Forward Zoning is a community group advocating in favor of the Shape Places ballot issue (Referred Law 3). Frankly, I'm not surprised if you've never heard of either one of them.
The Shape Places Ordinance was unanimously approved by the City Planning Commission, as well as the Sioux Falls City Council. It was referred to a vote by the "Save Your Neighborhood" group in an effort to stall a planned Walmart in southern Sioux Falls.
Forward Zoning has begun an aggressive push over the past week to educate voters on the Shape Places Ordinance. Their latest press release appears below.
Please make plans to join our special forum on the Shape Places Ordinance tomorrow at 10am! We'll be joined by Jeff Schmitt of the city planning office, Dana Palmer of "Save Your Neighborhood" and Greg Neitzert of Forward Zoning.
Greg Belfrage (@belfrageshow) is heard 6am-9am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sioux Falls, SD (March 25, 2014) — Today Forward Zoning, a committee of citizens and business leaders, kicked off its campaign for voters to support Referred Law 3 Shape Places Zoning Ordinance in the Tuesday, April 8 city election. Referred Law 3 Shape Places helps keep nonresidential uses, like homeless shelters, out of residential neighborhoods, eliminates twin homes from single family districts and puts the burden on building developers, not citizens by requiring rezones. Referred Law 3 Shape Places does not change public notification processes, conditional use hearing procedures or opportunity for public input and the appeals process.
“Referred Law 3 Shape Places gives citizens in Sioux Falls more certainty of how their community and neighborhoods will grow and flourish,” said Greg Neitzert, Forward Zoning Committee Chair/Treasurer. “It’s built on years of input from the public and experts to be sure Sioux Falls develops with consistent and predictable land use.”
Conditional uses allow undesirable land uses to creep into neighborhoods. Referred Law 3 Shape Places significantly reduces unwanted and inappropriate conditional uses, which means less risk and unpredictability for what can be built in neighborhoods. It also eliminates the risk for nonresidential buildings such as nursing homes, group homes, day cares, and homeless shelters, to be built next door to residential neighborhoods.
Referred Law 3 Shape Places also requires minimum separation distances between homes and undesirable land uses while creating a new classification called Sensitive Land Use which includes: residential uses, churches, schools, day cares and parks. Also, Referred Law 3 Shape Places enforces a fixed size on commercial buildings based on the district.
“A yes vote for Referred Law 3 Shape Places simplifies the zoning process for developers, encourages business growth in Sioux Falls and gives citizens an easier to understand format to navigate the zoning process,” said Ron Nelson of Nelson Property Consultants and Forward Zoning committee member.
By South Dakota statute, city zoning ordinances must reflect and further the goals of its comprehensive plan. The city adopted its current Comprehensive Plan, Shape Sioux Falls 2035, in 2009. Last updated in 1983, when Sioux Falls had a population of about 80,000, Shape Places creates a logical and much needed update to the zoning ordinances and reflects the goals and vision of the Shape Sioux Falls 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Developed with input from citizens beginning in 2008, and with over 60 public meetings, the Sioux Falls City Council adopted Shape Sioux Falls on March 19, 2013.
What’s Shape Places Zoning Ordinance?
Shape Places, on the April 8 Sioux Falls ballot as Referred Law 3, approves more than five years of work to update Sioux Falls zoning ordinances.
Why is it being voted on by the public?
Shape Places was referred to a public vote following the city council’s unanimous approval in March 2013.
How does Referred Law 3 Shape Places benefit the average citizen?
Referred Law 3 Shape Places gives the public more certainty in the future of their community and their neighborhood. Referred Law 3 Shape Places simplifies the zoning process. It keeps nonresidential uses, such as homeless shelters, out of residential neighborhoods, eliminates twin homes in single family districts and places the burden on developers, not citizens by requiring rezones.
How does Referred Law 3 Shape Places benefit economic growth?
By simplifying the process, and giving citizens more certainty for the future of their neighborhoods, business and developers of all sizes can invest in Sioux Falls with more security and ease. Certain projects have not come to Sioux Falls because of the length of time it can take with the current ordinance to get through a routine conditional use permit. Shape Places eliminates the question and uncertainty developers have on a site, 'Can we or can't we go on this site?' This same certainty also gives assurance in advance to neighboring property owners of exactly what will be allowed in the future.
What’s wrong with what we have now?
More than 275 conditional uses exist in current Sioux Falls zoning. Conditional uses allow land uses unwanted by adjacent property owners to creep into neighborhoods. Referred Law 3 Shape Places significantly reduces unwanted and inappropriate conditional uses and gives property owners a more 'user friendly' understandable set of rules so they don't encounter future 'surprises' in their neighborhood.
The city last updated its zoning ordinance in 1983 when just about 80,000 people called Sioux Falls home. It’s time for a change and required by the state.
Will this stop big box stores from coming to certain neighborhoods?
There is a place for big boxes. Shape places will clearly identify in advance where big boxes will be allowed to go. No neighborhood surprises.
What’s the timeline for Shape Places?
• 2008: the Shape Sioux Falls visual listening survey was held. 1,500 citizens completed the survey either during meetings or online and helped provide citizen guidance to the land use and development policies.
• May-December 2008: a land use and development review committee had eight separate meetings to determine the specific policies that were included in the Shape Sioux Falls 2035 comprehensive plan.
• December 7, 2009: Shape Sioux Falls 2035 comprehensive plan was adopted by the Sioux Falls City Council.
• April 2010December 2012: Study groups made up of citizens and industry professionals directly involved and affected by zoning regulations (landscape, architectural , real estate, development, engineering) formed to determine recommendations for specific changes to the Zoning Ordinance based on the Shape Sioux Falls 2035 plan. The comprehensive plan guides future land development in the city. By state law, the zoning ordinance needs to be "in accordance with the comprehensive plan" (SDCL 1143). The draft zoning ordinance, based on the result of study groups and public input, was presented to the study groups, the City Council Land Use Committee and Planning Commission for review and comment. The draft zoning ordinance was made available to the public via the Sioux Falls website and was publicized. Public input was taken and integrated into the ordinance through a total of over 60 public meetings. Multiple press conferences and open houses were held to take public input and notify interested citizens. Multiple drafts were published reflecting public comments.
• February 6, 2013: The Sioux Falls Planning Commission reviewed and approved the Shape Places Zoning Ordinance. Public input was taken.
• March 5, 2013: The Sioux Falls City Council held a first reading of the Shape Places Zoning Ordinance.
• March 19, 2013: The Sioux Falls City Council adopted the Shape Places Zoning Ordinance on a 70 vote (one member absent).
• April 8, 2014: Sioux Falls City Election with Referred Law 3 on the ballot for Shape Places.