Simplified: Two Sioux Falls city councilors – Curt Soehl and Christine Erickson – are looking to encourage people to fix up, redevelop or sell vacant buildings by increasing the fee to leave them sitting empty.

Why it matters

  • Sioux Falls has 50 properties registered as vacant, but Councilor Curt Soehl said the actual number of vacant properties is likely much higher.
  • Current fees are $200 per year for vacant properties. The proposal on the table would increase to $1,000 within city limits and $2,000 for vacant buildings in historic districts.
  • But Soehl said he wants to see that fee "significantly" increased beyond the proposed amounts. He's looking to amend the proposed ordinance, which passed first reading Monday.
"We want to create an incentive financially for people to get (vacant) buildings fixed," Soehl told Cmtv News.

What options are on the table?

The general plan to increase fees for vacant properties has the support of at least half the council, and Councilor Rick Kiley said Monday he'd also support Soehl in significantly increasing fees beyond the proposed $1,000 to $2,000 per year.

"Not only are these an eyesore, but they affect surrounding property values," Kiley said. "And simply, you're not being a good neighbor."

Soehl said he's working on two possible amendments to bring to the second reading.

  1. A plan to increase the fee by $1,000 per year, so the longer a building sits vacant, the more a property owner has to pay.
  2. A plan to increase the fee even more after five years, up to a $2,000 annual increase.

What happens next?

The ordinance will be up for a second reading on Nov. 9, when amendments will be discussed and ultimately voted on one way or another.