At its regular Tuesday meeting, Bloomington’s three-member board of public works denied an appeal by a resident for a noise violation ticket.
That’s par for the course when a noise ordinance violation is appealed to the board—in part because the local law establishes a low and clear bar for what qualifies as an unreasonable noise.
Between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. any sound that is audible for a person with normal hearing, who is outside the premises where the sound is originating, counts as a violation.
The case heard on Tuesday included a couple of wrinkles. One was the delay between the issuance of the ticket and its appeal. The ticket was issued just after midnight on Aug. 21, 2022.
The three-month delay got some questions from board members at their work session, which was held an hour and a half before the regular meeting.
The other wrinkle did not get any board discussion: Included in the initial publication of the board’s meeting information packet was an image scan of the ticket, which featured the violator’s social security number (SSN).
Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act prohibits a public agency from releasing a SSN, unless it’s specifically required by a state or federal statute .
In a subsequent version of the meeting information packet, the social security number had been scrubbed from the image, not redacted with a more typical black box.
The removal of AT&T’s equipment will help set the stage for the owner’s partial demolition of the smokestack—from 140 feet down to 60 feet. The building, with its smokestack, is owned by Peerless Development.
Looking east at 14th and Dunn streets. (Jan. 31, 2022)
Looking northwest at 14th and Dunn streets. (Jan. 31, 2022)
The Standard under construction just south of 14th Street. (Jan. 31, 2022)
Sidewalk on the south side of 14th Street, looking east. (Jan. 31, 2022)
At its regular Tuesday meeting, Bloomington’s three-member board of public works upheld about $25,000 in fines on Landmark Properties.
The developer is constructing a 1000-bed student-oriented housing development a few blocks south of Indiana University’s football stadium.
Landmark had appealed the fines, which were imposed for violations of its maintenance of traffic plan. That’s a plan that the city requires all developers to submit and follow in the course of construction. It includes signage and barricades for pedestrian walkways when sidewalks are closed, with directions to an alternate route.
Among the restrictions are some obvious requirements—like the need to leave a clear straight path of some minimal width (at least four and a half feet), and a prohibition against blocking accessibility ramps.
At the July 31, 2019 city council meeting, when the scooter ordinance was enacted, city attorney Mike Rouker told the city council: “[The city of Bloomington] will be fining them every single time we see a parking issue.”
Apparent violations of the scooter parking ordinance are noticeable in many places around town where scooters are operated.
But the city of Bloomington has not made any citations or issued any fines related to improper scooter parking, after the ordinance became effective more than two years ago, on Sept. 1, 2019
An appeal by B&L Rentals of a $50 fine imposed by the city of Bloomington for poison ivy and other plants growing taller than 8 inches did not need to be heard at Tuesday’s board of works meeting.
That’s because the notice of violation was converted into a warning.
As public works director Adam Wason explained for the public’s benefit, before the three-member board of works got into its regular agenda, “The board found that it was prudent to ask that that be turned into a warning instead of an actual notice of violation with a fine.”
Bloomington’s city code reads like this: “It is unlawful for the owner of any lot or tract of ground within the city to allow it to become overgrown with weeds, grass, or noxious plants beyond the height of eight inches or to such extent that the growth is detrimental to the public health and constitutes a nuisance.”
The notice of violation was issued by the housing and neighborhood development (HAND) department.
The appeal by B&L Rentals complained that no warning had been issued before the notice of violation was issued: “This seems like a warning, an email or a phone call, since I’ve worked with HAND for 20 years with no violation.”
The appeal continued, “This ivy is not near anyone, not hanging from a tree, or in a tree plot.”
Monroe County’s election board isn’t able to pursue the case of a voter who reportedly engaged in electioneering at the polls during early voting in October last year.
That’s because the board doesn’t know who the man is.
At its Thursday meeting, the board reviewed some initial work on a procedure for documenting future potential incidents of electioneering, so that the people involved can be identified.
At its Thursday meeting, the board also wrapped up the remaining open issue with late campaign finance forms from the last election cycle, which resulted in the calculation of a $900 fine for a candidate.