Planning and Building Services Top 10 Wins

  1. PlanningI-Codes Adoption: Building Services adopted the 2015 International Building Code (IBC), International Residential Code (IRC), International Mechanical and Fuel Gas Codes (IMC and IFGC), and the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) which are published by the International Code Council (ICC). The I-Codes are revised and published in a three-year code cycle. The national model code standard provides and establishes minimum standards and regulations for commercial and residential building systems to safeguard public health and safety in the built environment.
  2. Record Permit Valuation and Number of Inspections: Construction activity continues to break records in Sioux Falls for the third year in a row. The construction valuation for building permits issued by Building Services in 2015 reached $676,292,291 for the year. Along with the volume of work in a record year of construction, Building Services staff also performed a record number of inspections. Building Services staff logged 60,670 inspections in 2015, exceeding the more than 50,000 inspections in 2014.
  3. Code Enforcement: The overall goal of the Code Enforcement team is to change the perception of Code Enforcement from being a City program to being a community service. We achieved this in 2015 by partnering with various City departments on projects such as National Night Out, Project N.I.C.E. and K.E.E.P., Mayor’s Neighborhood Summit, and various neighborhood cleanup events. The Code Enforcement team was also able to participate in the rental registration program audit, which will allow the team to make necessary changes to strengthen the ordinance to better serve our residents.
  4. Zoning Ordinance Updates: The Land Use Committee of the City Council initiated a community-wide discussion surrounding billboard signage in Sioux Falls. The result was an amendment to the 2013 Shape Places zoning ordinance creating ten Off-Premise/Billboard Sign Opportunity Overlay Districts. Ten opportunity districts provide for locations of billboard signs while protecting sensitive land uses and promoting safety of those using the public right-of-way. The Planning Office also adopted a new ordinance to accompany HB 1194, regulating the size and material of public notification signs.
  5. Transportation Planning: The Sioux Falls Metropolitan Planning Organization updated the long-range transportation plan to help shape the region’s transportation network through the year 2040. It considers all modes of transportation including driving, walking, bicycling, transit, rail, and air to help set priorities for the future. The City Council also approved by resolution the 2015 Bicycle Plan in August. The Sioux Falls Bicycle Committee spent 18 months working on this updated Bicycle Plan, which sets the structure and direction to provide a continuing process for strategies and actions that create change. Ten priorities are listed in the plan including developing a bicycle safety campaign, improving the on-street bicycle network, adopting “complete street” ordinances and design standards, and expanding the trail system.
  6. Transit: In 2015, City Council adopted a sustainable transit budget that included reduced paratransit expenses, increased fixed-route services for 2016, and updates to the transit fare ordinance. To help reduce paratransit expenses, the City entered into cooperative agreements with Active Generations, Lifescape, and the Southeastern Council of Governments. In addition, a structure was put into place to have a new nonprofit transportation provider to help with paratransit-supported work trips in future years. The fare ordinance included the first fixed-route fare increase in 19 years, a college/university student pass program, free summer youth pass, and free transit rides for veterans.
  7. Annexation Program: Properties were identified for inclusion into a long-term multiphased approach to minimize jurisdictional overlap and inefficiencies when annexation occurs. The process for any one particular area depends on the properties, owners, and circumstances around each area. In 2015, this program received a concentrated effort with the first priority areas, and progress has been made toward annexation in each area with either preannexation agreements, City-initiated annexation studies, or platting and comprehensive plan approvals. Subsequent years will bring on additional areas of concentration and opportunities to improve efficiency.
  8. Floodplain Map Amendments: After nearly six years of work, in 2015 staff was able to present new, more accurate flood maps and data to property owners. Twenty-two different panel maps from FEMA represent the flood risk of all properties within Sioux Falls and greatly affect at least 2,500 properties. Staff had three public open houses that were well attended and generated more discussion regarding properties being removed and properties being added to the special flood hazard areas. The maps should become effective by the end of 2016 upon the completion of the public process.
  9. Development ReviewShape Places continues to have a positive impact on our community. The goal of the new ordinance was to “Make Zoning Matter,” because what is allowed with a property owner’s land rights is of utmost importance to the entire community. Over the past 15 years, the City was averaging 67 conditional use permits and 49 rezonings a year. During 2015, the Planning Division processed 13 conditional use permits and 76 rezonings. The Zoning Division also processed 4,758 reviews and 1,140 code cases.
  10. Strategic Plan: The Planning and Building Services management team worked with a consultant to develop a collaborative strategic plan that sets the future direction for the department. The group worked through four components including effective team building, communicating value, improving management collaboration, and prioritizing staff development. Implementation of the strategic direction resulted in setting priorities for an annual work program, establishing more interaction between staff, expanding staff to address department needs, and creating more public awareness of major initiatives.