Delayed: Bloomington plan commission hearing on rezone for possible future site of Monroe County jail

An expected hearing next week on Monroe County government’s request for a rezoning of 87 acres in southwest Bloomington has been put off until October.

The reason for the delay was a failure by Monroe County government to post the required signs at the property, 21 days before the hearing.

The site is the hoped-for location of the new jail that Monroe County is looking to build, in order to meeting constitutional standards.

The rezoning, from mixed-use employment (ME) to mixed-use institutional (MI), was expected to be heard by the Bloomington plan commission next Monday (Sept. 12).

But that hearing has been put off until October 10. In the vocabulary used by the plan commission the hearing has been “continued” until the regular monthly meeting in October.

Bloomington and Monroe County officials have confirmed to The B Square that the hearing was put off a month, because the required signs were not posted at the property at least 21 days before the hearing.

Under Bloomington’s local code, it is the petitioner, which in this case is the Monroe County government, who is responsible for the posting of the required notices at the property to be rezoned.

(2) Public Hearing Notice.

(B) Responsibility for Notice. The City shall be responsible for the accuracy of and proper publication of notice of the public hearing. The petitioner shall be responsible for mailing and posting of notice of the public hearing and maintaining posted notices after they have been posted on the site.

(C) Posted Notice.
i. Required posted notice shall include at least one sign per street frontage on the subject property at least twenty-one days prior to the scheduled public hearing before the Plan Commission or Board of Zoning Appeals and at least ten days prior to the scheduled public hearing before the plat committee or hearing officer.
ii. The required sign(s) shall be clearly visible from adjacent streets or public rights-of-way and shall remain on the property until after the hearing.

Based on B Square inspection, by no later than Sept. 10, the required signs had been posted at the property.

The final approval of the rezone will rest with the Bloomington city council. A plan commission vote in September, to recommend approval or denial, could have put the question on the city council’s agenda sometime in November.

The delay due to the failure to post the signage looks like it might push that timeline to December.

Based on the preview of the rezone request given at the plan commission’s August work session, it’s not clear if the county government’s rezone request will have Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s support.

At the plan commission’s August work session, development services manager Jackie Scanlan responded to a commissioner question by saying that the administration does not yet have a position on the rezone petition.

Even though it’s the city council that will have the final decision on any rezone, the support or non-support of the planning staff, as well as the recommendation of the plan commission, will be a significant factor in the mix for councilmembers.