Appeal of noise violation ticket, with some wrinkles, given routine denial by Bloomington

At its regular Tuesday meeting, Bloomington’s three-member board of public works denied an appeal by a resident for a noise violation ticket.

This scan is from a revised information packet provided to the Bloomington board of public works for its Jan. 3, 2022 meeting. (1) The social security number of the ticketed person was removed only after initial publication of the packet. (2) The fine amount was a part of the scan in the initial packet, but was added after the ticket was issued—which is standard practice.

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 citation was for excessive noise on Aug. 21 last year, in connection with a party in the 1300 block of North Washington Street. Continue reading “Appeal of noise violation ticket, with some wrinkles, given routine denial by Bloomington”