Sioux Falls, SD
People who live near the intersection of 85th St. and Western Ave. will soon see apartment buildings join the neighborhood, a fact that doesn't sit well with Thomas Olson, who lives right across the street.
"We've been here about 21 years, and we don't feel that a three-story apartment complex with seven units is an appropriate fit for the neighborhood," Olson said.
The Three Fountains Plaza development has been in front of the Sioux Falls City Council several times, including two months ago after the neighborhood petitioned the council to reconsider their decision to let the plan go forward. Olson voiced frustrations then over development plans changed with no neighborhood input.
"We as a neighborhood feel there has to be a balance of property rights of the individual home owners versus major developers," Olson said.
His feelings since then have not wavered.
"Other neighbors looked at more recent development plans. They talk about a gentle transition into existing single-family rural developments, which this is, and that's not a gentle transition," Olson said.
When final development plans were put in front of the city's planning commission Wednesday night, nobody spoke against the project. Olson admits that's because earlier encounters with the council wore them down.
"I think a lot of the neighbors since that previous session felt that it was pretty much done from our stand point," Olson said.
Even though the actions of the city council have somewhat silenced these neighbors and they are just waiting for shovels to enter the ground, that does not mean their objections are just going to go away.
They have also lost the ability to trust what they are told.
"I really find it a stretch for a person that's buying or building a home near an open area to be able to rely on what's going to be across the street from them," Olson said.
Olson had plans to be at the city planning commission meeting to speak about the project, but just like others in the neighborhood, he feels that his voice won't do much to change anyone's mind in this stage of the process.