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Tsitrian Invites Public Comment on Rapid City’s Business-Friendliness

Rapid City businessman and blogger John Tsitrian is doing great work focusing on the practical policy side of his city’s mayoral contest between incumbent Sam Kooiker and challenger Steve Allender. Tsitrian now wants to test a main point of contention in the mayoral race, the business-friendliness of Rapid City’s permitting process:

Steve Allender’s challenge to incumbent Mayor Sam Kooiker for the city’s top job has focused on Rapid City’s permitting processes. Allender claims that they’re cumbersome and difficult to the point where the city is perceived as “anti-growth and anti-business.” For his part, Mayor Kooiker has claimed that during his tenure, Rapid City has been “streamlining processes to continue improving customer service and facilitating a positive environment for business growth” [John Tsitrian, “Memo To Rapid City Contractors, Developers And Others Doing Business At City Hall: I’d Love To Hear From You About Your Experiences, Good, Bad or Otherwise,” The Constant Commoner, 2015.05.14].

Tsitrian calls on the wisdom of the crowd to help settle this debate:

Just how tough is the process of going through city hall when it comes to moving business and development plans forward? If it’s hard enough to be detrimental to Rapid City’s economic growth, as Allender contends, I want to know about it from the people involved. Likewise if the present apparatus fosters that positive environment for business growth that Kooiker is promoting.

My solution? I’m throwing this blog open to those who have something to say about it from personal experience. Much as I’d love to have names attached to those who either praise or condemn, I appreciate the need for anonymity that some will require [Tsitrian, 2015.05.14].

Tsitrian says he’ll accept anonymous comments on this issue due to the “I’ve got to do business in this town” aspect of seeking permits from the city. Tsitrian will surely view such anonymous comments with caution, as we must wonder whether they come from real business owners and permit applicants or simply from one campaign’s clever social media marketing team. But he welcomes all who are willing to offer intelligent, experience-based input.

Rapid City Permit applicants, here’s your chance to set the record straight. Does Rapid City make your entrepreneurial lives too difficult? Are permits too complicated and costly? Head for The Constant Commoner comment section, or send Tsitrian an e-mail, and let’s hear the real story about business in Rapid City.


  1. John Tsitrian 2015-05-14 09:31

    Thanks, Cory No doubt there will be some “plants” if comments materialize, but I’ll just publish them as is, in typical blogospheric “free-for-all” fashion, only caveat being the “would I want my grandma to read this?” standard applied.

  2. jerry 2015-05-14 13:01

    I do not think there will be any of these contractors complaining about the planning being slow on the draw. This will be just another dog with no bite.

  3. Donald Pay 2015-05-14 15:32

    Move anywhere, and you hear the same beef from business. Business has it’s perspective, governmental officials have their perspective, and the rest of us have our own perspective.

    Here’s mine: If you don’t want to deal with the complexities of setting up shop in a small city, then don’t. The city isn’t just you, and what you need. Other people live there, and they have needs as well. Zoning, parking, curb cuts, air quality, electrical, plumbing and fire codes have to be addressed. That’s what doing business requires in a city. You don’t like it, go somewhere else. It takes plans, and multiple reviews by multiple experts and city commissions and officials. You can do the best to make it a one-stop-shop, but city life is complicated.

    I moved to Rapid City in 1988 and moved away in 2001. I can’t remember an election during that period in which someone didn’t have a beef with city processes, where one or both or all candidates didn’t put forward a platform of “reform,” or “better customer service.” I also don’t remember a year in which officials didn’t try to address the issue by making things a bit easier. Hey, it’s just always going to be that way.

  4. Curt 2015-05-15 10:07

    Don is 100% correct. Occasionally, the developers will rise up and demand someone’s head on a platter – a planning director, a building official – but eventually cooler heads prevail and recognize the need for regulations and standards. Rapid City learned a very painful lesson in proper planning on June 9, 1972 when 238 people died in a catastrophic flash flood – due largely to unregulated development in the city’s floodplain.
    Mr Allender has yet to state publicly which specific regulations needlessly hinder growth in RC. He just says there must be some. And lots of people seem to be buying the snake oil he’s selling.

  5. larry kurtz 2015-05-15 10:15

    Anyone who trusts developers in South Dakota to do the right thing is delusional. The bottom line is the primary reason the Cheyenne/Belle Fourche and the Big Sioux Rivers are barely able to sustain life. Pennington County Commissioners are bought off regularly to permit septic systems destroying watersheds.

    Tsitrian is shilling for his buddies, Hani Shafai and Doyle Estes so they can ‘fast-track’ wholesale the destruction of the Black Hills ecosystem.

    Stupid state.

  6. Curt 2015-05-15 10:34

    Mr Kooiker has posted his response on ‘Constant Commoner.’
    Larry – don’t read it. We’re just stupid shills and could not possibly benefit from your infinite wisdom.

  7. larry kurtz 2015-05-15 10:49

    True dat, Curt.

  8. jerry 2015-05-16 11:21

    Mike Derby has shown that it is very easy to get something through the system, even in a flood controled area. No problems whatsoever except for those pesky citizens that do not want it done for of all things, safety. Could it have something to do with politics?

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