“Urban sprawl is a municipality cancer.”

I couldn’t agree more with this letter writer today in the Gargoyle Leader;

It is my opinion a moratorium on the city-limit footprint is needed. There are several, sizeable areas of undeveloped land within the current city limits This moratorium should last as long as these areas remain undeveloped, or 25 years, whichever is greater. As these areas fill in, property values will rise. Older, dilapidated neighborhoods could be razed, and urban renewal could flourish.

I have been suggesting this kind of development for the past 6 years. We are letting our older (lower middle-class) neighborhoods go to hell while tearing up cornfields to build new hoods. It is foolish, and now with the downturn in the economy, construction companies are going to learn the hard way that fast and reckless growth will bite you in the arse.

Sioux Falls could be more livable if there was greater infrastructure for alternative modes of transportation.

While I am a big proponent of bike riding; 1) you can’t do it all year long here (well you can if you are completely nuts) and 2) You risk life and limb everytime you decide to ride on our city streets because there is no public awareness to bicyclists in SF.

Finish reading the letter, Mr. Pierson has tons of great ideas, it is just too bad they will fall on deaf ears at city hall. Sioux Falls was overdeveloped to make a select few special interests a lot of money, not to improve the livability of the city.


#1 Costner on 08.20.09 at 8:24 am

LOL. You want to limit the size of the city’s footprint? That is dumbest idea I’ve heard since choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate.

Let me know before it happens so I can go out and buy a bunch of open land within the city limits. Then once this becomes law I can jack up the land value by 1000% because I know nobody can build elsewhere until they pay my price.

If you want to stimulate growth in the city’s core, you do so by offering tax breaks and incentives. You don’t do it by barring development elsewhere thereby forcing people to follow your line of thinking.

Maybe you like living in central Sioux Falls, but it isn’t for everyone, and unless entire city blocks were razed there is no way to cram modern homes with triple stall garages into most of those lots. Then you think about the alternative of tearing out old housing to build new and suddenly you are as popular as Sanford and Avera. Every time they tear out a house to redevelop you get people all up in arms, so what makes anyone think it would be any different if a developer wiped out a block to build newer modern homes?

Thanks, but no thanks. Stupid idea.

#2 Sy on 08.20.09 at 8:30 am

He’s 100% correct, and what’s sad is we don’t have the social problems that perpetuate sprawl nearly to the degree that many other cities do, yet we still are pushing out in all directions.

We need to develop and re-develop our City’s core areas and make them livable so folks will want to live and work there. Enough of that will spur the shopping, dining and entertainment options that will prevent them from having to get in the car.

#3 Sy on 08.20.09 at 8:36 am

Essentially they’ve already limited the new plats by agreeing to the increased platting fees right after they platted out enough ground to cover an area the size of Omaha.

That raises the barrier of entry to a potential new developer like Costner, in adddition it has also created a huge glut of lots that will take a while to be bought up, hence the prices are stabilized or even dropping a bit.

#4 Ghost of Dude on 08.20.09 at 8:45 am

Costner, redevelopment in the core area would look very different from the cornfields that have recently sprouted houses and sod.
For one thing, smaller lots would cause more creativity in the use of space. While a three car garage with attached house is popular out in the burbs, the people looking to buy in central SF (more folks than you think)do so to get away from the cheap, monotonous, windswept outer reaches of town.
There is absolutely no reason to live on the outer edge of this town other than people who simply want a bigger lot and don’t care if there will be no shade or amenities nearby for 20 years.

#5 comoprozac on 08.20.09 at 10:10 am

Oh, so urban sprawl is a problem in your city as well. I prefer to call it suburban sprawl as all the developments consist of are crappy strip malls and and boring, copy-cat houses.

#6 l3wis on 08.20.09 at 10:51 am

“If you want to stimulate growth in the city’s core, you do so by offering tax breaks and incentives. ”

I agree, but it seems the developers that are taking advantage of the TIFS are taking it a step farther and holding off buying the land they are getting the tifs on so they can extend their tax exemption even longer (Phillips to the Falls for instance). They have held off the purchase for 3 years, and once they buy I think they are getting a 4-5 year tif. I am all for incentives, such as less regulation in the central part of town, that is the biggest problem. Let’s say I tore down my house, I could not rebuild, because I am zoned commercial, but even if you are zoned residential, you have to come up with a lot of dough to rebuild, you also have to go before the planning commission and beg the city to build on your own property, it is silly. The zoning and regs need to be changed. Ghost is right, central and proper SF is very popular and worth redeveloping. Before I got laid off I used to ride through central SF on the way home everyday. Pettigrew and Whittier are not the only hoods in bad shape. You can go down any block in central SF and see at least one or two houses in need of work, and some that are in complete shambles. We need to work on more incentives for individual property owners and tell the big developers to go to hell for once. We can rebuild the older hoods in this town by putting the power in the hands of the homeowners, not the developers that are looking to make a buck. A man’s house is his castle, a homeowner will take a lot more pride in their property if they own it. What pride does a developer have in a property they are just trying to turn to make a buck? I think the city should start giving the same kind of tax incentives and low interest equity loans to new homeowners that want to fix up a place in an older hood. There are programs out there, and I have used one. But they need to be more excessible. A couple of weeks ago, Staggers suggested during a info meeting to the city official heading up the Whittier rehab that they need to be lax on some of the zoning and regs and it would make the process go faster, when he asked her what she thought of that idea, she angerily said “NO!”

That says it all right there.