Sioux Falls City Council to revisit boulevard landscaping

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SIOUX FALLS - Many Sioux Falls homeowners like to brighten up their sidewalks by landscaping their boulevards.

The little strip of grass between the sidewalk and the curb has become a growing problem.

Anyone who drives around Sioux Falls neighborhoods may see flowers, vegetables, or rocks in the boulevards of some homes.

Legally, the only thing which should be there is green grass, but a rarely enforced city ordinance is about to be reinforced.

Concerned citizen and homeowner Teresa Stehly has alerted fellow homeowners with a green thumb that trouble might be growing next to their curbs.

"We just think the public needs to be aware that this is happening. We are hoping that they will contact the city council members, and let them know that they need to just encourage people to continue to beautify this area," Stehly said.

Sioux Falls City Council plans to revisit and refine a rarely enforced city ordinance which bans any type of landscaping in the strip of land known as the boulevard.

"As this thing gains momentum, we're concerned that they're going to be having people rip out the landscaping that they have so lovingly, and so carefully put into those areas," Stehly said.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Greg Jamison said "they are at risk. The issue right now is, is that the city council has said yes, let's review this. It's in our land use committee. We're going to analyze it, try to figure out the best solution going forward."

Homeowners aren't the only ones landscaping in the boulevard, the city also has planted a few of its own curbside gardens.

"How can the city come back then and say residents can't have this but we will," Stehly said.

"Properties that the city owns or maintains, say down by the library for instance, any changes or requirements, the city I'm sure will be the first one to make the changes to fall in compliance," Jamison said.

Jamison wants to ensure landscaping doesn't become a visual or physical barrier.

"All things, I think are going to circle back to, what's safe. How can we do this, how can we allow people to grow vegetables, grow flowers, do some landscaping but all do it in a safe way," Jamison said.

Stehly made note of more than 400 addresses of homes around town with landscaped boulevards. Her postcard campaign advises homeowners to protect their boulevard garden by contacting city council.

Jamison said he hopes city council can resolve any concerns about boulevard landscaping within the next few months so homeowners can be ready to start gardening by springtime.