Sioux Falls Planning Commission unanimously approve pizzeria near college campus

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - A proposed pizzeria in a Sioux Falls neighborhood is stirring controversy.

Sunny's Pizzeria wants to open near the University of Sioux Falls campus; some in the neighborhood are concerned about alcohol being sold there.

The planning commission approved the proposal by the business unanimously. The pizzeria is planning on selling four on-tap Sioux Falls-based craft beers. But, the late hours and alcohol sales near two college campuses have some nervous.

The owner of the restaurant brought his proposal to the meeting, Sept. 4th, asking for permission to sell alcohol on-site and to be open until 12:00 AM every night.

But, many in the neighborhood feel that if they follow guidelines, they won't have any issues.

"I think that opening a pizza place over there on 26th and Walts is a great idea," Shireen Ranscha, a Sioux Falls resident, said. "I think that's a good business that would go over really well with the two colleges right by. And I have no problem with them selling beer, on sale beer, as long as the beer stays on site."

According to the business plan for Sunny's Pizzeria, alcohol sales will only be a fraction of the business.

An area property owner, Barbara Horten wrote a letter to commissioners outlining her concerns saying, "Sioux Falls has a great need for affordable family residences, and the encroachment of this type of business will clearly devalue our properties."

The concern is for a commercial business to move into the area. Three people spoke at the meeting, one homeowner saying they live only a block from the area and are concerned with extra foot traffic, as well as, adding alcohol into the mix.

But, the owner of Sunny's Pizzeria says he already has a plan to make sure people are not consuming too much.

"I put together per hour limits where it would be strictly two beers per hour," Jonathon Oppold, Sunny's Pizzeria, said. "And how we would manage that is anybody who would want to buy a beer would have to start a tab."

While other homeowners were concerned about the late hours, Oppold's reasoning is he wants to stay open later to take advantage of crowds following sports events at both USF and Augustana.

"I really don't have any opposition to it," Derick Swier, Sioux Falls resident, said. "I guess as long as the people follow the rules as far as carding and keeping underage people out of there, it doesn't really affect me in any other way."

The owner of Sunny's Pizzeria plans on starting construction this fall.