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Ruling paves way for demolition of unfinished Sioux Falls mansion

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Jordan Rusche
/
SDPB
The three-lot mansion sits in the Prairie Hills neighborhood of Sioux Falls. The back side of the building features the unfinished back porch Harvey Custom Homes has been constructing.

A three-lot mansion in the Prairie Hills neighborhood of Sioux Falls is set to be demolished after sitting unfinished for almost eight years despite some recent efforts to revitalize its construction.

The home, located at 6800 S. Westfield Trail, has been the center of a court battle between the city of Sioux Falls and the property owners Vitaliy and Nataliya Strizheus for several years.

The city ordered the building’s demolition according to a city ordinance which states buildings can be demolished if they are deemed dangerous or unsafe, or if there is a prolonged period without major construction.

“If there’s a cessation of normal construction for a period of more than 18 months, then the code official should order that the structure be demolished and remove the structure,” said Ryan Sage, senior assistant city attorney. “So that’s not necessarily under the dilapidated portion (of the ordinance), but it’s that construction has ceased, and so we moved forward with enforcing the ordinance at that point.”

The Strizheuses originally began building the mansion in 2013, but construction stalled in 2015 due to financial troubles and other setbacks, according to court documents. The city ordered it to be demolished in 2016, but the owners got an extension to complete the house’s exterior.

After failing to complete the exterior, however, the city again ordered it demolished in 2017. The Strizheuses did not complete the demolition, and the city brought the complaint to the circuit court in 2018. The city alleged that all seven building permits the Strizheuses obtained had been cancelled due to a prolonged period without any normal construction apart from some cosmetic projects.

After the circuit court sided with the city, Vitaliy Strizheus appealed the ruling, and the case went to the South Dakota Supreme Court. The court granted the city of Sioux Falls permission to demolish the mansion Dec. 28, 2022.

Despite this ruling, construction crews are once again working on the building. Harvey Custom Homes, Inc. in Sioux Falls partnered with the Strizheuses in December to finish the house, according to Ben Harvey of Harvey Custom Homes. The builders are currently working on a back porch and some electrical work.

Even though construction has resumed, Sage said the city still has the right to demolish the structure according to the court ruling.

“Once the building was in violation and the city moved forward to demolish and initiate the legal proceedings, future construction did not cure the violation,” he said.

Sage was unable to comment on when demolition might start.

The Strizheuses would still be able to build on the property again, however, so long as any future structures comply with zoning requirements and other regulations.

Harvey said he and his crew intend to continue working on the house.

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Crime & Courts Top StoriesSioux Falls, South Dakota
Jordan is a senior English and journalism major at SDSU in Brookings. She is from De Smet, South Dakota. She is based out of the Sioux Falls studio.