Letter: Slaughterhouse ban sets dangerous precedent
As an organization supported by both the public and private sector and dedicated to promoting regional economic development, the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance believes it is important to promote opportunity for all residents of the Sioux Falls metropolitan statistical area (MSA). That is why when residents of the city of Sioux Falls go to the polls in a few weeks, we encourage them to vote “no” on the proposed amendment to Chapter 160 for the city’s zoning ordinances.
With this vote, citizens will not just be choosing to allow a particular business or industry within municipal limits but deciding whether the Sioux Falls area and the greater state of South Dakota remain a beacon of opportunity for innovators, entrepreneurs and all others who wish to build a brighter future here in our communities.
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The proposed change sets a dangerous precedent by seeking to override the existing local zoning process. Current procedures allow for local control and public input in creating ordinances, which then establish the rules of the game for all would-be developments. These policies provide a framework for successful growth with responsible management and careful oversight. The proposed amendment undermines that process and creates uncertainty for business by changing the rules in the middle of the game. If you’re looking to invest millions of dollars in bringing your business to a community, you need assurance that your investment will not be wasted; this ordinance will make it difficult to attract more investment and industry to the Sioux Falls MSA as businesses would be concerned by the possibility that projects could be halted by sudden ordinance changes.
Furthermore, this proposed change would hinder efforts to support locally grown and sourced food, which many recognize as important to food access and security, and boost small businesses. If adopted, this new ordinance would, for example, prohibit a new mom-and-pop butcher shop from opening anywhere within Sioux Falls. Such a blanket prohibition seems contrary to many of the efforts to promote local food consumption in recent years.
The SMGA is aware of conversations centered around the ability to site large projects like those the proposed ordinance would impact outside of Sioux Falls if it should pass. At the present time, constraints including limited wastewater treatment capacity, water supply, rural highway access and a lack of appropriately zoned sites makes such a scenario extremely unlikely without significant investment and more time. If this ordinance were to pass, it would not create opportunity for surrounding communities but make it more difficult to attract businesses due to the bad precedent it sets.
We strongly encourage you to vote “no” on Nov. 8.
Sioux Metro Growth Alliance president & CEO