IA Water Storage Dispute Could Result in Court Time

Posted on Oct 28 2009 - 11:40am by Winnie Hsiu

In what could be compared to a David-and Goliath battle, Sioux City officials are attempting to bypass a local ordinance that would require a public hearing before the Woodbury county board of adjustment, according to an October 27 positing on ktiv.com.

Sioux City is targeting farm land, located just off of Buchanan Avenue on 155th Street, for a future water reservoir to serve a large portion of Morningside.

Sioux City is the county seat for Woodbury County (which was originally established Wahkaw County, until the Iowa Legislature changed its name to Woodbury County in honor of Levi Woodbury, a senator and Governor of New Hampshire, in 1853.) The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska (Ho-Chunk) also owns reservation land in Woodbury County.

While Sioux City officials claim to have done their “due diligence” in talking to neighbors and hold their own hearings, Woodbury County resident paint a much different picture, stating that city officials are employing “strong-arm” tactics on county leaders and forcing this project on county residents.

“Nobody in that area is supportive of this project. It’s not going to impact them positively, it will just be a negative impact,” Tom Bride, of Sioux City.

While some neighbors are seriously considering suing the city, the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors is weighing their legal options during a closed door session next week.

Yet, city officials say they are standing on solid legal ground.

“The opinion that has been provided to us from the Iowa Attorney General is clear, in that it states that the government utility projects like this one are exempt from that process,” said Jeff Hanson, Community Development. 

In fact, Hanson says the city is moving forward with the project; they recently put out construction bids.

Hanson also added that going through a second public hearing would significantly slow the project down.

Woodbury County residents wonder why there is a rush…