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4 historic Sioux Falls homes spared from demolition

August 22, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The Sioux Falls City Council has spared four historic homes from demolition.

The 6-0 vote on Tuesday to save the homes flew in the face of plans to redevelop an entire city block, and came after lengthy public input from the site developer’s attorney, historic preservation advocates and neighbors, according to the Argus Leader.

Sioux Falls developer Justin Johnson bought the homes in 2016 and was unaware they were part of an historic district. All have serious structural problems and are beyond repair, said Sam Assam, Johnson’s attorney.

“This project started with the owner doing nothing wrong,” Assam said. “He did his due diligence prior to purchasing the property.”

Opponents dispute that.

“Basic due diligence would have identified this as being a historic district and these being historic homes,” said Alex Halbach, who owns homes nearby.

Opponents said other similar houses in the area have been fixed up. They also were alarmed by renderings the developer sent to City Hall showing a big-box type store and large parking lot.

“Our neighborhood is just concerned with what’s going to happen with the historic residential space,” Katrina Lehr-McKinney, president of the All Saints Neighborhood Association, said before the council’s decision Tuesday.

Assam said there were no specific plans for development of the site, and that the renderings submitted to the city were “just a concept drawing.”

“We don’t have anybody signed on the dotted line,” he said. “We haven’t even entered into what I would call serious final discussions.”

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

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