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”

From poison ivy, to public transit, to parks bond money, Bloomington 2022 budget hearings prompt question: Whose job is it?

Wednesday’s city council hearings on the administration’s proposed 2022 budget featured presentations from four different city of Bloomington departments—housing and neighborhood development (HAND)economic and sustainable development (ESD), community and family resources (CFRD), and parks and recreation.

Also a part of the mix on Wednesday was a presentation from the Bloomington Housing Authority, and the city clerk’s office.

One of the common themes that cut across comments about the presentations—from councilmembers and the public—could be reduced to the question: Whose job is it?

Whose job is it to clear poison ivy from places where it has overgrown a sidewalk? Whose job is it to staff the front desk in the combined council-clerk office?

Whose job is it to decide whether a parks bonds can be used for a traffic calming project instead of a non-motorized trail? Whose job is it within the administration to advocate for public transit?

The issue of advocacy for public transit led to a chippy exchange between deputy mayor Don Griffin and councilmember Steve Volan—who’s in his 18th year of service on the city council.

Griffin asked Volan a pointed question: “How long have you been in government?” Continue reading “From poison ivy, to public transit, to parks bond money, Bloomington 2022 budget hearings prompt question: Whose job is it?”

Chalking one up for poison ivy reports

The more than inch of rain that fell on Tuesday, July 16, washed away a useful message someone had chalked onto a Bloomington sidewalk. The blue inscription pointed to a street tree pit on the south side of 6th Street just west of Lincoln.

“Poison ivy,” it warned.

Cropped Poison Ivy Chalk IMG_8779
Looking east at 6th and Lincoln streets the first week of July. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

The Beacon checked into the issue a little bit.

Bloomington has a uReport system  residents can use to notify the city of issues they’d like to see addressed. The database includes entries going back to 1995.

Poison ivy is something residents sometimes complain about to the city, even if it’s not the most frequent issue—”poison ivy” is mentioned 167 times among the 95,631 records.

Over the last week or so the records show complaints about illegally-placed commercial signs, abandoned cars, vehicles blocking drives and bicycle parking, and holes at the dog park.

But none about poison ivy.

The uReport web interface offers some shortcuts for common issues. For example, scooter complaints have a dedicated section on the webpage. Poison ivy does not appear to be a common enough complain to make the city set up a specific poison-ivy portal for the uReport web page. Continue reading “Chalking one up for poison ivy reports”