Tickets for failure to clear snow from Bloomington’s sidewalks so far this year: 24 minus 1

In the city of Bloomington, property owners are responsible under local law for clearing the sidewalks next to their land.

The red triangles denoted locations for complaints logged by citizens in the uReport system about uncleared sidewalks or unplowed streets.

The fine is graduated: $50 (first offense), $100 (second offense), and $150 (third offense).

The city’s housing and neighborhood and development (HAND) department enforces the ordinance.

How many tickets and fines has Bloomington’s foot of snow in February, caused HAND to issue?

According to HAND’s interim director, Brent Pierce, for the 2021 snow removal ticket cycle, the city of Bloomington has so far issued 24 tickets with fines.

Of the total 252 citations, 228 were warnings, Pierce said. It is HAND policy to issue a warning, and if the snow has not been removed after a second visit, then a ticket is issued with a fine.

The snow removal warning/ticket cycle starts on Aug. 1 of each year.

The time frame spelled out in the ordinance for required clearing or snow and ice is “within twenty-four hours after snow or ice has ceased to fall or in any way accumulate.” Continue reading “Tickets for failure to clear snow from Bloomington’s sidewalks so far this year: 24 minus 1”

Bloomington wants a quick appeal to intermediate ruling in lawsuit over disputed plan commission seat

After a judge ruled on Friday to deny Bloomington’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit about a plan commission seat, on Monday the city asked the judge to allow for a quick appeal on the ruling.

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From left: Andrew Guenther, Nick Kappas, Chris Cockerham.

By ruling on Friday against Bloomington’s bid to get the case dismissed, local special judge Erik Allen was allowing the lawsuit to go forward. If successful, the lawsuit could change the membership of Bloomington’s city plan commission.

If the lawsuit filed by Monroe County GOP chair William Ellis and would-be plan commissioner Andrew Guenther is successful, Guenther would replace Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s appointment to the seat, Chris Cockerham.

The seat became vacant at the start of the year when Bloomington’s mayor John Hamilton decided not to re-appoint Nick Kappas to the plan commission.

On Monday, Bloomington filed a request asking local special judge Erik Allen to certify his denial of the city’s bid to get the case dismissed, so that Bloomington can ask for the court of appeals to look at Allen’s ruling.

It’s called an interlocutory appeal, which is a way for a party in a lawsuit to ask for a second opinion on a ruling during a case, before proceedings have concluded in the lower court.

Assuming Allen goes ahead and grants Bloomington’s request, that pauses the discovery process for the next phase of case. Continue reading “Bloomington wants a quick appeal to intermediate ruling in lawsuit over disputed plan commission seat”

Bloomington files notice of appeal on rulings in 4th Street parking garage eminent domain case

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The view to the northwest from the corner of Walnut and 3rd Streets. Left is the 222 Hats building the city wants to use eminent domain to acquire.  Right is the empty lot where the 352-space 4th Street parking garage once stood. Feb. 3, 2020 (Dave Askins/Beacon(

In a filing made last Friday, Jan. 31, Bloomington gave notice of an appeal of rulings made against the city in the 222 Hats eminent domain case involving the replacement of the 4th Street parking garage. Continue reading “Bloomington files notice of appeal on rulings in 4th Street parking garage eminent domain case”

Analysis: After lower court ruling against Bloomington, when does 4th Street parking garage get rebuilt?

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Looking south on Dec. 25, 2019, from 4th Street across the empty lot where the city’s 352-space parking garage previously stood. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

Christmas morning dawned bright over the now empty lot at 4th and Walnut streets where a parking garage once stood. It offered 352 spaces for people to park their cars, then go to work, shop, or take care of errands in the downtown area.

The demolition started in earnest in late September and was done by early November.

After last Friday’s court ruling, the now smoothed-over dirt lot will probably remain empty for at least a few more months.

Likely to be completed ahead of the 4th Street parking structure replacement is a new 379-space city parking garage for the Trades District. In a press release issued on Dec. 24 the city announced that preparations for construction would start this Friday. It’s scheduled to be completed about a year from now.

For the 4th Street structure, the city of Bloomington is still sorting out its options. A Monroe County circuit court judge ruled on Friday in favor of the property owner in the city’s eminent domain lawsuit. Continue reading “Analysis: After lower court ruling against Bloomington, when does 4th Street parking garage get rebuilt?”

Bloomington annexation lawsuit update: Deadline for appeal brief extended until July 25

In 2017, Indiana’s state legislature passed a law terminating the annexation process that Bloomington was undertaking at the time. The city of Bloomington filed suit and in late April won a judgement in the Monroe Circuit Court against the state: The court concluded that the annexation law, passed as a part of the budget bill, violated two different parts of the state constitution.

order granting extension

The state of Indiana has already taken the first step to appeal the Monroe County court’s ruling—to give formal notice of appeal.

The state’s deadline for the next step, filing a brief with the state’s Supreme Court, would have been this Thursday, June 27. The time limit is 30 days after the date when the trial court clerk gave notice that the record was complete—which was May 28.

But the state filed a motion—which was unopposed by the city of Bloomington, and granted by Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush—for an extension of the deadline by four weeks. So the state now has until July 25 to file its brief. Continue reading “Bloomington annexation lawsuit update: Deadline for appeal brief extended until July 25”