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SIOUX CITY -- A Sioux Falls developer plans to build a three-story, 39-unit apartment building on the old West Middle School site, but Sioux City homeowners voiced resistance to the project Tuesday.

Lloyd Companies asked the Sioux City Planning and Zoning Commission to rezone 1211 W. Fifth St. from Neighborhood Conservation to General Residential. The units in this low income housing tax credit project would rent for $400 to $1,000, according to Michael Crane, director of affordable housing for Lloyd Companies.

Homeowner Tiffany Lackband, who lives directly across the street from the proposed site, told the commission that she garnered more than 40 signatures from neighbors who were opposed to the project. She said she's concerned that an apartment building could increase crime and traffic in the neighborhood and hamper parking and snow removal.

"I'm really hoping you see, while we understand the need for apartments, how our well-established community of homeowners and residents wishes for this not to happen," Lackband said.

If the apartment building is built, Julio Guerra, who he has lived in his W. Fifth Street home for 10 years, said it's not an issue of if crime will go up, but when. He said he also worries about his property declining in value. 

"We're not bettering our community," he said. "I don't think lower income housing is something we need to be pushing. We need to get people out of low income housing situations."

Commission member Ryan Ross said he understands the need for affordable housing, but also probably wouldn't want such an apartment building in his backyard either.

Crane said the lot has been vacant for 17 years and hasn't been utilized in a productive way. He said Lloyd Companies, which manages more than 6,000 units, has crime-free policies, extensive tenant screening and managers onsite on a regular basis.

The commission ultimately voted to recommend rezoning and move the project forward for City Council approval on Jan. 28.

Commission Chair Michelle Bostinelos said she struggled with her vote. 

"I know in the city there's a need for housing. There's a need for affordable housing. There's a definite need for new housing no matter what your income level is," she said. "When I'm looking at the zoning around the property, I have some concerns with that."

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