Bloomington BPW affirms order to AT&T: Take gear off Johnson’s Creamery smokestack by May 31

At its Tuesday evening meeting, Bloomington’s board of public works voted to affirm an order from the city’s housing and neighborhood development (HAND) department, which requires AT&T to remove its communications equipment from near the top of the Johnson’s Creamery smokestack—by midnight on May 31.

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.

The partial demolition was ordered by HAND because an engineering study determined the smokestack is unsafe.

If AT&T doesn’t comply with the order to vacate, it could face a daily fine of $500 from the city of Bloomington. Continue reading “Bloomington BPW affirms order to AT&T: Take gear off Johnson’s Creamery smokestack by May 31”

Lack of compliance with traffic plan: $25K in fines on student housing developer upheld by Bloomington

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.

The photos accompanying this article were taken on Jan. 31, 2022, and show what appear to be conditions that have now been put in compliance with the maintenance of traffic plan. Continue reading “Lack of compliance with traffic plan: $25K in fines on student housing developer upheld by Bloomington”

Electric scooter parking violations: Zero citations, in over 2 years since local Bloomington law was passed

When Bloomington’s city council enacted an ordinance regulating shared electric scooters, the local law came with a provision about sidewalk parking. Users could park their scooters on sidewalks, but with more than a dozen restrictions.

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

Continue reading “Electric scooter parking violations: Zero citations, in over 2 years since local Bloomington law was passed”

No fine this time for poison ivy vine, says city of Bloomington

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.

Part of the photographic documentation provided by the city of Bloomington in connection with the fine, converted to a warning, of the property owner at 1120 N. Lincoln,

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.”

The city staff’s case noted that city code does not require that a warning be issued. Continue reading “No fine this time for poison ivy vine, says city of Bloomington”

Mystery man with political campaign mask at polls motivates election board to develop procedure to document incidents

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.

Under the board’s policy, that got knocked down to 25 percent of the allowable amount, which is $225. Continue reading “Mystery man with political campaign mask at polls motivates election board to develop procedure to document incidents”