Entries Tagged 'Planning Commission' ↓

The water problem with Wholestone’s packing plant

Recently Joe Kirby wrote a post about why another slaughterhouse is NOT a good idea for Sioux Falls;

Slaughterhouses are a horrible fit for our community. Affordable housing and workforce availability are already huge concerns. The idea of adding lots of difficult, low-paying, low-skill jobs, the type that have traditionally been a drag on our progress and success, makes no sense to me. And expanding the presence inside our city of an industry which has long caused pollution problems in our river and air makes no sense. I simply don’t understand why we would want more of this in Sioux Falls.

I agree, I don’t want another slaughterhouse built, but I would much more prefer there was an effort to not only STOP Wholestone but to close down Smithfields.

The issue with this entire fiasco has nothing to do with Wholestone vs. the Citizens vs. the City, it has to do with South Dakota voters, including right here in Sioux Falls who vote against their own interests. When the City Council passed Shape Places, several citizens said this was a bad thing and wanted to see some changes to the zoning ordinances, so they referred it to a vote. The development community along with some councilors said nothing to see here, move along, and the voters ultimately passed the original plan.

The argument then is still the argument today, Shape Places took power away from the council to make conditional use decisions, and when you take power from our citizen representatives, you take power from us.

I think if the council still had that power instead giving total control over to the developers Wholestone would have been denied by the Council or scaled way back and it has little to do with water quality or air quality, it has to do with water supply.

Where do you think WF will get their water? The reason WF is building within the city limits has nothing to do with the labor market, it has to do with using city resources, they will be using a lot.

Besides letting the developers take over almost all branches of city government we have also let them plan this city instead of the government and citizens;

Granted, the city does a lot of planning. It has a parks plan, a capital spending plan, a downtown plan and much more. But I am not aware of any sort of comprehensive plan for our city with direct participation of the mayor and council.  In support of that, some council members and candidates have told me they wished they could be involved in that sort of big-picture, strategic planning. If there was such a plan, I doubt it would have included the phrase, “add more slaughterhouses”.

This is something Janet Brekke stressed in her entire 4 years on the council. Her colleagues on the dais ignored her and did nothing. I think if she would have gotten re-elected and we would have changed a couple of other seats, Brekke would have been successful moving it forward.

Once again, in Sioux Falls and the rest of the state we continue to vote against our own best interests, and until that changes, you will see NO change in the status quo; DEVELOPERS RUN OUR CITY.

UPDATE III: Your Dream Home Awaits in Southwest Brandon

UPDATE III: I wanted to make a correction to some of the things being said about how the homeowners will be paying back the TIF. While I have surmised from Mr. Powers testimony last night that the repayment would go back to the developer, SF Simplified was told this from the city’s planning office;

The $2.14 million would help with the costs of getting the site ready for homes, designing, etc., and it’d be paid back to the city over the next 20 years via property taxes.

Which makes more sense since the city is footing the bill for the infrastructure, but it still puts into question what was said at the meeting last night.

Does the developer take on the $2 million in debt or the City? Is it a 15 or 20 year TIF? I’m not sure who is in charge of talking points for this project, but it gets more confusing by the day.

A city official told me today that the payback to the TIF will actually go to the bank who is giving the loan for the development, which makes sense. Oh, and guess who that bank is 🙁

UPDATE II: Finally! At the planning commission meeting tonight, commissioner Larry Luetke asks how the TIF works when it comes to the eventual purchaser. Planning staffer, Dustin Powers explained that as people purchase the homes they will have to pay their FULL property taxes then the county will pay part of those tax funds back to the developer until they hit the $2 million amount. In other words the developer is paying the full cost of the development and the homeowners will be paying back the developer thru their taxes over the next 15 years. So essentially, like Starr said last night, this is just a $2 million dollar break on the development itself, for the developer, and gives the eventual homeowner NO tax savings.

On top of that, there are NO guarantees the pricing will come in where they would like them to. The developer has already warned those prices could fluctuate (in other words go up) and there is no contractual agreement to keep the price where promised. Good for the developer, not so good for the homeowner.

*on a separate note, one of the newer commissioners called roads in a development ‘artillery roads’ instead of ‘arterial roads’. I’m not sure what an artillery road is, but if you drive around some central neighborhoods you can certainly see some streets that look like they got hit by artillery.

UPDATE: Tonight at the city council informational meeting they did a presentation on the TIF and it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that developer, not the future homeowner is benefitting from the TIF. Councilor Starr said it best when he suggested that maybe the city should just pay for the $2 million in TIF expenses (infrastructure) out of the general fund and not mess around with the TIF.

Either way, the half ass promise made from the administration, planning and the council before the last election is we were going to target affordable housing in our core, building density while cleaning up our central neighborhoods. Instead we got a ham and cheese sandwich made from Spam and Velveeta.

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The Sioux Falls Planning Commission will be mulling over TIF #26 (Items 5C & D) this next Wednesday. As you can see from the drawings below these are pretty tiny houses. I was also surprised by the floor plan in which the bedrooms were not placed next to each other with one bedroom next to the front entry.

What is curious is there is NO mention in the agenda documents about who will be getting the 15 year tax break. The developer or the new homeowner? There is also the infamous recommendation from un-elected paid planning staff;

Both staff and the development team believe this amount of TIF support is appropriate and adequate for the project to move forward, and that without TIF in this amount, this project as presented would be unable to move forward.

The classic ‘We can’t do this without the TIF.’ But again, I ask, who will be getting the tax break? How do you give a 15 year tax break to a developer who will be selling the homes? Will the new owners be getting a 15 year tax break? I’m puzzled how this will work. It appears to me that the developer will be getting a $2 million dollar tax break up front and the new homeowner will have to pay the normal taxes.

Hopefully we will hear an explanation at the meeting.

*You will also notice that the planning agenda is NOT using the annotated agenda like the city council is using now. Not sure why transparency is so hard for these folks?

Butt Hurt Rich Folks leading opposition to Packing Plant

I often wonder where these folks are to help close the manure factory stinking up the city everyday in this town? After having Covid a couple of years ago my sense of smell has been really bad. I told someone the other day there are only 3 things I can really smell; Smithfields, Burger King and Cigarettes.

READ THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT: SMART GROWTH SIOUX FALLS.

Mr. Sneve beat me to the punch on the funding story;

In a campaign finance filing submitted to the City Clerk’s Office ahead of Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline, Smart Growth Sioux Falls reported more than $93,000 in campaign contributions since its formation earlier this year.

The report confirms prior news reports that a major backer of the opposition to Wholestone Farms LLC’s plan to construct a $600 million pork processing plant in the northeast corner of Sioux Falls is Jeff Broin, the founder, CEO and chairman of POET, a leading producer of ethanol and biofuels headquartered in Sioux Falls.

Sioux Falls Attorney Brendan Johnson asked the council tonight to have a moratorium on the butcher shop until after the election;

In response, Smart Growth Sioux Falls attorney Brendan Johnson Tuesday evening urged Mayor Paul TenHaken and the Sioux Falls City Council during their weekly meeting to take preemptive action.

“It is your responsibility to press pause and let voters decide this issue,” Johnson said. “That means you need to shut down this transparent attempt to side-step the election. My request is simple: press pause—issue a moratorium for two months.”

I will say it again, we approved Shape Places a few years ago and shot ourselves in the foot when it comes to allowing the council to approve conditional use permits. We rolled over like a dog for the developers who run our city and left no options for our local leaders to stop something like this.

I hate to say it, but Shape Places is really a Sh!t Storm.

What were the results of the Sioux Falls neighborhood grant program?

The city decided after spray painting over 2,000 sidewalks in central lower income neighborhoods they would take some of that Covid money to give grants to homeowners to fix sidewalks the CITY OWNS! That’s right, you had to apply for a grant to fix THEIR property. Seems reasonable 🙁

The city said a homeowner could apply for UP to $5,000 and it could be used for needed home repairs also.

So I am curious when community development, code enforcement and planning will present us with the results;

• How many applicants applied?

• How many received the grants?

• How many used the entire $5,000?

• How many used it for ONLY city owned sidewalk repairs?

• How many used it for either both home and sidewalk repairs?

• How many ONLY used it for home repairs?

The results will be interesting, we will see how well their scheme to use Covid money to fix city owned sidewalks worked out.

City of Sioux Falls planning affordable housing development in Southwest Brandon

Well not quite Brandon, but almost. (FF 1:30)

As I understand it the development is in between Washington HS and the city of Brandon on a current empty lot. They will use a TIF to help pay for the roads and utilities. The most affordable houses will be slab on grade (NO basements, not even unfinished), 1,000 sq ft, single stall garage, $250K.

I think a better approach would be building NO attached garage and putting in unfinished basements with egress windows so the basements could be finished later and a garage.

What is silly about this is that when we have talked about building density in our core and providing more affordable housing this was NOT what people were asking for. But it should be NO surprise since the public had ZERO input and the councilors were met with privately about the plan. This video is the first time anyone from the public has heard about it.

I think doing a pilot program in central Sioux Falls would have been a better way to go. You pick a 8 block area that needs some help. The city could use a TIF to rebuild the roads, sewer, water, sidewalks, curb and gutter and street lighting. Community Development could provide loans to fix up the homes in the affected area and Affordable Housing Solutions could demo and buy up empty lots for new housing in the area. Building slab on grade houses next to Brandon with no apparent public transit service will do little to solve our affordable housing issues in the core of Sioux Falls.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, August 2-3, 2022

PLANNING COMMISSION ENTIRE AGENDA ON CONSENT FOR 2ND MONTH IN A ROW

Planning Meeting • Wednesday August 3 • 6 PM

As if it were not bad enough that the members barely have a quorum each month, have multiple conflicts of interest and the agenda reads like Chinese algebra, for the 2nd month in a row they put everything on the consent agenda. Of course, the public can pull an item for discussion, but rarely do. I also found it interesting that the entire agenda is in consent considering Item 2 (I) has NO recommendation from staff.

THE SECRETLY SELECTED HOMELESS TASK FORCE WILL HAVE FIRST MEETING

Homeless Task Force • Wednesday August 3 • 1 PM

While the task force has stated the meetings will be recorded, I am not sure if they will live stream. I still have not heard why the members were secretly selected behind closed doors and there wasn’t an open application process. Not sure this group of ‘specials’ is cut out for the job;

Rich Merkouris – City Council, Pastor

Marshall Selberg – City Council, Real Estate

Curt Soehl – City Council, Insurance Salesman

Michelle Erpenbach – Sioux Falls Thrive

Kari Benz – Director of Human Services · Lincoln/Minnehaha County

Mike Curtis – Crop production Services – Area Sales Manager (?)

Anny Libengood – Anny Libengood – South Dakota Multi-Housing Association

Terry Liggins – non-profit called The Hurdle Life Coach Foundation

From 2015 – “Terry Daron Liggins, age 29, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was sentenced to 15 months in prison on the conspiracy charge, and 24 months on the ID theft charge, to be served consecutively.  Upon release from prison he will be on supervised release for 3 years.  Liggins was also ordered to make restitution to the IRS in the amount of $339,535, and to two ID theft victims in the amount of $866.83.”

Andy Patterson – President/CEO · Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation

Jesse Schmidt – Better Business Bureau

Dustin Haber – Bender Commercial Realty

Rebecca Wimmer – Coordinator of Community Partnerships · Sioux Falls School District

Kadyn Wittman – Development Director YMCA

Budget Hearing • Tuesday August 2 • 3 PM

REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING FULL OF CONSULTING FEES AND CRAZY NEITZERT AMENDMENTS

Regular Council Meeting • Tuesday August 2 • 6 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts

Sub-Item #6, Aquatic and Ice Rink Development – Vision Plan for Kuehn, Frank Olson, McKennan, Terrace, and Laurel Oak Pools; Agreement for professional services, PROS Consulting, $99K. As I have mentioned at council meetings, we have plenty of dusty studies on the shelf of what pools need to be fixed. I sometimes wonder if Parks Director Don Swanson is getting a kickback from the consulting firms?

Sub-Item #10, Mass Notification Software Contract Renewal. Notification tool is utilized by multiple City depts. to notify residents of Sioux Falls in the event of emergency, and other mass public notifications, Everbridge, $47,745.48 per year for 3 years. I find this one intriguing considering I thought the cell phone companies help pay for this thru other fees and taxes. Can someone clarify?

Sub-Item #15, Legal Services Engagement; Amendment to professional services agreement, Woods Fuller Schultz & Smith P.C., $20K. And what is this for?

Sub-Item #29, Rail Yard Redevelopment – Quiet Zone Preliminary Design; Agreement for professional services, Alfred Benesch & Company, $73K. While a design certainly has to be done, why on earth would the taxpayers of Sioux Falls being paying for a preliminary design before the railroads have agreed to it? What about the state? The Feds? Why doesn’t the developer that wants this pay for it? How about the Department of Transportation, or better yet the Railroad? And what pocket is this coming from? I think we need to get everyone on board before we start designing this and sneaking it in the consent agenda.

Item #42, 2nd Reading: Deferred from the meeting of Tuesday, July 19, 2022; AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY BY AMENDING CHAPTER 30: ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS, MOTIONS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS REQUIRING COUNCIL APPROVAL BY REQUIRING AN ANNOTATED AGENDA. (This item was referred to the Operations Committee at the Council Meeting of April 13, 2022 and reported to the Council at the Meeting of July 19, 2022). This is a long time coming, and I think the council needs to make more bold steps towards transparency. Of course, I am NOT going to hold my breath. It took Janet Brekke 4 years to get this on the agenda, and when she finally got it there, the council deferred it. They have NO interest in expanding transparency.

Item #43, 2nd Reading: AN ORDINANCE REVISING § 124.012 OF CITY CODE THAT PROVIDES FOR SIOUX AREA METRO TRANSIT FARES. This is also long past due, and with little fanfare, the kids ride for free!

Item #51, 2nd Reading: AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA, DIRECTING SUBMISSION OF AN INITIATED MEASURE TO PROHIBIT THE CONSTRUCTION OR PERMITTING OF NEW SLAUGHTERHOUSES WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS TO A VOTE OF THE ELECTORS OF THE CITY AT THE GENERAL ELECTION TO BE HELD ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2022. I still think this ballot question is unconstitutional, and if I was a city councilor, I would vote to NOT put it on the ballot.

COUNCILOR NEITZERT TRIES TO CLAIM NON-PROFITS ARE NON-PARTISAN, LMFAO!

Item #65, A RESOLUTION ADOPTING THE 2022 CITY COUNCIL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES. Part of the changes have to do with the travel policies of the council. Of course, councilor Neitzert who was impeached for going to a partisan event with the Mayor and former Deputy Chief of Staff, TJ Nelson, now wants to define that non-profits are non-partisan. His amendment is as follows;

For purposes of this policy, any non-profit organization under Section 501(c) of the United States Internal Revenue Code is not considered a partisan organization.

Not only is that incredibly false its ludicrous he would even propose something so ridiculous. And if a majority of the council approves his amendment, we will make sure the IRS is aware that the Sioux Falls City Council thinks non-profits are non-partisan, unicorns exist and the tooth fairy is my neighbor.

Sioux Falls Building Permits need Clarity

The horns are a tootin’ and the noisy makers are out;

Sioux Falls set a record by surpassing $1 billion in building activity last year, setting the mark in late November. This year, the city hit $1 billion in less than seven months.

I have argued for years that I while this is a good thing, we really need a realistic breakdown.

I would first start with a simple breakdown;

• 100% Private investment vs. Institutional & Public

I couldn’t even guess what that would be, but I think private is probably the bigger percentage

I would also like to see this breakdown;

• Density vs. New development

In other words what percentage is building and rebuilding in our core and established neighborhoods and what is new land acquisition?

A more detailed breakdown would be;

• Public (city, state, county, school, federal, military, etc.)

• Institutional (Hospitals, non-profits, churches, etc.)

• Multi-Housing (Apartments, duplexes, etc.)

• Single family residential

• Commercial (100% private investment)

• Commercial (partial public investment like tax rebates and TIFs)

I think this data is important because it gives us a big picture of how we are breaking these records. I have asked for this data for years and never get anywhere. I did download the building permit spreadsheet from 2021 and tried to break it down but it was nearly impossible since many developers have multiple mysterious LLCs they are using for the permitting.

If the Planning Department wants to really boast about the permits, why not give us a picture of what that looks like.

Another Bunker Ramp update. Let me guess, we have winner!

It has only been a couple of weeks since we were told they were going put lipstick on that gigantic concrete pig, now we are getting another update;

• Downtown Parking Ramp Update by Erica Beck, Chief of Staff

More than likely this is an update with the mural selection process, but you never know, they may have an interested party. A few months ago I heard a rumor that Councilor Neitzert was telling some constituents he wanted to do an investigation into how the Bunker Ramp got so messed up. I almost died laughing. I told this person we could save a lot of time if we just handed Greg a mirror.

They will also be amending the Shape Places;

• Shape Places Ordinance & Proposed Amendments by Jason Bieber, Senior Planner

I find the expedited timeline of getting these changes in place interesting. This means many of them have been in the works for months without the knowledge of the public or council.

Sioux Falls Planning Commission Member admits to conflict and votes on the item

(FF 9:00) Item 5A.

Larry Luetke admits he has a conflict with item 5a and still remains in his seat (A.K.A. no recusal and) votes on the item. He admitted working with a developer to place 4 duplexes on property. One of the reasons I think the Planning Commission started doing most of the agenda on consent was because of the multiple conflicts the board members have. Item 5A was placed on the regular agenda, but that didn’t stop Luetke, he remained in his chair, admitted to helping the developer to develop the land and voted on the item.

While former councilor Brekke had a great suggestion to put city staff, councilors and board members thru ethics training, It seems they need something more simple like what the three words ‘Conflict of Interest’ mean.

Was the City of Sioux Falls planning an affordable housing project without Neighborhood input?

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.

THE WAR ON TRANSPARENCY IN THIS CITY MUST END!

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.