UPDATE: I guess the neighbors are going to Not oppose the alcohol license now. Which is good, because I need a beer to wash down my boutique benny’s.

The proposed Bunker Coffee Shop at 9th and Grange has gone thru so many business proposals since it’s inception they really should honor the process by calling the place, ‘The Chameleon’;

Halbach also requested a conditional use permit for beer and wine — though it’s for brunch-related beverages as hours will be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

An outdoor beer and coffee bar is planned in the back on a vacant lot he also owns, designed for overflow seating because there’s indoor space for only about 20 guests.

So he wants to change it from a neighborhood coffee shop to a boutique brunch place? Okay. Or maybe a beer garden;

“So this will essentially allow us to send people to the outdoor beer and coffee bar to get a drink while they wait for a table and play yard games or hang out in the yard,” he said, estimating that area could hold up to 50 guests.

I have no issue with allowing them to have beer and wine, BUT, I also don’t live in the neighborhood. I can tell you my experience from having a pretty popular bar only a block from my house a few years ago, it can come with some extra noise but was a welcome addition, I was sad when it closed only to be replaced by another telephone booth casino.

I can tell you that people who live in Pettigrew and Cathedral neighborhoods are opposed to the alcohol request, mainly because Bunker House Coffee keeps changing what it originally proposed, from exterior/interior designs to taxpayer supported on-street parking and facade easements;

The project received a $95,000 facade easement grant from the city of Sioux Falls, and work to redo the brick is scheduled to start soon.

Interesting the facade now jumped $20K from what was originally asked for.

“The guts of the building are in really bad shape,” Halbach said.

The GUTS?! Just looking at the building you could tell it is a complete wreck. I am all for historic preservation and commend people who want to fix up older structures, but personally I would have bulldozed it and built a one-story building with roof patio that would have comparable historic architecture. Probably would have saved him a million bucks.

Hey, I get it, we all have our passions in life, but you can’t bring along the public in a concept that changes it’s colors every 5 minutes.

I think there will be some public blowback to the alcohol permit, but like the facade easement (to the former campaign treasurer of Councilor Curt Soehl), this will pass with flying colors.

Who wants a Mimosa?

The Cathedral and Pettigrew Heights neighborhood associations have already made it clear they do NOT want the greenspace and community gardens at 9th & Grange to be used for affordable housing. Both associations have shown that there are plenty of empty lots and houses that need to be torn down throughout both neighborhoods that can be used to move affordable houses to the neighborhood without using the greenspace.

As I mentioned in the past both associations have plenty of evidence that the school district and the city have been quietly working behind the scenes to take over this space for affordable housing.

A person who attended the most recent Pettigrew Heights association meeting said a city official(?) told some of the attendees that there is still a plan to move affordable houses to the greenspace (Sanford expansion was mentioned).

The land is currently owned by the School District and they may have to get an appraisal on the land before transferring it. If that happens the school board and the city council would have to approve a land transfer (there may be some legal issues with usage). The city could take it over as a park or they could try to transfer the land for affordable housing (the city already maintains the space for the school district).

I guess the first place to watch is the school board, who currently make most decisions behind closed doors, then show up to the public meeting to rubber stamp those nontransparent decisions. The agendas will have to be scrutinized closely because they may try to slip it in on the consent agenda.

As of today, the school district maintains they have NO plans for the space . . . but would they tell us if they did?

The property owned by Alex Halbach (who just happened to be the Campaign treasurer for Central District Councilor Curt Soehl) may get a FREE parking lot. Item #32. (FF:55:30)

Mr. Halbach decided to skip the meeting last night, but his neighbors did not, and they said they have been trying to meet with him but he ignores them. The council deferred it 30 days. Rumor has it that Halbach made threats about stopping the project if he didn’t get this to go thru so there may be a re-consideration vote on the matter next week.

Interesting that Curt Soehl did not recuse himself from the vote because of his conflicts. So far Soehl has re-instated the facade easement program (so Halbach could apply for it).

Getting him a free parking lot (Halbach says he doesn’t want to ruin the greenspace in his backyard) and when he applies for the facade easement that will likely pass also.

This is how councilors pay back supporters with YOUR tax money.

I attended the almost 90 minute meeting tonight (I will have a YT video up soon if you don’t have FB) and it was pretty clear what the neighborhood wanted, GREENSPACE! There was a standing vote, and besides the reporters and city/school staff, everyone was standing in approval of leaving it a park.

The most interesting part was that it seems now the staff from the city and the school district said they have NO PLANS for it. Kevin Smith from the city further pointed out that they don’t own the property but help maintain it.

Funny how transparency works, SUNSHINE WINS THE DAY!

It appears that the city was working behind the scenes with the Sioux Falls School District to build around 14 single family affordable houses on this empty lot owned by the school district. The Pettigrew Heights Neighborhood association got wind of the back door negotiations (they were NOT included in the discussions) and put out a survey to the neighborhood (it is closed now) to see what the neighbors think.

Let’s just say they are NOT happy about how this was being planned (in the dark). While I certainly would support a project like this, I don’t live near it or in that neighborhood so I can’t speak for the people who live there, but it seems they would like to keep it as is and add a park instead.

No matter who is involved with this backdoor plan, I will say this is NOT how you go about it. You have to engage the citizens in the neighborhood in a public meeting setting and work with them on shaping the project.


I think a mixed use of townhomes, apartments and homes with a park and urban garden in the center would be a good way to go. But we NEED the public’s input first and foremost.

They are having a meeting Monday to address the issue. I think some city staff from the planning office are going to be in attendance.