Residents of a south Sioux Falls neighborhood already responsible for putting one referendum on the 2014 spring election ballot are circulating petitions again.
Save Our Neighborhood referred the city's new zoning ordinance to a public vote earlier this spring because it would have allowed big box development to go up at 85th Street and South Minnesota Avenue. Now they've set their sights on commercial zoning approved by the city council earlier this month.
“We've got a lot of momentum. We've got a lot of help this time that we didn't have last time,” Dana Palmer with Save Our Neighborhood said. “We're just very passionate about the fact that this is an inappropriate place to put a store of that size.”
From a street corner in the neighborhood next to the proposed south Sioux Falls Walmart site, Palmer said Save Our Neighborhood has momentum to stop the zoning in what is now a soybean field southwest of the intersection at 85th Street and South Minnesota Avenue that allows the retailer to move forward with its 24-hour super center plans.
Palmer and the group filed a petition to refer the city's commercial zoning vote August 10. They have 20 days to collect more than 5,000 signatures of Minnehaha and Lincoln county residents living within the boundaries of Sioux Falls in order to put the issue to a city-wide vote. Palmer says the group will collect up to 8,000, saying their neighborhood issue is one that resonates with voters.
“If the city council is willing to put a store of this size next to single-family residential in our neighborhood, they'll do it in someone else's neighborhood as well,” Palmer said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Walmart wants to build a 40-acre site just off Minnesota Avenue and 85th Street. The months-long approval process hit a big milestone when the city council voted 7-1 to allow commercial zoning for the store. Residents here say they'll keep fighting long after this referendum push is over.
“We just haven't done all we can, and we are going to do all we can and we actually will not give up until the last opportunity has been taken,” Palmer said.
The group has until August 30 to turn in the signatures. If they collect enough, the issue would likely be put to the April 8, 2014, city-wide election ballot. That ballot also has the Shape Places referral carried out by the same group.