Information about April 8, 2014 ballot issues
The City of Sioux Falls Municipal/School Board election will be held Tuesday, April 8. Open municipal positions include: Mayor, At-Large Council Member "A," At-Large Council Member "B," Central District Council Member, and Southeast District Council Member. The Sioux Falls School Board has one vacancy.
The filing deadline for all open seats was at 5 p.m. on Feb. 28, after the press deadline for this issue of Chamber News. As of press time incumbent Doug Morrison is the only person to file for the School Board seat; if Morrison remains the only candidate, there will be no school board election.
Incumbents for the City election are Mayor Mike T. Huether; Councilor Rex Rolfing, At-Large Council Member "A;" and Councilor Michelle Erpenbach, Central District Council Member. Councilors James Entenman, At-Large Council Member "B," and Sue Aguilar, Southeast District Council Member, will not be seeking re-election. More details about the candidates running for these open seats will be published in the April 2, 2014 print edition of Chamber News and through various electronic communications tools throughout March.
In addition, voters can also decide on four issues. An Initiated Measure is brought forth by the citizens without prior council action. Residents have six months to collect the required signatures, which is 5 percent of registered voter population. A Referred Law is a resolution or ordinance that is referred to the voters by citizens. These residents have 20 days after publication to collect the required signatures, which is also 5 percent of the registered voter population. Official ballot language was not available at press time. Three of the four issues were reviewed by the Chamber's Board of Directors, after being reviewed by the Chamber's Issues Management Council and Legislative Issues Committee. At its Feb. 26 meeting, the Board issued the following recommendations:
Snow Gates (Initiated Measure 1)
Sioux Falls voters will also determine if snowgates will be implemented within the City's snow removal plan. Residents opposed to the direct implementation of snowgates (designed to reduce the amount of snow in driveways and intersections) collected enough signatures to place the issue on the ballot.
The Chamber Board encourages voters to further study this issue; however, it did not take a formal position on Initiated Measure 1.
Spellerberg Pool (Initiated Measure 2)
A "yes" vote would result in an outdoor pool being built at Spellerberg Park and a "no" vote would pave the way for an indoor aquatics facility at Spellerberg.
The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce believes it is time for Sioux Falls to construct and operate a public indoor swimming facility (or facilities) to support year-round aquatic activities for all citizens and competitive swimming for local teams.
Phase 1 of the City's aquatic facility master plan recommends adding a centralized indoor aquatics facility by 2016. Also, the City's master plan includes recommendations on the types, sizes and locations of other public aquatic facilities within Sioux Falls for the next ten years.
We recommend a "no" vote in order for the City to move forward with an indoor aquatics facility at Spellerberg Park.
Shape Places (Referred Law 3)
A "yes" vote would adopt the Shape Places zoning plan and a "no" vote would retain the City's existing zoning ordinance.
The Chamber participated in many public input and informational sessions that led to the adoption of the Shape Places ordinance by the Sioux Falls City Council. The process was thorough and provided the public ample opportunity for input and comment. Therefore, the Chamber supports the adoption of Shape Places as the new and modernized planning and zoning ordinance for Sioux Falls to provide certainty and efficiency for developers as well as clarity and the ability to participate in the process for residents.
We recommend that the City consider reviewing the ordinance to ensure that public input concerns are fully addressed and recommend a "yes" vote on the Shape Places ordinanceÂ on April 8, 2014.
85th Street and Minnesota Avenue
(Referred Law 4)
A "yes" vote would result in the City proceeding with planned rezoning at 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue and a "no" vote would deny rezoning at this location.
The Chamber rarely engages in specific zoning issues at the Council level or at the community level.Â The administration of zoning ordinances is the responsibility of City Government through the Planning Commission and ultimately legislative action by the Sioux Falls City Council.Â That is how the process worked in the instance of the rezoning at 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue, but this decision was challenged and referred to a public vote in April 2014.
The Chamber believes that sound planning and development requires the predictable administration of zoning ordinances. The City of Sioux Falls has a sound process for vetting zoning issues as well as for thorough public input. We believe that this process was appropriately followed on this request.Â
We also believe that zoning ordinance administration needs to be well organized and consistent so that developers and citizens can proceed with certainty. Thus, we recommend a "yes" vote to support the rezoning at 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue.