Sioux Falls, S.D., Council to Resolve Camping Issue

November 3, 2009 by   - () Comments Off on Sioux Falls, S.D., Council to Resolve Camping Issue

A rule that bars people from spending more than 30 days in a campground in Sioux Falls, S.D., probably will be changed before the city has a chance to evict about six campers from a western Sioux Falls campground.

City councilors agreed Monday (Nov. 2) to expedite the issue after zoning officials told the owner of the Westwick Motel and Campground that he had until Nov. 23 to remove campers that are renting spots in his campground, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. The people in those vehicles live in them full time.

Councilors Bob Litz and Greg Jamison sponsored a measure that will allow the council to deal with the issue during a Nov. 16 public hearing. Their proposal would strike the 30-day limit from the city’s ordinances, which until last month had not been enforced by the city.

That probably was going to happen early next year anyway as city officials work on new rules for campgrounds. But the threat of eviction for campers in Westwick forced the issue.

“There’s no reason to wait until January,” Jamison said.

Mike Cooper, the city’s director of planning and zoning, told councilors Monday that the campground ordinances date to the 1970s. A number of issues need to be updated.

Litz noted that a professional fundraiser working for Forward Sioux Falls spent months living out of a camper while in Sioux Falls. The person raised $11 million, Litz said.

After speaking with Westwick campers last week, Litz decided the 30-day limit had to go.

“I just felt at the time this was the right thing to do,” he said.

Yet even with the change, Westwick owner David Fritz said there are other issues in the campground rules that still could present problems. The city requires certain setback distances, and if those are enforced, Fritz could lose as many as eight of his 12 campground spots, he said.

“That’s always been on the books, but they’ve never enforced it,” he said.

Fritz said he thinks the Westwick was grandfathered in when the property was annexed into city limits. If correct, the setback distances shouldn’t apply to his property.


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