Entries Tagged 'Minnehaha County' ↓

Minnehaha County Commission trying to put the cat back in the bag on Short-Term vacation rentals

I guess short-term rentals in MC have become the wild west of vacation rentals;

The Minnehaha Planning Commission is looking to propose a clearer definition – and tighter regulations – for Airbnbs and other short-term vacation rentals in the county. Here’s what an early draft would mean for local rentals.

While I support some regulation, and many neighbors do also, I think some of the recommendations are extremely broad, ignorant and unneeded.

It would also create a separate conditional use permit specific to Airbnb-type rentals. That permit would have its own set of requirements.

I agree there needs to be registration, but it should be a simple filing fee of $50 or so, not $500 per year. I also think the city should piggyback on the proposal and impose quarterly health inspections to insure there are no issues with bed bugs, plumbing, HVAC, etc. just like hotel rooms. There should also be a county and city BID tax applied to such entities. But there are some pie in the sky proposals;

  • Vacation rentals can’t have more than two guests per bedroom.

There is absolutely NO way of enforcing this. Is the county and perhaps the city going to show up in the middle of the night to every single rental when they have a resident and make sure this rule is being abided by? Hell No! Making rules you won’t or can’t enforce reminds me of the tobacco ban in city parks or texting and driving. When you make a law, and ordinance or rule, you must also have a plan for enforcement, what is that plan?

  • Minimum parking requirements are one space per guest. (So, if you’ve got an Airbnb that sleeps 12, you need 12 parking spots minimum.)

This one made me bust up laughing. So if a family of 6 rents a place, they have to have 6 parking spots for the two adult parents and 4 children? Or the individual business traveler who takes and UBER to their destination? While I do support some kind of parking requirement, it should only be a minimum two spots per unit. I have used VRBO in the past, and their has only been ONE parking spot provided (that I didn’t use).

There is also NO reason to regulate this private property industry past health inspections and registration since the industry does a pretty good job of regulating BAD clients. You can’t just show up an hour before booking and move in, you have to be vetted by the the service providers and can be denied for any reason.

I have to say the reason I think short-term vacation rentals are so popular is because they are more affordable then hotel stays and my experience has been stellar. It’s like having your own condo on vacation without room service but the comforts of home. Here is a picture of my building patio view at my last VRBO which cost about 75% less then a hotel room miles from the beach.

I wonder if the MCC even did a nationwide study of what other cities and counties do, or if they just listened to some whiny neighbors on Wall Lake?

Short term rentals DO need regulation, but it should be applied in baby steps, and it should have a plan for enforcement.

Voter turnout continues to decline in Minnehaha County

I first saw this in the past city election and now with the failure of IM 27 that for some reason, Minnehaha County residents, mostly Sioux Falls, are not showing up to vote;

What the data does show, though, is a trend.

  • For whatever reason – likely, a complex variety of factors – the number of ballots cast in local midterm elections is increasing at a much slower rate than both the number of people registered to vote and the number of people coming to Sioux Falls in general.
  • Looking at turnout percentages, it also shows Lincoln County voters turnout at a higher rate than Minnehaha County voters and overall voters statewide.
  • Minnehaha County voters saw the steepest decline in turnout, dropping below the overall statewide turnout in the last decade.

I am not sure why more people are choosing to not vote in Sioux Falls, MC. I think the rhetoric over the past few years about your vote not counting is discouraging voters, we saw this with IM 27. I have no doubt in my mind that if it would have passed, the legislature would have gutted it to nothing, I think voters assumed that.

I have told people that if the county promoted more ways to absentee vote, the numbers would rise.

Minnehaha County proposing NEW $50 Million dollar JDC facility

A heads up to a journalist who called me yesterday asking if I knew about THIS & THIS (he also wanted to know if I was at the meeting yelling in the background 🙂 I was not, only LOSERS do that).

I did know that there has been planning for it over the past 3 years but it was kind of a sticker shock considering they will have to bond for it (higher property taxes). While the City of Sioux Falls is throwing $10 million at a college for ‘landscaping and other stuff’ the county is borrowing money for kid jails. Maybe we could spend $60 million on an advanced tech mentorship program from DSU to public school students in Sioux Falls. Now that’s crime prevention. I’m sure Matt Paulson is all over it!

Minnehaha County Commission votes 4-1 to move Public Input to the end of the meetings

During regular public input at the beginning of the meeting several citizens spoke out about moving public input, including myself.

It was the last agenda item on the meeting and during that discussion they voted to move it to the end but did take Barth’s amendment to leave it at 5 minutes instead of 3. He was the dissenting vote.

I reminded the MCC that this was the public’s time and the word DISSENT is in the 1st Amendment.

UPDATE: Minnehaha County Commission joins City Council’s attempt to limit public input

I saw this coming when people concerned about election integrity and opposition to the CO2 pipeline started showing up to MCC meetings;

But having those comment sessions at the beginning of meetings delays other work. And members of the public who are at a meeting for a specific item have to sit through lengthier public comment sessions.

The new policy, which hasn’t been adopted yet, would also reduce comment from five minutes to three.

(See Former Mayor Mike Huether’s 9 minute public input at the MCC meeting as a private property owner)

They of course are using the tired old argument that the ONE person asking for a rezone has to wait through public input, as if the public’s sentiments are not important.

“When I started, we didn’t have a time constraint,” Commission Chairwoman Cindy Heiberger said. “People rarely came to talk to us.”

That has changed, particularly in recent months with people who doubt the county’s election integrity.

Besides lowering the time limit to three minutes, the new policy would forbid speakers from using electronic recordings in their presentations, and paper handouts would have to be handed out in advance.

The reason people rarely show up to the meetings is because you have them at 9 AM on a Tuesday morning when common folk are working, it has very little to do with people being HAPPY with county government, they simply don’t know what you do because you conduct your business in non-opportune time slots and take days to post the replay of the meeting.

Commissioner Jeff Barth, who is soon to be retired from the commission, said the status quo has worked “pretty well” in his two decades as an observer and member of the commission.

“The fact that there has been some abuse in recent times isn’t a reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” he said. 

But that is what authoritarians do. When a couple of supposed bad apples show up and actually DISSENT the government their first reaction is to squash that dissent. The Sioux Falls City Council literally changed their public input policy because ONE person called the mayor an SOB, guess what, that person still comes and speaks at the meetings. You accomplished nothing except disenfranchising the rest of the public who have legitimate dissent.

As I have told the council in the past, general public input isn’t for birthday announcements and back patting it is to make our representative government aware of issues in the community. Sometimes those issues don’t have cute names like ONE, 52 or 437.

The more you limit the public to express themselves the more out of touch our government becomes.

Quarry Hotel?

I have heard from a couple of reliable sources that the aggregate company that wants to buy the fairgrounds has been circulating a presentation on different concepts of what to do with the old quarry once they leave it and start using the fairgrounds quarry (if the sale is successful). One concept is a quarry lake hotel like they recently opened in China. It is probably highly unlikely since it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to construct and somewhat funny that they are even throwing the idea around. As I told someone about the concept, “It’s kinda of like what we were promised with the Denty and instead we got a polished (dented) turd.”

Debt in the Sioux Falls Region

The below information was sent to me by Mike Zitterich (he notated where he got it)

Depending on what county and school district you live (within city limits) your debt could be anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000. My debt is $2,100 (Minnehaha, SFSD, City)

Minnehaha County Commission denies public input on CO2 pipeline

Besides the fact that the commission gave the green light for the pipeline to move forward (4-1 vote, Barth dissented) they also told the attendees there would be NO public input because the chair said it ‘wasn’t a public hearing.’ Ok, what the Hell would you call a public meeting with a posted agenda item? A church potluck?

14) Consider a Temporary Zoning Ordinance on Gas and Liquid Transmission Pipelines

They did follow state law by allowing general public input at the beginning of the meeting, but you are NOT allowed to comment on agenda items. I would encourage attendees to file an open meetings violation against the commission for denying them their 1st Amendment Rights and the use of Prior Restraint by the Chair. Barth asked for public input and the chair said they have pretty much heard enough thru phone calls and emails. So are those emails and phone calls going to be posted online so people can see those conversations?

City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County put on notice for high speed pursuit and accident

A 321 notice is a public record and is used to make a party aware that they may be sued. According to the notice, the victim is accusing that the Sheriff’s Department and Police Department of wrongfully pursuing a vehicle and causing an accident (Entire Document)

Since this may be pending litigation, I am not sure what exactly happened BUT I have seen police cars in Sioux Falls speeding thru traffic without sirens or lights on and wondered why.

Take the Money and Run!

So the Minnehaha County Commission got a surprise this morning;

Knife River Corp., owner of the former Concrete Materials Co., has offered Minnehaha County $65 million for the  William H. Lyon Fair Grounds.

Maybe it wasn’t that big of a surprise.

A 1999 task force went through a similar exercise with consultants and concluded the fair needed $31 million in capital improvements, but the county didn’t identify a source for the funds, Meyer said.

“It also struggled to develop an operating business model that made the fair self-sustaining and no longer continually dependent upon county subsidies as it is today,” he said.

I had a discussion with a Commissioner before the task force was created and said that if Knife River puts forth a good offer they should take it. The Fairgrounds are crumbling and Knife River needs aggregate to keep Sioux Falls growing, but there are some legal issues;

Commissioner Jean Bender, who is an attorney, said the county does not have a clear legal path to sell the property.

“That land was a gift to the county, and that gift is very tightly constrained, and the risk is if we sell that property that that property would go back to the heirs, and the county would get nothing,” she said. “So there are very significant legal impediments, which is why it hasn’t been done in the past.”

I actually think the county could overcome those hurdles, and they really should;

“If you ever want to bankrupt somebody, give them a white elephant,” Commissioner Dean Karsky said. “We have something we have to take care of, but we have no revenue source to do that.”

I have suggested that after a successful sale, the county could relocate the fair to a smaller community in the county like Dell Rapids, Brandon, Hartford, etc. The new fairgrounds could start with tent rentals and really doesn’t need a grandstand. We have plenty of entertainment options in Sioux Falls, we don’t need another concert facility. If they put the $65 million in an endowment to fund the fair moving forward, it could work well.

I hope the commission doesn’t sit on their hands and explores other options.