Private Home Owner Fined 7,500-Dollar Per Day Over Zoning Violations in Bloomington, Indiana

Staff report

Bloomington, Indiana – September 16, 2023

Joe Davis, the owner of a property situated at 530 S. Washington Street in Bloomington, Indiana, has been served a Notice of Violation and Fines by the City of Bloomington Planning and Transportation Department. The notice, which relates to infractions of Title 20 of the Bloomington Municipal Code, specifically concerns illegal land use and parking on an unimproved surface.

The violations came to the attention of local authorities following multiple reports of vehicles being parked on an unimproved surface, namely grass, and the unauthorized outdoor storage of materials on the property. The City of Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) Department initiated contact with the Planning and Transportation Department, which launched an investigation into the matter.

The property under scrutiny falls within the “R4 – Residential Urban” zoning district, where outdoor storage is strictly prohibited, as per the Allowed Use Table outlined in the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Section 20.03.020. Additionally, UDO Section 20.03.030 unequivocally forbids outdoor storage of equipment, materials, waste, scrap materials, and pallets in all zoning districts where such usage is typically allowed, except for the MI zoning district.

Furthermore, UDO Section 20.07.010 provides a clear definition of “Outdoor Storage” as the storage of any material outside of an enclosed building for a period exceeding 24 hours, excluding specific exempted uses. Notably, UDO Section 20.03.030(e) explicitly addresses the parking of vehicles on an unimproved surface as a prohibited practice.

In response to these breaches, Joe Davis has been assessed a substantial fine of $7,650.00, in accordance with BMC Section 20.06.100(d). This total comprises a daily $50 fine for parking on an unimproved surface, effective from August 16, 2023, and an additional daily $2,500 fine for illegal land use related to the outdoor storage of materials, also commencing on August 16, 2023. Each day a violation persists constitutes a separate offense, with subsequent violations incurring doubled fines, potentially reaching a maximum daily penalty of $7,500.

To rectify the situation, the full payment of $7,650.00 must be remitted to the City of Bloomington Planning and Transportation Department, located at 401 N. Morton St., Suite 130, Bloomington, IN 47404, no later than August 31, 2023. Failure to meet this payment deadline may lead to legal action, with the City retaining the right to pursue a judgment against the property owner through the Monroe County Circuit Court.

Property owner Joe Davis retains the option to challenge this Notice of Violation by appealing to the City of Bloomington Board of Zoning Appeals. However, any appeals must be submitted in writing and filed with the Board of Zoning Appeals within ten (10) days from the issuance date of this notice. Additionally, fines imposed for violations of this nature can be contested in the Monroe County Circuit Court.

Jennifer Burrell, Senior Zoning Compliance Planner at the Planning and Transportation Department, issued this Notice of Violation and Fines. Copies have been distributed to relevant city officials.

For inquiries or additional information, the Planning and Transportation Department can be reached at (812) 349-3423 or via email at [email protected].

In a statement, Joe Davis revealed his intent to appeal, stating, “Attached below is the NOV that was issued to me on 8-17-23 from Planning & Transportation. When I go before the BZA, this coming week on the 21st, (September, 2023) to appeal this NOV for alleged parking on the grass, and illegal outdoor storage, my accumulated fines will be around $70,000. The meeting starts at 5:30 pm, on Thursday.”

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