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Neighbor Speaks Out Against Sanford Rezoning

September 4, 2012, 5:03 PM by Brady Mallory

Neighbor Speaks Out Against Sanford Rezoning

In 25 years, a Sioux Falls neighborhood next to a major health care center could look a lot different.  The Sioux Falls City Council will decide Tuesday night whether to rezone five blocks east of Sanford hospital's main campus from residential to a planned development district.  The decision could eventually lead to another expansion.  There are orange signs letting people who live east of Sanford Health that the area is up for rezoning.

"We want them to expand to the east and start moving toward Minnesota Avenue.  As people come into town, it's a little challenging for them to find out how to get to Sanford when they are in the neighborhood," Jeff Schmidt with Sioux Falls City Planning said.

There are no plans to expand yet, but in the next 25 years, more clinics and parking could pop up on the five blocks east of Sanford.  The hospital owns all the properties from 18th Street to 22nd Street between Menlo and Prairie Avenues.  However, it doesn't own 13 homes, and one of these homes has opted out of being part of rezoning.  

"Over time, they'll redevelop those existing properties.  The properties they don't own remain in part what is there.  An existing family house will remain an existing family house," Schmidt said.

One neighbor from the north side tells a different story.

"Sanford buys in little pieces and they're like reapers in the night," Diane Huwe said.  "Beware, your 'hood could be next."

Huwe said she is the only remaining homeowner on the side immediately north of Sanford.  Her house is near the Ronald McDonald House. In the 30 years she has lived there, she said Sanford's rezoning/expansion projects have cost her friends and neighbors.  Now everyone around her rents and then moves on.  She said it is bringing more crime to the area, but said Sanford is ignoring her concerns.

"I believe their response to us has been they want to be considerate, courteous and caring.  Nuh-uh!" Huwe said.

According to Huwe, she is speaking up for the people of Sioux Falls before there are no homeowners left in the area.  But Schmidt said city planners are also looking out for everyone's best interests by keeping major employers vibrant and healthy.

"We want the four major institutions to remain part of our community," Schmidt said.

Sanford's Vice President of Facilities & Planning Orlen Tschetter responded in a statement to KELOLAND News.

"First and foremost, we are always open and willing to work with our neighbors.  In addition to being a neighborhood partner, we work closely with the city planners to ensure our growth plan is done in a way that meets their vision for the development of the area. We also follow their advice on how to proceed with projects like this.  This plan was devised with, and approved by, the city planning department. We look forward to continuing the discussion and answering questions at tonight's meeting."

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