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The Insanity of Sioux Falls Code Enforcement

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When I became a homeowner in 2008 I had no idea that the City of Sioux Falls was so picky when it comes to what you do with your own private property. After all, it is the their job to make sure everything is pretty enough for their liking.

Today I received a press release email with the subject: “We Need the Citizens to Be Our Eyes and Ears: News Conference on Thursday.”

Mayor Mike Huether and the city’s head code enforcer Matt Tobias are apparently going to ask citizens to nark on their neighbors who are breaking one of the arbitrary rules the city has for what you do with your own property. If you want to see the show it’s at 1:30 PM at 923 South Dakota Avenue.

Before I rail on the stupidity of some of the city codes I will admit that there are rules that make sense. Clearing your sidewalk within 24 hours of a snowstorm is a good neighborly thing to do. Not parking vehicles on grass and making your place look like a junk yard is a fine idea. But there are some rules that are stupid and don’t bother anyone except the city.

Parking Your Boat/RV/Camper in Your Driveway

According to the city you can only park a boat, camper, or RV in your back yard if the parking spot is paved. You cannot park it in your own driveway. I have yet to meet one person who has a problem with their neighbors parking their boat in their driveway. If they were parking their boat in my driveway I would have a problem with it. I have neighbors who do this and I don’t care. They have done it for the previous nine summers we have lived in our house and they are doing it this year.

Parking a Commercial Vehicle at Your House

I didn’t know this one, but apparently your are breaking the city’s code if you park a commercial vehicle at a house that you aren’t parking their to do commercial work, i.e. – at your own house. Again, I have neighbors who are allowed to bring their work van or truck home for the night so that when they leave at 6:00 AM to head to the job site, they don’t have to go way out of their way to get the work vehicle. Who is harmed by this? No one.

Parking Strips

This is the code that the city has already changed because it was so stupid. It used to be that if you put plants or landscaping in the area between the sidewalk and the street you were violating the code. Tons of people, myself included, were doing it because they couldn’t have fathomed it was against any rule or law. You could plant a tree there, but not some flowers? The city wisely performed a rectocraniotomy and allowed this to happen.

Now that it is allowed there are other dumb rules. For instance you can’t plant anything thorny or sharp like an evergreen bush. It’s okay on the other side of the sidewalk but not on theirs. Plants must be kept under 36 inches because I guess at 37 inches it’s an eyesore.

I could go on but I’d just get mad.


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