In a ruling issued on June 1, Monroe County circuit court judge Catherine Stafford found that Bloomington’s plan commission violated Indiana’s Open Door Law (ODL) with its March 14, 2022 meeting.
The allegation that the meeting violated the electronic meetings section of the ODL was made in a lawsuit that I filed a week after it took place.
The electronic meetings section of the ODL requires that at least 50 percent of the plan commissioners have to be physically present at the meeting. That works out to at least five of nine plan commissioners.
At the March 14 meeting, six of nine attended, but just four plan commissioners were physically present. The other two participated remotely.
Bloomington’s city attorney Mike Rouker tried to argue that the 50-percent is supposed to be calculated based on the number of plan commissioners present at the meeting, not the number of seated plan commissioners. Rouker’s attempted argument was counter to the widely disseminated guidance on the relatively new section of the ODL, which was provided last year by Indiana’s public access counselor.
However, the judge stopped short of granting all of the requested relief—which was to void the decisions made at the March 14 meeting. That would have forced the plan commission to reconsider all of the business that it transacted at the meeting.
Still, the plan commission has now reconsidered one of the votes that was taken at the March 14 meeting. Continue reading “Column: Judge rules Bloomington plan commission violated Open Door Law, second lawsuit now filed”