Big Sioux Tire gets chance to stay open

A tire and used car business on Pipestone Avenue can continue to operate as long as its owners follow rules agreed upon by the city board of adjustment.
City administrator Jeff Pederson had moved to revoke Big Sioux Tire’s conditional use permit after finding it out of compliance. In order to continue to operate, company representative Bonnie Pinnerud agreed to a plan drawn by board member Brian Bergjord that allows six cars for sale along the front of the property along Pipestone Avenue and 14 on the east side. In addition, there are spots on the east side for cars being worked on, and employees can park their cars on the west side of the building.
Board members previously had individually visited the business to see whether it was following city rules, and several had said it looked more like a salvage yard than a used car lot. Pederson said there were never signs saying cars were for sale nor does the business advertise.
Signs have since been put inside car windows. Pinnerud said she is licensed to sell cars, a state requirement that she renewed this summer.
Owner Bernie Opland, who also has a salvage yard west of Flandreau, was not at the meeting because of a medical issue.
“They have a viable business in our community,” Bergjord said. “I hesitate to run them out of town … We need to have it in compliance as you drive by and it looks like a shop that’s actively being used.”
Part of the rules going forward say that the city can check that Pinnerud’s license to sell cars is current and that vehicles have titles.
Not all board members had confidence that the business will stay in compliance.
Chairman Don Ulwelling said the business doesn’t operate like a typical used car lot but instead picks up cars off the interstate and finds parts off of other cars to fix them. Customers don’t know what they’re getting, he said.
“I really don’t believe that all those cars up there run. They don’t all have titles,” he said. “I think it’s a salvage yard myself. I don’t think it’s a used car lot.”
Pinnerud said that they do accept trade ins and that if a car breaks down in the first 30 days of operating, the business offers to fix it. The business is no longer selling cars on credit, she said.
“Not all of them are something we’ve picked up on the side of the road,” she said.
Board member David Lillibridge said residents don’t want to see a shell game in which cars are just shuffled around the lot. But he has faith in Pinnerud and Robert Anderson, who fixes the vehicles.
“Bonnie and Robert will go the extra mile from somebody that buys a vehicle from them,” he said.
Pederson said he doesn’t have time to stop by the business and see if there are titles for vehicles, but he will watch that the lot stays neat and in compliance.
“What’s going to trigger the next situation where you get together and decide you have a problem?” he asked board members.
Bergjord said as long as the business looks tidy, it should be able to operate. “We have somewhat of a plan where we didn’t have before,” he said.

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