The Sioux Falls City Council got its first look at the city’s first fully revised zoning plans in 30 years Tuesday night. Shape Sioux Falls is part of the city’s comprehensive plan. The review took years and hundreds of pages. City administrators say it puts fewer restrictions on zoning.
“We're trying to develop people's place; how they see their land,” Jeff Schmitt with Sioux Falls Planning and Zoning said.
The new plan is supposed to be more user friendly for developers and residents. If passed, the plan will rezone a majority of the city from the newest to the oldest neighborhoods. It will also take away conditional uses in favor of retail zoning by size. It would also solve some zoning issues residents have had in the past.
“Zoning is what matters and we've put standards in there about what the landscaping has to be, what has to be between property and anything non-residential,” Schmitt said.
The proposal also provides more development options, making room for development ideas that didn't exist in the 1980s. And administrators say it will fix inconsistencies, making the process easier to understand.
“They can improve their properties; add to them in some cases. Those core neighborhoods will have an easy time doing maintenance things and improvements they want to do,” city council member Michelle Erpenbach, who says residents in her district are looking forward to the changes, said.
“We all have the best intentions of making this easy and simple and better for all of us, but I just am nervous about the public standing up and saying, 'Wait a minute,'” councilor Greg Jamison said.
And Councilor Kermit Staggers said the vote will be one of the biggest policy votes of his term on the city council.
Despite what appears to be intense city official discussion, few residents are talking about it. Tuesday's ordinance reading had limited concerned citizens out to hear about the changes.
The second reading is scheduled for the March 19, 2013, city council meeting.