City Responds To Lawsuit Involving Walmart
by Jill Johnson
July 11, 2013 5:28 PM
The City of Sioux Falls is firing back at a lawsuit filed by a group of neighbors opposed to a new Walmart on the city's south side. Wednesday, the group announced they were suing the city and the city council. The 'Save Our Neighborhood' group says the land was illegally annexed into the city, but city leaders argue the lawsuit is unfounded.
Dana Palmer with 'Save Our Neighborhood' said, "We don't want to live in the middle of a large retail commercial development."
The group called 'Save Our Neighborhood' says it will do whatever it can to prevent the proposed Walmart from being built on the southwest corner of 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls.
And on Wednesday, they announced a move that could prolong it's development.
Palmer said, "Unfortunately, we think the city has made a mis step."
Along with area residents, the group filed a lawsuit against the City of Sioux Falls and the Sioux Falls City Council. The lawsuit states that when annexing the Lincoln County land into the city, it was not done within compliance with the law.
"The way I read the statue it's very clear in that Lincoln County is required to provide it's approval for annexation," said Palmer.
But Sioux Falls City Attorney Dave Pfeifle disagrees.
Pfeifle said, "It's not justified. This is the exact same procedures we have done with every voluntary annexation for decades."
He says only if the landowners are involuntary, or don't approve of annexing the land, would the city need to seek the approval of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners.
Pfeifle said, "That wasn't required here because there was one landowner and that one landowner requested the city to have his, their property annexed into the city."
Pfeifle says the city has gone through the necessary steps to annex the land. Not only has it notified the Lincoln County Auditor who notifies the Lincoln County Commission, but it has notified the area school districts, townships and the public of their intent.
"Lincoln County did not offer an objection to this annexation," said Pfeifle.
KDLT tried contacting all five members of the Lincoln County Commission. None would go on camera,
but say in the past they've been notified if Sioux Falls wants to annex land and they usually don't contest it. The Deputy Lincoln County State's Attorney agrees with the Sioux Falls City Attorney.
Michael Nadolski says it's standard practice to seek the county board's approval if the annexation is involuntary, if the owner of the land does not wish to annex it.
The City Council is expected to vote on rezoning the annexed land on Aug. 6. It's unknown how the lawsuit would effect the vote.