City-Initiated Annexation Discussion Begins Tuesday

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – It was an issue the Mayor of Sioux Falls brought up in his State of the City Address.

On the outskirts of Sioux Falls there are small areas t

hat are not within the city limits.

The number of these ‘islands’ has increased.

Two years ago there were 50, now they are 62.

Starting Tuesday, the city’s annexation task force is looking into how and where they could absorb some outlying neighborhoods.

But as the mayor mentioned last month, it might be an unpopular discussion.

“I absolutely cannot find one single benefit to our entire area by being annexed,” says Cathy Wiese.

Wiese has lived in the Split Rock Heights neighborhood for the last 31 years.

“People out here, they take care of their property, we don’t have to look for any kind of enforcement,” says Wiese.

The neighborhood is just one of many small ‘islands’ that could go through a city-initiated annexation.

“Things at issue are sidewalks, curbs and gutters, widening the streets, street lights and bringing in city sewer lines,” says Sioux Falls city councilor Theresa Stehly. “And some of these people have just replaced their septic system, so how much are we going to allow them to grandfather in.”

With discussion on this issue beginning soon, councilor Stehly says it’s important to look at both sides.

“I know some areas would like to have an update on their streets, yes, there could absolutely be some benefits,” she says. “But I think we absolutely need to be talking with these residents and respecting that they used to be rural little sub divisions at one time.”

The annexation task force is expected to go over the purpose of the annexation and the laws governing annexations.

Wiese says that’s information she’s been waiting to hear, because as of now, she doesn’t want to see any changes coming to her neighborhood.

“There’s no need to,” Wiese says. “We pay our Minnehaha County taxes and we enjoy the city of Sioux Falls, but you know folks from Iowa, folks from Minnesota, they enjoy it as well.”

Councilor Stehly says thousands of home owners could be affected if all ‘islands’ are annexed.

According to a Split Rock Township supervisor, if just the Split Rock Heights neighborhood is absorbed, they’ll be losing an estimated 150 homes and 20 businesses.

Again, the first meeting will take place Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the downtown library.

In total, the annexation task force has scheduled 4 meetings to discuss this topic.

The city says the purpose is to develop recommendations on how to best address the unannexed pockets of land within Sioux Falls city limits.

It will not make decisions regarding the annexations of specific neighborhoods.

The task force is made up of some city councilors, city staff and community members.

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