

Stacy responded to me that he would meet with planning staff to discuss. I got this response today from Jason Bieber, Urban Planner in the Planning department;


Thank you for the email regarding the agenda item for Public Input at the monthly Planning Commission meeting.    As indicated in SDCL 1-25-1, “The Chair of the body shall reserve at every official meeting by the public body a period for public comment, limited at the chair’s discretion, but not so limited as to provide for no public comment.”  Therefore, our Planning Commission Chairman made the decision to remove the agenda item for Public Input on non-agenda items at our monthly Planning Commission meeting for the simple fact that it had not been utilized by citizens so far.  He also felt that we allow public input at our 12:00pm Planning Commission Briefing the day (Tuesday) before the Planning Commission meeting and that may be a better opportunity for Citizens to provide public input.  In doing public input this way we do comply with SDCL 1-25-1.

This meeting of course, while open to the public, is at city hall with limited parking in the middle of the day on a Tuesday. The meeting is also NOT recorded or live streamed.

After receiving your comments as well as those from Councilmember Stehly, Planning Staff and the Planning Commission Chair have decided to add the Public Input Agenda item back on the Planning Commission Meeting agenda.  Our intent was not to limit Citizen Involvement at our Planning Commission Meetings, but to provide the best avenue for Public Input.

As I mentioned in my original email, doesn’t matter whether anybody shows up or not, as long as an opportunity is provided. The irony is even if NO ONE speaks it only takes a matter of seconds to ask if anyone is present to speak and is little inconvenience to the Planning Commission or their chair.

Thank you for bringing your concern to our attention and we look forward to Citizen Public Input at the November 7th Planning Commission Meeting.

That kind of sounds like an invitation to me. I’ll keep my calendar open that night. I always have plenty to say about planning in this community.

*I would also like to thank Councilor Stehly for looking into this for me initially. We kind of tag teamed this effort.

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken getting closer to the Dawn of the TIFs

So he makes this announcement today;

“Taking care of citizens is job number one for the City,” said Mayor Paul TenHaken. “Our economic and workforce growth is dependent upon a healthy construction and housing industry, and this reorganization will help industry thrive as well as our citizens who are the housing consumers in Sioux Falls.”

In other words get ready for TIFiliscious 2.0. They are trying to slowly smooth us into this. But as I have said about city government many times, it is extremely predictable.

I asked a city councilor when this press release came out at 4:50 PM today if they knew about the reorganization. You know the answer.

UPDATE: I also find this video below of Dusty Johnson talking about ‘welfare’ while the company he works for took a ‘corporate welfare’ in TIFs. So it is OK for YOUR parents to take welfare, and it is okay for YOUR company to take welfare, but gosh darn it, you are going to crack down on all the other people? It reminds of Leslee Unruh who had an abortion but doesn’t want anyone else to have that right.

Republicans; Do as I say, NOT as I do.

Is the Sioux Falls Planning Commission skirting state public input law?

I noticed this on the Planning Commission’s agenda page;

This is what was done at the previous meeting;

As we know, or maybe not, state law changed that ALL public meetings have to provide GENERAL public input at ANY time in the meeting. The Planning Commission decided to skirt this at their latest meeting. Are they violating the NEW state law? Not sure, but would not surprise me, their arrogance is usually insurmountable, mostly due to planning staff who backs them up.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, October 2-3, 2018

City Council Informational Meeting • 4 PM (Oct 2)

TIF, Historical Summary Presentation by COS, Beck. There is NO supporting documents in SIRE.

Executive Session for contract negotiations with employees or employee representatives.

City Council Regular Meeting • 7 PM (Oct 2)

Item# 1, Approval of Contracts, (They are now being more descriptive with the line items).

• Apparently we hired one of the most expensive ad agency’s in the state to do marketing about awareness of the Emerald Ash borer. They did do $14,500 in pro-bono.

• Moving forward with ADA upgrades to our city parks

• Sound System Upgrades, $102K. Not sure what entertainment facility will get them (Events Center or Pavilion)

Item#36, Subdivision ordinance changes

Item#42, 1st Reading, They are finally gifting the Veteran’s Cemetery land.

City Planning Commission • 6 PM (Oct 3)

Item#7, Remodeling of Callaway’s for Restaurant.

Item#9, The Controversial Rezone for apartments has returned, owned by First Assembly of God Church.

Item#11, We have officially became BIG TIME! Bring on the Ramen Restaurant!

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Sept 4-5, 2018

City Council Working Session – 2:30 PM – Sept 4th

They will be discussing budget amendments and ‘Unfunded’ projects

City Council Informational Meeting – 4 PM – Sept 4th

Update on UDC meeting, Subdivision ordinance update, Parks Master Plan study and City Attorney’s budget

Regular City Council Meeting – 7 PM – Sept 4th

Item #1, Approval of Contracts. We still keep polishing the turd called the Pavilion Parking ramp.

Item #3, Selling off 3 transit buses in an online auction.

Item #4, Mecahnic’s lien against the city for not paying contractor for Brown Bear exhibit at the zoo. I guess this was the first time I have heard about this. Hopefully we will get an explanation.

Item #21-22, New beer and wine license for a new establishment in the old Prairie Berry location on 8t street.

Item #23-24, Another Axe Throwing place wanting a beer and wine license. But NO beer with your popcorn at the movie theater.

Item #32, Notice of Change Orders over $25K. This really should be changed to notice change orders starting at zero.

Item #40, LifeScape parking lot. This has been a very controversial debate and I expect a lot of people from the neighborhood opposing the parking lot. It will be interesting to see how the council votes. LifeScape has already bought and removed the houses in the area of the proposed parking lot. So if the deny the lot, what will go there?

Item #41, Street Vacation.

Item #46-47, Dissolving 2 TIFs (see my earlier post)

Item #48, More citizen board appointees.

Item #49, Resolution, denying demolish of homes in a historic district. I expect testimony from the developer who owns these homes or a representative.

Joint Minnehaha County/City Council Meeting – 3 PM – Sept 5th

Joint Budget Hearings for Museums, Libraries and Metro 911

Planning Commission Meeting – 6 PM – Sept 5th

Item #7, Alcohol permit for a Coffee shop. Still trying to figure out why establishments call themselves ‘coffee shops’ but serve beer and wine. Puzzling.

Item #9, Alcohol permit for another telephone booth video lottery casino. Planning staff doesn’t recommend approval or denial, they recommend the commission listens to testimony. It’s interesting because the place is close the Avera Campus. We will see who wins? Video Lottery or the Hospital Industrial Complex? Wonder if the Planning Commission will throw another flaming football to the city council.

Item# 10, oh, and guess who is looking for a rezone in the very next item? Avera.

Item #11, Subdivision ordinance change. This is interesting;

• Add new private streets standards.

• Require a maintenance agreement for the private streets and utilities.

• Define and add standards for flag pole lots.

• Improve pedestrian and bicycle neighborhood connectivity.

• Add standards to reserve new bicycle trail corridors.

• Move some standards to the Preliminary Plan.

• Clarify and make minor changes to the subdivision process.

• Update the plat process to be consistent with state law.

Item #13. 2nd ANNUAL CITIZENS PLANNING ACADEMY. Wonder if they changed their tune about letting the most wealthiest developers in town getting their way?

Sioux Falls Planning Director, Mike Cooper, a long time ‘Art Historian’

We are often told by the city councilors at meetings how talented are city staff is. Some of them have multiple skills.

Just look at Mike Cooper, not only was he once the Parks Director he got promoted to the Planning Director (which oversees code enforcement).

He apparently has a knack for art history, especially African inspired abstract impressionism and American Folk/Street art.

When he was the Parks Director he determined that the Mural on the horse barn by Ethiopian artist, Eyob Mergia, was NOT a mural, but a ‘large painting’ (like there is a difference) therefore it could remain without the approval of the Visual Arts Commission.

Recently, under his direction, the code enforcement office has determined that Mr. Bendo was NOT advertising, but ‘ART’ so he could have a pipe in his hand. He also made this determination without consulting the Visual Arts Commission once again.

Is Mr. Bendo art? Or is he a sign? I would go with neither on this one. While called a ‘street sculpture’ I would say this is more of ‘decoration’ than anything. He is a mass produced fiberglass sculpture that could be determined kitsch, folk or Americana, but if I had to make a determination if he was more a Michelangelo or more like the McDonald’s golden arches, I would go with the arches.

Let’s just be honest here. The code enforcement office looked like fools and they were trying to save face, so they backed out on their decision without admitting ignorance by using Cooper’s old trick, ‘It’s art’ excuse.

So the next time code enforcement says your junk truck can’t be parked in your driveway, or your grass is too long, just look at them and say ‘It’s Art’.


Sioux Falls Planning Department’s Jeff Schmitt trying to influence Planning Commission Members

Jeff was at it again last night at the Planning Commission meeting (Item#12). Before the meeting he was trying to stop residents from testifying about a rezone for 3 story townhouses. He continues to say that the commission MUST rezone property based on the law. That is NOT the case. The reason we have the commission is to STOP inappropriate zoning. IF every re-zone was supposed to be approved, why even have a commission? Just send it straight to the City Council, seems like a waste of time.

During the meeting, Jeff reiterated himself and said that the commission must pass re-zones within the law. No they don’t. That is why we have them, to stop re-zones that are NOT appropriate, not to be rubber stampers that send the flaming football to the city council.

If the re-zone will have detrimental affects on the neighbors they can deny the rezone. In fact, one of the commission members, John Paulson, did VOTE NO. Was he following the law? Definitely.

Jeff is full of crap and needs to go. He shouldn’t be able to influence public officials, whether they are employees, elected or volunteer. He needs to keep his opinion out of the matter and stop trying to deflect people before the meeting in the lobby of Carnegie. It should NOT be Jeff’s concern whether something gets re-zoned or not, unless of course Jeff is getting kickbacks or a promise of a golden parachute? Are you Jeff?

There was several obvious drainage issues associated with the rezone. One home owner said he has already installed 3 sump pumps in his home since the church was built there, and said it will only get worse.

Besides Jeff, Mayor TenHaken needs to start replacing some of the commission members. If you are just going to rubber stamp all the rezones, you might as well just put monkeys up there.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Aug 7, 2018

Budget Hearings – 2 PM

They will discuss the department budgets of Finance, HR, Central Services, Police Fire and Public Parking

Regular City Council Meeting – 7 PM

Item #1, Approval of Contracts. Here we go again, another expensive consultant ($200K) to give us a Master Strategic Plan on our Parks. 1) We just did one a few years ago, why can’t we just update that plan and make some small tweaks 2) We pay our parks director a lot of dough, shouldn’t it be a job requirement for him to do the research with his staff and put together a report himself?

We also are spending $177K to put a fence around the RR redevelopment area. Why didn’t we set aside some of that $37 million for the fence, or make BN pay for it or better yet the developers of the land?

#42, 1st Reading, City council wants to be aware of change orders over $25K from CMAR’s. While this is a good idea, we really shouldn’t be using CMARs, there is way to much secrecy with them. We found out the hard way with the Denty and how we never really got a $1 million dollar settlement, just our money back.

#43, 1st Reading, Creating an overlay district for the RR redevelopment area. I really don’t know much about this and I wish we would have gotten an informational about this ordinance.

#44, 1st Reading, Surplus property within the RR redevelopment area. Again, I wish we would have had an informational explaining this.

#46, Resolution, they are discussing whether to allow the property behind the Huey to be surplus. Not only has the Equity Square people to the North fight this because of access but I guess now the Phillips Hotel to the South now is also objecting due to access. This may get deferred, again.

Planning Commission – 6 PM – Aug 8

Item #11, Lifescape parking lot rezone. I expect a lot of public testimony against this move.

Items #13 & 14, More Telephone Booth Casinos.

Item #16, Presentation on Buffer Yard Effectiveness

Is Legacy giving up a lot of opportunities by hiring Ketchum?

While Legacy maintains that Ketchum will not be involved with the DT Mixed Use PPP Parking Ramp, moving forward, what does his 2-Year conflict of interest agreement mean?

I have been asking different city officials this question, and awaiting some responses.

The way I see it, since Ketchum will be VP of Operations for Legacy that essentially means he will be directly or indirectly involved with ALL of their projects (even the DT parking ramp). Moving forward, could this mean for the next two years Legacy as a development company can’t be involved with city projects such as;

Street Vacations


Façade Programs

Public Private Partnerships

Infrastructure upgrades

Special Rezones

Of course Legacy will probably try to play some fancy tricks with LLC’s, as they have done in the past. If I were the city planning department/mayor’s office I would send a letter immediately to Legacy informing them of the two-year moratorium while Ketchum works for them. And trust me, if the city chooses to ignore the conflict rules, the media and others will be quick to remind them, because we already got hoodwinked on the asbestos dumping, the building collapse and the parking ramp.

Legacy doesn’t get another by, not this time.

Sioux Falls Planning Commission throws another flaming football to City Council

Citizens and neighbors oppose Item #3 and contest it should be commercial development instead of housing (FF: 21:00). Even the West Central School district Super opposes it because it will be less in property tax revenue.

The Planning Commission approves it without little discussion. City council gets to do the heavy lifting once again.