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Sioux Falls Neighborhood Upset At Zoning Decision

December 17, 2013, 10:29 PM by Jared Ransom

Sioux Falls Neighborhood Upset At Zoning Decision

A new residential and commercial development in Sioux Falls is receiving push-back from neighbors near the intersection of 85th Street and Western Avenue in Sioux Falls, enough so that a petition was filed to have the city council re-vote on the development.

"Of the 29 owners that are eligible, the petitions included 12 signatures. So, if you take 12 and divide that by 29, you get 41-point-something percent," City Planning Director Mike Cooper said.

The neighbors feel there was a promise made to them in 2008 when the land was originally zoned for development and that the company that owns the land is changing the agreement and making their own decisions with no neighborhood consideration.

"We as a neighborhood feel that there has to be a balance of property rights of the individual homeowners versus major developers," neighbor Thomas Olson said.

"After months of negotiations, Three Fountains Plaza was a compromise between the developers and the neighborhood. Zoning is a promise to existing home owners," neighbor Marcia Ruff said.

The decision was then brought back to the council and there were some divisions.

For some council members, they believe the home owners who live around the land were told one thing and are now being shown another.

"I think if we failed this tonight, we're actually going to create a rift on all vacant land across the city that doesn't even have close to this predictability," council member Greg Jamison said.

As for the idea of zoning being a promise, that idea was quickly put to rest.

"In reality it is not a promise. It's something that we have on the books as an ordinance, but hey, we change it all the time," council member Kermit Stagers said.

A re-vote was taken and the council voted six to two to keep their original vote in place, leaving neighbors disappointed again.

There are certain ordinances that can be put in place that would keep land zoned for a specific purpose on a permanent basis, but overall, the zoning of land can change as a city finds a need to expand.

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