UPDATE: Sioux Falls Planning Department & City Attorney’s Office hid information from the City Council and Public

UPDATE: Cameraman Bruce wanted me to remind you of this post from March of 2020, and this added commentary;

The article is credited to me and the maps are still true.

The river bed was never owned by anyone but the federal government and since it was part of a navigable it cannot be taken over by anyone without the Corp of Engineers releasing it and likely an act of congress. Sioux Steel never owned the river bed filled in by garbage. The reason the city is not releasing any of their documentation is due to the faulty “quit claim” deeds they might be citing.

The city attorney, Lloyd Companies and Sioux Steel are playing fast and loose with the facts to seal the property permanently. Sioux Steel cannot give away property then never owned. They were and are squatters with no real claims to the property.

The parties to the development including the Sioux Falls city attorney, Lloyd Companies and Sioux Steel must prove they have the rights to continue building on and trading property they do not own or have rights of fee simple.

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So if you watch the city council meeting tonight, Item #12 is a land easement deal with the developer of the Sioux Steel project. While that certainly isn’t anything to raise eyebrows over since the city does these kind of deals several times a year, what makes it concerning as you watch the discussion is that the Planning Department, the City Attorney’s office and likely the Mayor’s office hid this information from us and the city council for over 18 months. Wouldn’t this land transfer deal be something that should have been presented to the citizens before BOTH TIFs for this project were presented? What makes it even more interesting is that it seems some of the information remains confidential even though the city is having a public meeting, discussion and 1st vote on this land deal. Remember when they terminated former City Clerk Debra Owen? Deja Vu.

It also gets even more nefarious when you consider that this land transfer will end up costing taxpayers millions more because the land we are getting from the developers will suddenly become river greenway property that we will be responsible to develop.

Luckily this is only 1st reading, and hopefully the council will be able to really dig into what is going on here, and hopefully by 2nd reading some of those secret legal documents will appear.

At first glance, it is my guess that this was kept from the public and the city council for this long because it is NOT a good deal for us, and they tried to skate this as long as they could (or at least until they got their precious TIF).

I keep telling you folks, there is a lot of ‘stuff’ going on behind closed doors at city hall, and it is NOT to our benefit. And the irony is this is all occurring while the head city attorney is rumored to be on an extended vacation – how convenient for him?



11 comments ↓

#1 Mike Lee Zitterich on 07.14.21 at 1:12 pm

Reinstates some of the LAND ISSUES stemming from the Land Patent from 100 years ago, heh…

Whether it has been myself, or others, I been asking what and who really owns this land that was once an Island, I mean, this is “Homestead Land” purchased in 1862, which was sold to W.W Brookings (an investor of the Western Town Company) in 1877, who later ceded the land to the State in 1902 for public use allowing the State to split the land in 3 parcels – which later on those parcels would be used by the St. Paul/Omaha Railroad Companies (1902-present), Sioux Steel 1918-present), and Pitts Steel (1922-1995).

This ‘land’ has really been a sign of corrupt bargains, and show how “land developers” really own this City.

The first owner of this land was the Dakota Land Company out of St. Paul, they owned the railroads. They sold the land to W.W Brookings..

W.W Brookings was an Investor of the Western Town Company who owned land on the east bank, think Queen Bee Mill, the Electric Plant, the Warehouse District along the river to 6th Street.

Western Town Company became the City of Sioux Falls.

W.W Brookings made the land deal with the State to bring in the Railroad Companies, the same companies owned by the Dakota Land Company.

And it gets more interesting…

The ISLAND itself – it was NEVER legally a City Park, and I have no clue why its listed on the city website as a Park…It, despite many residents prior to 1920 wanting it to be park, the developers never wanted it to become a park, they saw it as “commercial real estate.

The West Channel was completely closed off – Boulders on the north end, land fill on the south end, a “evergreen tree” marks it today. From 1902-1930 – the CHANNEL was then used as a CITY LAND FILL, this is how they filled it in folks….by 1940, no evidence remains of the channel, unless you know where to look.

So Janet Brekke raised a great point, when, if ever was this “land” ever declared a city park, or did we simply “Say” it was a park?

Even Christine Erickson brought up valid points, when was, and what was this land prior to this proposed land transfer…

What is sad, this chunk of land has been widely abused, manipulated, and controlled by Land Developers as early as 1877.

#2 D@ily Spin on 07.14.21 at 4:59 pm

Considering the cloud on title, wouldn’t it be better to file for quit claim? Then, take it without purchasing after 7 years when nobody can prove they own it. Isn’t this another railroad type deal? Buying land from someone who doesn’t own it? Is this another way of diverting funds to developers and getting nothing in return?

#3 Mike Lee Zitterich on 07.14.21 at 11:18 pm

Daily Spin – it is starting to look like it, and considering the history, I think yes, you are correct, someone has to do a quit claim to get their hands on the patent to see what was agreed to, the patent would have noted those terms. Here is the time line I have put together on how I feel this land has been transfered:

Let’s bring into the discussion:

1862 Land Patent sold to DAKOTA LAND COMPANY

1877 Land Patent sold to W.W Brookings

1902 Land Patent/land ceded to the State of South Dakota by W.W Brookings in favor of using the property for public use, allowing the State to divide the land into 3 parcels.

1906 The Land was “Zoned” Light Industrial

1908 the West Channel was closed off on both ends (boulders on one end, landfill/dirt on the other end (evergreen tree).

1910-1936 the West Channel used as a City Landfill, finally enclosed.

1910-present day the St Paul/Omaha Railroad today the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railroads have used this land as their railroad connection

1918 Sioux Steel signed on to “use’ the land for their steel company

1922-1995 Pitts Steel signed on to ‘use’ the land for their recycling company.

#4 D@ily Spin on 07.16.21 at 9:57 am

The city wants to buy a sand bar in the middle of a river. There’s still lots of swamp land in Florida that’s a better deal. Just stick to building empty 6 story parking garages. We’ve learned to accept that.

#5 Bruce on 07.16.21 at 1:21 pm

They cannot do a Quit Claim to steal federal land or waterways.

#6 "Woodstock" on 07.16.21 at 5:01 pm

“So, in other words, when it comes to Spellerberg and Seney, the feds are holding us by the scrotum”….

#7 Mike Lee Zitterich on 07.16.21 at 5:41 pm

This is NOT federal land, this was LAND that was purchased thru the HOMESTEAD ACT by private Americans, the patent does exist. Learn the history man.

#8 "Woodstock" on 07.17.21 at 11:56 am

“Does the existence of a falls nearby make the whole issue non negotiable, or non navigable, or, is there a way to navigate through all of this in a negotiable manner?”…
#LearnTheHistoryMan!

#9 Bruce on 07.18.21 at 8:27 am

Mike,
Navigable waterways controlled by the Corp of Engineers may run through a homestead or plat but are never owned by by the homesteader. You cannot fee simple federal land and the Sioux River is controlled by the Corp of Engineers. If someone is stupid enough to fill in and build on federal land without clear title, they must pay the penalties.

We have court cases in South Dakota telling farmers they cannot stop people from hiking even dried up river beds. The feds have set the rules and we must follow them.

#10 Very Stable Genius on 07.18.21 at 12:04 pm

How about the Carter Lake case in Omaha, a change in the flow of the Missouri River caused part of Iowa to be found on the west side of the Missouri, and thus, Nebraska claimed it until the SCOTUS ruled that the original river channel dictated the border between Iowa and Nebraska and not the current flow of the Missouri River.

The original channel was filled in with Carter Lake being the only remnant of the original river flow. This fill in did not negate the once navigable ability of the river as it once was just as the navigability around the once Seney Island should not be either, thus making Seney Island a part of navigable waters controlled and owned by the federal government.

#11 The Guy From Guernsey on 07.20.21 at 8:49 am

But will we ever learn how much money the City Attorney office is spending on outside legal consultation and counsel in this matter?