Simplified: City Council voted 8 to 0 to raise the cost of owning a vacant building in Sioux Falls. It's part of an effort to encourage owners to either fix up the properties or sell.

Why it matters

  • Fees went from $200 to $1,000 annually for vacant properties, and properties in historic districts would see an increase to $2,000 annually.
  • An amendment from Councilor Curt Soehl, and passed by councilors, added an additional increase of $1,000 each year if the property remains vacant.
  • Right now, there are about 50 properties registered as vacant, but Soehl said the actual number is likely much higher.

What people are saying

Councilors and public inputters alike voiced support for the ordinance change.

Councilor Rick Kiley said he'd like to see an even more aggressive approach taken to urge owners of these properties to fix them up. He suggested looking at doubling or tripling the fine annually in the future if this ordinance doesn't get desired results.

"Let's make this hurt," Kiley said.

Councilor Christine Erickson also voiced support for this as a way to preserve and fix up historic homes, in particular.

"If you buy properties you have a duty to maintain and make them look normal," Erickson said.
"I think this is one part of many steps that I think we need to move forward to continue to clean this up," Councilor Pat Starr said.

What happens next?

Councilors said they plan to watch the effectiveness of the ordinance over the next six months before determining if higher fees are needed.