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Danielson Verdict Victory for Property Rights and Slow Home Improvers

In a victory for private property rights and unhurried home improvement, friend of justice and blogs Bruce Danielson has beaten code violation charges brought against him by crabby neighbors and the city of Sioux Falls.

Evidently Danielson has been taking his time renovating his house and has a lot of construction material stockpiled in his yard. A neighbor climbed a ladder to take photos of Danielson's stash over his six-foot fence, and the city took the position that children playing near Danielson's property could be harmed by varmints who could take up residence in the construction materials.

Judge Joni Cutler didn't buy it: she said the city failed to show that Danielson's junk really was fostering varmints. By the city's logic, police should have arrested open-carry advocates for creating a public nuisance during their July 2013 armed march up Minnesota Avenue, because their guns could have harmed somebody.

Now let's see if Danielson can prove that he shouldn't have to pay fines for parking an RV on his own property.


  1. owen reitzel 2014.09.27

    I don't anything about this story and I understand where you're coming from Cory and don't necessarily disagree. But I'd like to present the other side of the story.
    I'm on the city council in a town much smaller then Sioux Falls. We recently sent out letters to property owners whose properties are in disrepair or had unlicensed vehicles on it. They weren't threatening letters just asking to get things cleaned up.
    As a council we're just trying to keep our little part of the world clean. We had places that were in constant state of repair. The tough question is how long is too long?.
    I think asking that a person keep his or her property up isn't too much to ask.

  2. Peermudd 2014.09.27

    I agree with Owen's view. It can lead to further property decay in neighborhoods or communities.

  3. JeniW 2014.09.27

    Is it conceivable that all that extra material add fuel to a burning fire and make the fire harder to contain?

    I am standing neutral on this issue, but just wondering about the potential of fire.

    One thing is for sure though, "Love thy neighbor" motto does not fit in this neighborhood.

  4. lesliengland 2014.09.28

    he could brandish a banana clipped ak47. 0pen carry could demonstrate non-threateningly outside the fence. swat could assist in zoning enforcement. the Nevada militia could show up. repub prayer-god, protect us from big government, activist judges and poor voters!

  5. Doreen Allison Creed 2014.09.28

    Owen, Jeni and Peermudd are correct.

  6. Craig 2014.09.29

    Bruce once told me code enforcement had paid him a visit to his home upwards of 50 times in the past 20 years, and based upon the activity over the past couple of years I'd suggest that is probably a conservative estimate.

    Some will argue the city's current actions are in retaliation for some of Bruce's involvement in other city affairs or the ethics complaints he has filed, but considering this has been going on for years suggests it probably boils down to nothing more than neighbors with a grudge.

    I can understand the argument that the city has a duty to enforce code and do what they can to prevent property from falling into disrepair, but in this case clearly Bruce's property appears to be well maintained and the majority of his building materials were behind a fence where they should not be of concern to anyone other than himself. How the city felt this was in any way a criminal act is beyond me - it should have never went this far, but now that it has I'm quite sure this isn't the last we have heard about it, because if I know anything about Bruce it is that he won't let this go away quietly.

    Meanwhile, I'd like to think Bruce's neighbors would just grow up a tad, but I'm guessing we will have peace in Gaza long before there is a block party held in Bruce's neighborhood.

  7. Bruce 2014.09.29

    Craig, only Gaza? This battle started 50 years ago when the house was built. 30 years before there was a Bruce living there. The neighbors chased the 4 previous residents out. So to those who wish to make wild claims about 'normal' code enforcement practices, never had to have these busybody neighbors next door.

  8. jerry 2014.09.29

    I think that Bruce should get some goats to kind of police the place up a bit with munching the grass and any kind of weed that should come up. Call them pets and keep them on a leash. That should appease the neighbors and do wonders for his compound. The neighbors could then band together and pay Bruce 7 to 9 million for his property so they solve the issue for sure. Everyone wins, even the goats!

  9. Dan Daily 2014.09.29

    Bruce has been active with petitions and the Walmart issue. There's strong contention the city recruited his neighbors. It was pointed out at trial his neighbors on all sides have defined ordinance violations but he has only stored materials. He mentioned these but did not complain. The city department head issued them exceptions a few weeks before trial. He has permits and will finish construction if he's not busy protecting himself from the city and his neighbors.
    I took the city into SD Supreme Court (#08-2478). They were found guilty of all points of the state civil procedures act and 2 amendments to the US Constitution. They renumbered and added text to ordinances but yet do not comply.
    The city is unconstitutional government that can be defined as cleptocracy.

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