Show cause hearing date set in Bloomington eminent domain case: Sept. 12 (Updated: Change of date likely)

Cropped Screenshot Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 10.30.57 PM
Shown is an aerial view of the 4th Street parking structure looking east.  From the Monroe County GIS system’s Pictometry tool, vintage 2017.

Sept. 12 is the date now set for the show cause hearing in Bloomington’s current eminent domain litigation. The case involves the City of Bloomington’s attempt to take the 222 Hats building at the south end of the block between 3rd and 4th streets along Walnut Street, so it can add the land to the footprint of a replacement parking structure.

The re-scheduled hearing is scheduled to take place in front of Judge Holly Harvey at 10 a.m. on Sept. 12 in the Charlotte Zietlow Justice Center at 301 N. College Avenue. [Update: City of Bloomington’s legal department told the Beacon Thursday that conflicts on both sides have led to an effort to reschedule that hearing. It will most likely be scheduled for a later, not earlier date.]

The order issued by Harvey sets a half hour as the timeframe. The parties are ordered to appear in court “…allowing 30 minutes, to show cause, if any, they have why the property sought to be acquired in the Complaint should not be acquired.”

Legal skirmishing led to cancellation of a show cause hearing initially scheduled for July 22.

The replacement parking structure site plan that has been developed by the City of Bloomington is for a six-story garage with 510 parking spaces and roughly 11,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.

It’s the commercial space that is the focus of one of the five objections filed by the landowner, Juan Carlos Carrasquel. The argument is that the parking garage is not for a “public use” because of the commercial space on the ground floor.

The case, initially filed by the City with the court on June 7, has continued to grind along, impacting the schedule for the parking garage replacement.  The demolition of the existing structure, now scheduled to start on Sept. 3, won’t start from the south end, because the city has not yet acquired the building.

Originally scheduled to be heard for a second time by the plan commission on Aug. 12, a review of the the city’s site plan was put off until September 9.

The reason given by planning staff for pushing the site plan review from August to September was out of consideration for some commissioners who wanted the eminent domain lawsuit to be further along, before taking up the site plan again. So it’s possible that the replacement parking garage site plan review will be pushed past the Sept. 9 date, to wait for the outcome of the Sept. 12 show cause hearing.

When the plan commission reviewed the site plan in July, some commissioners objected to the idea that the site plan could be heard by the plan commission without the permission of the landowner. Such permission is a requirement of city code.

If the judge were to rule in the city’s favor, three appraisers would be appointed to come up with a fair amount of compensation to be paid. The city offered landowner Juan Carlos Carrasquel $587,500 for the building.

After the appraisers file their report, there’s a 45-day window for the landowner to file exceptions. The question of the amount to be paid can eventually wind up in a trial; however, the city can go ahead and take control of the land, even if if the question of the amount goes to trial, as long the city deposits with the court the amount determined in the appraisers’ report.

Court filings in the case can be retrieved from the state’s mycase.IN.gov online system using the case number 53C06-1906-PL-001293.  It’s a new case number, assigned after the change of judge in the case.

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