Bloomington’s unsuccessful eminent domain action to expand parking garage: $100K in total legal fees

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The site of the future replacement of the 4th Street parking garage on July 10, 2020. This view is to the northwest from the corner of 3rd and Walnut Streets. The JuanSells.com real estate building, which Bloomington tried unsuccessfully to acquire through eminent domain, stands in the left of the frame. (Dave Askins/Square Beacon)

About four months ago, in the third week of March, Bloomington withdrew its appeal of a Monroe Circuit court ruling that went against the city in its effort to acquire some additional land.

The city wanted to use the real estate to expand the footprint of a replacement parking garage at 4th and Walnut streets. The city was seeking to use the principle of eminent domain to force the landowner to sell his building and land at a fair price as defined under the law.

Based on a final order filed by the judge on Thursday, Bloomington will be paying $62,500 in legal fees for Juan Carlos Carasquel, owner of the 222 S. Walnut building. [Updated July 14, 2020. In an amended filing on July 13, the amount was adjusted downward by $250 to $62,250.]

Based on Bloomington’s online financial records, the city has paid its outside counsel on the case, Bose, McKinney & Evans, a total of $39,367.50 since the litigation started.

That makes for a total of $101,868 in legal fees paid by the city for the case, which it initiated over a year ago. Continue reading “Bloomington’s unsuccessful eminent domain action to expand parking garage: $100K in total legal fees”

COVID-19 curtailment of court activity impacts timing in some Bloomington civil cases

Last Monday (March 16), concerns about the public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led Monroe County’s judges to use an administrative rule to petition Indiana’s supreme court for the temporary closure of the county’s circuit court.

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Other counties across the state filed similar petitions. On Wednesday, Indiana’s highest court issued an order  granting most of the requests made by the judiciary of Monroe County.

One of the scenarios that allows use of Administrative Rule 17 by the local courts is “wide spread disease outbreak.”

The disease triggering the administrative rule is the COVID-19 pandemic. Updated numbers from the Indiana Department of Health on Sunday morning, March 22, indicate the number of confirmed cases in the state was 2.5  times the number two days earlier, including the first for a Monroe county resident. On March 20, the number of confirmed cases in Indiana was 79. The number on Sunday had climbed to 201. The number of tests nearly tripled during that period, from 554 to 1,494. Four deaths caused by COVID-19 have been reported so far in Indiana.

The supreme court’s order will affect the timelines for at least two civil cases involving the city of Bloomington. Continue reading “COVID-19 curtailment of court activity impacts timing in some Bloomington civil cases”

Bloomington plan commission OKs 4th Street replacement parking garage, target completion date now August 2021

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Rendering of the integrated art project for the 4th Street parking garage that has been designed by Project ONE Studio. The quilted grids are to be fabricated out of  painted aluminum.

By August 2021, motorists in downtown Bloomington could have 537 more parking spaces to choose from.

On Monday night, the city’s plan commission approved a design for a new garage at the same site, on the same footprint, where the old 4th Street parking garage stood, until it was demolished in late 2019. Continue reading “Bloomington plan commission OKs 4th Street replacement parking garage, target completion date now August 2021”

Revised 4th Street garage design goes to Bloomington plan commission as parking gets more scrutiny in community

After an unsuccessful attempt to use eminent domain to acquire land south of the now-demolished 4th Street parking structure, the city of Bloomington has now unveiled a design for the replacement garage. The new design is confined to the footprint of the old 352-space garage.

On Monday, March 9, the city’s plan commission will consider the city’s proposal for a new seven-story parking garage with 537 parking spaces. That’s one story taller than the previous design presented last July, which had a larger footprint. Continue reading “Revised 4th Street garage design goes to Bloomington plan commission as parking gets more scrutiny in community”

Bloomington to seek plan commission OK for parking garage design without extra land

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The view eastward along 4th Street from the northwest corner of the lot where the 4th Street parking garage previously stood. Feb. 17, 2020. (Dave Askins/Square Beacon)

Bloomington is still reserving the right to appeal its unsuccessful eminent domain action to acquire additional land to replace the 352-space parking garage that stood downtown at the corner of 4th and Walnut streets.

But in three weeks, at the plan commission’s regular monthly meeting on March 9, Bloomington will present a design for a replacement garage that does not include the additional land, according to a news release issued by the city late Monday. Continue reading “Bloomington to seek plan commission OK for parking garage design without extra land”

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”

Bloomington “assessing all options” after eminent domain ruling, landowner’s legal fees a $64K question

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The view to the northwest from the corner of Walnut and 3rd Streets of the 222 S. Walnut building, which houses owner Juan Carlos Carrasquel’s real estate business. Jan. 29, 2020 (Dave Askins/Square Beacon)

In her ruling on Tuesday, Monroe County circuit court judge Holly Harvey denied Bloomington’s request to have a second try at acquiring the 222 Hats property on S. Walnut Street to build a replacement parking garage.

According to a statement issued Wednesday afternoon Bloomington is “assessing all options before us and hope to move forward with a new, efficient, green public garage.”

Those options could include appealing the case in court. But an appeal would probably mean an additional year or more delay in replacing the 352 parking spaces provided by the old garage.

The garage was closed a little more than a year ago, because it was failing structurally. Demolition was completed in late 2019. The construction phase of a replacement garage is estimated to take about a year, maybe a little less.

Bloomington’s deputy mayor, Mick Renneisen, told The Square Beacon on Wednesday afternoon that the city is still keeping all legal options open. But the administration has told the architect’s team to start working on a design that’s confined to the same footprint as the old garage, he said. Renneisen put it this way: “We have to build on what we do own.”
Continue reading “Bloomington “assessing all options” after eminent domain ruling, landowner’s legal fees a $64K question”

Judge denies Bloomington’s motion, 222 Hats owner keeps building, appeal by city not certain

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From Judge Holly Harvey’s ruling on the city’s eminent domain case, issued on Jan. 28, 2020

In a ruling issued Tuesday, Monroe County circuit court judge Holly Harvey denied Bloomington’s request to have a second try at acquiring the 222 Hats property on S. Walnut Street.

Bloomington wanted to use the land as part of the footprint of its planned replacement parking garage.

Tuesday’s ruling appears to wrap up the 222 Hats eminent domain litigation in the land owner’s favor, at least until a decision is made by Bloomington about a possible appeal. Continue reading “Judge denies Bloomington’s motion, 222 Hats owner keeps building, appeal by city not certain”

Legal wrangling on eminent domain for 4th Street parking garage continues as Bloomington disputes landowner’s objections on grounds of funding, design

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A view from the northwest corner of the  4th Street parking structure site on Jan. 22, 2020. (Dave Askins/Square Beacon)

On Tuesday, Bloomington filed its latest brief with the Monroe County circuit court in its attempt to use eminent domain to acquire the 222 S. Walnut building that houses Juan Carlos Carrasquel’s real estate business. Continue reading “Legal wrangling on eminent domain for 4th Street parking garage continues as Bloomington disputes landowner’s objections on grounds of funding, design”

Objection filed to Bloomington’s request to try again in effort to take 222 Hats building for parking garage

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Last Friday, attorneys for Juan Carlos Carrasquel, owner of the JuanSells.com building, filed an objection to Bloomington’s effort to have another try at acquiring the building from Carrasquel against the landowner’s wishes. Continue reading “Objection filed to Bloomington’s request to try again in effort to take 222 Hats building for parking garage”