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Residents Petition Rezone For Walmart



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Residents of a Sioux Falls neighborhood aren’t giving up their fight against Walmart. The giant retailer has plans for a store at 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue. The group ‘Save Our Neighborhood’ announced Tuesday that they are collecting petition signatures to reverse the city council’s decision to rezone the land for commercial use.
 
On Aug. 6, the city council voted 7-1 to rezone the 39 acres of land for the proposed Walmart from agricultural to commercial. But the group is saying not so fast, this rezoning should be put to a public vote because it affects much more than their neighborhood.

“We will not give up until the last opportunity has been taken,” said Dana Palmer, Spokeswoman for 'Save Our Neighborhood'

In a press conference held Tuesday, Palmer announced the group is petitioning to refer the Sioux Falls City Council's decision of the rezone to a citywide vote.

And even though the rezoning notices that once created a perimeter around this field have been removed, signifying that the rezone has been done, residents said the wrong group of people made that decision.

“The city's rezone of this particular area doesn't just affect this neighborhood, it has far reaching consequences for the whole city,” said Palmer.

And even though the group is challenging the vote to try and stop the big box store from moving in across the street, they said they want other residents of Sioux Falls to know this could happen to them too. So they want to make a point to the city and bring the rezone to a public vote.

“The city council is saying to the citizens of Sioux Falls that your property rights are secondary to a very rich corporations property rights,” Palmer said.
 
Palmer said not only did the city council’s vote do that, but it could also lead to more money coming out of taxpayers’ pockets. That's because over two dozen road improvements on 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue need to be done so the road can handle the traffic the store will bring.
    
“There will be 27 improvements just to make one store work,” Palmer said. “And the taxpayers are going to foot the bill for a great majority of that.”

Palmer said the groups other worry is how it could affect other stores throughout the area.

“That's just going to take away from local business,” said Palmer. “And so it defiantly affects all of the citizens of Sioux Falls and local business owners, in not very positive ways.”
     
The group needs 5,200 signatures by Aug. 29 to be able to put the rezone vote on April’s ballot; however they want to get 8,000. Back in May the group also petitioned the city’s new zoning ordinance called ‘Shape Places.’ That referendum was successful and will be on April’s ballot.
     
The group also said they plan to appeal a judge’s decision that said the city’s annexation of the land was done properly.
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