Letter to the Editor: Moor: Tallgrass Park should retain its NRC zoning

Do you live near Tallgrass Park or are you a frequent visitor? If so, you should be concerned because the future of Tallgrass Park is in jeopardy. There is a proposal to rezone Tallgrass Park from a Natural Resource Conservation District (NRC) to an Institutional District (IN). Unless you live within 300 feet of the park, you were not notified by the city. 

According to Brandon’s zoning ordinance, the purpose of IN zoning districts is to allow for public buildings/facilities, schools, recreational facilities, etc. What kind of institution does the city plan to build on the park in the future? I learned the city intends to rezone all city-owned buildings, facilities, and parks to IN. The golf course, the fire station, and Aspen Park have been rezoned to IN because these parcels already contain city buildings. However, Tallgrass Park does not contain any city buildings; the parcel doesn’t serve any purpose other than being a neighborhood park which also offers drainage and flood prevention for the neighborhood

If Tallgrass Park is rezoned to IN, it would open the door for the construction of city buildings that are NOT permitted under the current Natural Resource Conservation (NRC) zoning district for Tallgrass Park. 

The rezoning would change the very fabric of the neighborhood, and building on this land could alter the functional benefits it provides in managing water runoff. Per Brandon’s ordinances, the purpose of the NRC zoning district is to preserve areas of natural drainage and flooding protection, allow for open spaces, offer wildlife habitats, enhance the aesthetic quality of neighborhoods, and decrease urban density. 

Furthermore, the NRC zoning district allows only one permitted use for a parcel; thus, Tallgrass Park could exist in perpetuity as a neighborhood park without the risk of having city buildings or facilities constructed that would significantly alter the character of the park and neighborhood. 

The proposed rezoning is not compatible with the current land use. Tallgrass Park has always been a defining feature of our neighborhood, and it would be a travesty to see it change into something other than a beautiful and expansive neighborhood park. I have lived in my home for nearly 20 years, and the park has always been my backyard. The park encourages kids to put down their electronic devices and utilize the playground equipment and open space for enjoyment. Tallgrass Park attracts visitors of all ages, and residents from all parts of the city reserve the open air picnic shelter for birthday celebrations and other milestones.

I urge residents to vocalize their opposition to the rezoning at the two scheduled city meetings:  

Planning &Zoning: 6 p.m. Dec. 7 @ 308 S. Main 

(P&Z is a recommending body – they do not make the final decision about the rezoning)  

City Council: 6 p.m. Dec. 18 @ 308 S. Main   

(City Council members will make the final decision about the rezoning. If the rezoning passes, there will be a second reading at a subsequent meeting.) 

In advance of the meetings, please contact Planning & Zoning Commission Members and City Council Members and ask them to vote to oppose the rezoning. Their contact information is located on the City of Brandon website at cityofbrandon.org. Let’s preserve Tallgrass Park for all to enjoy!

Marilyn Moor

Brandon

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The Brandon Valley Journal
1404 E. Cedar St.
Brandon, SD 57005
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