Entries Tagged 'Developers' ↓

Homeless advocates email council to vote against Task Force

While I support the task force to combat homelessness, I do agree with a couple of aspects from the people who emailed the city council to oppose it. The data and research has been done for several years, you just need to act and I think the TF should consist of stakeholders in the neighborhood, not friends of the mayor and council. Michelle makes some good points about the opportunity to act over the years. Mayor TenHaken promised in his 1st campaign he would make it a priority, the problem has only gotten worse. It will be an interesting debate tonight.

The first email is from former city councilor Michelle Erpenbach;

Good afternoon, City Council members.

Thank you for your service, and for taking a few minutes to review my reasons for asking you to vote no tomorrow on item 76 — against yet another Homeless Task Force. I would be there in person Tuesday, but I will be working in a neighborhood where Thrive’s Kid Link initiative is supporting programming that seeks to help prevent homelessness among children in our schools.

Homelessness is a complex topic that does not have a single silver-bullet solution. It takes many individuals and organizations with like minds and missions, working collaboratively! Your proposed new task force would splinter existing efforts while ignoring work that has been done recently — and continues to be done – by city staff, Helpline and other local non-profits, members of the Thrive Housing Action Team, and by the city/county Accessible Housing Advisory Board.

It’s time to stop studying and start doing, friends. I’m happy to schedule time to help you catch up with this important topic. In the meantime, please review these links and my comments:

  1. Thrive Housing Action Team (including city, county, and federal staff!) created a Housing Retention Specialist in 2021. Pilot program at East River Legal Services has successfully prevented eviction for 9 families and their children in just a year of operation. The real need? City partnership to take this from pilot to sustainability. Read more: https://siouxfallsthrive.org/children-families-secure-housing/. These conversations are already in the works.
  2. The Accessible Housing Advisory Board, city staff Amos Abu, and a variety of housing stakeholders including Helpline Center and Thrive are working on a Housing Navigation Portal that will help connect tenants with potential housing that meets their existing needs and budget. The real need? Council support and funding to help make the portal a reality.
  3. Former city housing staff (Chellee Unruh) met with clients of the St. Francis House and others to learn more about specific needs from that unique community. The real need? I would recommend reviewing this existing data, so you get a better understanding of this topic from the people living it every day.
  4. Thrive Housing Action Team (again, including city, county, and federal staff) created the OneRoof project that is providing wraparound services for those families who are most difficult to house. This is no longer a pilot and is thriving inside The Community Outreach. Read more: https://siouxfallsthrive.org/oneroof-evaluation/The real need? City support for the unmet needs that some of these folks continue to have.
  5. City/county project Just Home is tackling homelessness for those people impacted by the justice system. The real need? Council members to become well-versed in this important project and ready to support proposals that will come your way within months.
  6. Key non-profits are providing services for our unhoused neighbors. The real need? City council members to acknowledge the important work of St. Francis House, Bishop Dudley and UGM, and encourage them to work together in a stronger spirit of collaboration.
  7. Finally, the biggest need is for more local money without state/federal strings attached for building housing that is affordable to the poorest of our neighbors. Those in the 30% of AMI range. This comes in the form of a Housing Trust Fund. Even Rapid City has an HTF now and it is fully funded while the city of Sioux Falls didn’t grasp the idea when it was proposed 10 years ago. Thrive’s Housing Action Team is taking the challenge and will have a presentation for you in the coming months.

Again, please don’t splinter ongoing work and collaborations. Please encourage the city to instead join these organizations in building a better partnership and collective impact.

Stop studying and start doing.

Michelle Erpenbach

President

Sioux Falls Thrive

The second email is from Anny Libengood from Minnehaha County Human Services;

Hi, I am a social worker and was a front line worker at Human Services for 18 years. Most recently I was the Housing Navigator. During this time, I became closely and extensively involved in the lives of many vulnerable people in addition to learning the inner workings of community resources. 

The first thing elected leaders need to do is educate themselves on what work and research has already been done. They need to know what programs are out there, have been out there, and what programs need to shift and what programs need to stop duplicating services/resources. About 15 years ago, we had a 10 year plan to end homelessness as did many communities. We also had the Homeless Advisory Board that did extensive work and research. Did we implement anything? No. Fast forward 15 years and we now have TWO Augustana research studies telling us what the community needs to do. The research was extensive and included perspectives of front line staff and those experiencing homelessness. What have we done with these studies? Checked the box that we did them, I guess. “We” just keep creating groups because “we” can’t figure out what to do. (Thrive, Forward SF, Empower, AHAB, Sioux Empire Leadership Council, etc. etc.) and then none of them talk to each other. Stop studying the problem over and over again. It’s time to start the work. 

A couple of reasons the Bishop Dudley police calls have tripled is because the former director was a former police officer. It was easy for the calls to not be “logged”- and yes this is true. He told me this himself when I was providing case management to the homeless families staying there. He didn’t want the neighborhood or powers above him to see the calls and start complaining. Also, his no trespass list was longer than my arm. The current director has to go through regular police call protocols and she is trying to respect the mission of the BDHH which is Open Doors, Open Arms.

Please reconsider this Task Force and Study idea. I am willing to help educate. All you have to do is ask.

Thank you. I plan to be at the council meeting tomorrow.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls Developers want to use trickle down economics to build affordable housing

It didn’t work when Reagan proposed it, and it won’t work now. IRAB (INFRASTRUCTURE REVIEW ADVISORY BOARD) is proposing waving platting fees for new housing developments;

INFRASTRUCTURE REVIEW ADVISORY BOARD (IRAB) MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 1, 2022, AT 8:00 A.M. LOCATED AT THE DOWNTOWN LIBRARY, 200 N DAKOTA AVE, SIOUX FALLS, SD

AGENDA:

1.     Approve June 1, 2022 Agenda

2.     Approve May 4, 2022 Meeting Minutes

3.     Light and Power Update – Developer Procured Street Light Materials

4.     Proposed Revisions to 96.220 – Arterial Street Platting Fee

5.     Proposed Revisions to 51.065 – Water Distribution Platting Fee

6.     Proposed Revisions to 51.118 – Recovery of Cost of Storm Water Drainage System

It seems developers want tax breaks for building new homes, and they will supposedly pass those savings on to homeowners. That will NEVER happen. The demand for housing is at such a high level right now developers have ZERO reason to pass on those savings, they will likely pocket the savings.

DOCS: Agenda, Distribution, Drainage, Streets, Minutes of last meeting.

UPDATE: This story lays out why housing is so expensive. WAGES!

My New Coloring Book!

It’s going to be an interesting Friday in Sioux Falls

There has been a rumor floating around today that Mayor TenHaken plans to have a news conference tomorrow afternoon at around 2 PM at City Hall concerning a new development downtown.

I guess a deal has been in the works to finish off the rest of the Railroad Redevelopment site just east of the 8th and RR Building. The two proposals floating out there are workforce housing (market rate apartments) and luxury condos. I can’t tell who the competing developers are or if this is what the rumored press conference is about, but the timing of this supposed press conference is interesting considering the council suddenly posted today they are having a 1 PM working session on Friday, that has NO public agenda items except public input and they go directly into executive session. Maybe they should have just called a City Council Poetry Reading since I find it laughable they are calling a faux working session so they can be told something privately.

These folks are so sloppy.

Councilors and council staff are not allowed to tell the public what goes on during the session, but I can make some guesses. It could be about the development Poops may announce (sneakily telling council only a few minutes before he announces a proposal to the public) or it could be a settlement has been reached with the Bunker Ramp and that could be the ultimate announcement?

My head has been spinning for weeks while watching Paul pack 4 years of his do nothing term (that he didn’t sign up for) into a few weeks of getting something done. Maybe he will announce he is cancelling the election because his opponents don’t have a snowball’s chance?

At this point nothing would f’ing surprise me.

HB1033 Amended to block Developer Welfare Cookie Jar


Not everything that happens in the legislature this year is a total toilet flush. HB1033 which provides $200 Million towards housing passed after being amended to leave the welfare developers hands out of the cookie jar.

Section 6. The executive director of the South Dakota Housing Development Authority shall approve vouchers and the state auditor shall draw warrants to pay expenditures authorized by this Act.

Originally the private contractors and developers wanted a portion of this fund to carte blanche build whatever they wanted  whether it was affordable housing or not. Now the SDHDA has the power to make sure the funding goes towards worthy accessible housing projects. The private developers still get a piece of the pie if they are willing to help build affordable housing.

Failures of the RR Redevelopment negotiations rear their head again

And here we go, throwing more Federal money at the project and it’s an EMERGENCY even though the trains have tooting their horns through SF for over 100 years!

While I don’t oppose creating quiet zones throughout the city (even though we know this is probably for DTSF exclusively) it is pretty obvious we have to do this because we failed to remove the RR tracks from downtown during the negotiations. While it will make DTSF safer with the crossbars, the only noise it eliminates is the sirens from the trains, you will continue to hear them barrel down the track and cause traffic interruptions.

I have NO DOUBT the Feds will probably reimburse the state, but you have to admit since we didn’t successfully remove the tracks from this area to begin with, we are just playing a game of whack a mole and this is the latest.

So far the developer in this area has received millions in improvements to the River Greenway, a significant discount on the land, multiple TIFs (to build condos) and now another $5 million to create quiet zones next to those condos.

Here’s a concept DON’T BUILD CONDOS AND APARTMENTS NEXT TO A RAILROAD TRACK, or better yet work with our Washington delegates to get the tracks torn out. Nope, let’s just keep throwing tax dollars at small bandaids that doesn’t fix the bigger problem TRAINS RUMBLING THROUGH DOWNTOWN FOR NO DAMN GOOD REASON!

City of Sioux Falls Finally gets it together on housing, maybe?

So after our unemployment rates drops to almost zero, and we have more warehouse jobs than workers, the city finally engages on a housing plan, read it HERE.

While Director Matt Tobias’ (not sure what his title is since the Poops Admin likes to make up fancy titles every 3 months) presentation was the best I am not sure why it took a decade and a massive board to finally implement a plan just a couple of months from a city election. Matt made great points that I have been harping about for years like promoting the community development programs, increasing the income level of qualification and pushing for up to $30K loans at 0% interest.

Like I said, glad to see the wheels turning, but I am also wondering why it took so long. We have known for over a decade that the city was growing at an enormous rate and density in our core was crucial. Many administrations, private non-profits, councilors and developers have talked about it. In fact I attempted to bring in the Strongtown’s founder over 10 years ago to speak on it, but I couldn’t get enough people to help donate to his gas money and hotel room. When he eventually came, I had to chuckle when people said to me if I had heard of him.

I will tell you why it has taken so long to get the ball rolling; GREED and the cornfields are running out.

Just listen to what Greg Neitzert said about it, once again defending the developers and contractors and how gosh darn it, they need to make money or the plan won’t work. I agree, anyone in business for themselves needs to make a profit and they need to eat, but I have rarely met a large developer in this town that is living in central Sioux Falls in a 900 sq ft home. With their profit margins, no state income tax, low labor costs and multiple tax incentives, they do ok. There is absolutely NO reason why they can’t do projects in the core building density and NOT make money.

I also look at this as LOCAL economic development. Most of the smaller contractors that do this kind of work are local, they live here, their workers live here and likely they buy materials and tools here. That all gets recirculated into the economy.

Don’t fool yourself, these policies have been researched for a long time, but like most things in this city and even country, if someone can’t figure out how to gouge the consumer the feckless leaders don’t act. This is one of the main reasons it infuriated me that they are asking for a raise. I guess they think they need to be paid more for doing less.

Sioux Falls Developer trying to get TIFilicious in Rapid City

It shouldn’t be a surprise that this developer is asking for a TIF for a project that doesn’t supply ANY affordable housing;

The apartments will start at around $995 for studios, $1,295 for one bedrooms and $1,895 for two bedrooms.
Luke Jessen, senior director of development at Lloyd, said the company will ask the city for an $8.75 million TIF, although a hearing date has not yet been scheduled.


$995 for a hole in the wall apartment in Rapid City, seems reasonable? Notice how many groups it must go through before approval;

The project will soon appear on the Tax Increment Finance District Review Committee, Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission agendas.

We may be served well if we had such a committee;

The committee is comprised of two Rapid City Council members, two Pennington County Commissioner members, one Rapid City Planning Commissioner, one Rapid City Area School District representative, and one Economic Development Partnership representative.

If we had a committee like this, there might be transparency in the process, they actually meet in council chambers and members of the public can attend to see how the TIF is negotiated. What a concept! In Sioux Falls they are negotiated in the basement of the planning office then rubber stamped by the Planning Commission and City Council.

City of Sioux Falls puts out video bragging about spending tax dollars on private development

You would think normal public officials would be putting out videos about road improvements and cleaning up neighborhoods, nope, they like to brag about TIFs and giving tax rebates to wealthy developers to build parking ramps and condos.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Curt Soehl plays an interesting game tonight

At the council meeting tonight, Soehl recused himself on Item #45, which is a rezone of an historic building in Pettigrew Heights to be converted into a coffee shop. I’m am not sure why he recused himself because he never told the council and the public, but my guess is he may be investing in the project but I do not know for sure. Let’s just say he has a conflict and admitted to it, whatever it is.

After coming back he co-sponsored item #53, a resolution to pull $120K from streets to re-establish the core facade program. He claims he has NO idea who would want to use it but has heard several people are interested.

So imagine my surprise when the main developer of Item #45 was interested in applying for the program after his rezone was approved.

Coincidence? I think not.

So how is it that Soehl walked out on the coffee shop project because of an assumed conflict, then turns around and sponsors a program that MAY benefit the project he has a conflict with?

Hey Curt, we can connect the dots . . . unfortunately you cannot. This will be brought up time and time again when your re-election campaign heats up.

UPDATE: Apparently the Developer of the Coffee Shop is Curt’s re-election campaign treasurer