Neighborhood Watch Meeting 04/18/2019

56219810_10103601289918413_3848912672904970240_oThe Charlestown Neighborhood Watch met for a planned meeting on Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 6:30 PM. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio at the end: 

  1. April is Child Abuse Awareness Month.
    • 1-800-800-5556 – Number to call if you suspect a child is being abused (Statewide anonymous tip line)
  2. Looking for Block Watch Captains in a few areas
    • Captains work as liaisons with the police department
      • Need captains in
      • Council District One
        • Rosewood
        • Creekside
        • Oriole Drive
      • Council District Two
        • April Court
        • Gospel Road
        • Denham Lane
        • Maple Leaf Apartments
        • Pleasant Ridge
      • Council District Three
        • Ashley Springs
        • Highview/Lakeview
      • Council District Four
        • Tunnel Mill
        • Monroe Street
        • Parkside Trace Apartments
  3. Upcoming Events in the Community
    • 5K-9 Memorial run/walk for Sgt. Ben Bertram on Saturday, April 20. The police department hopes to turn this into an annual event. They’ve had over 400 entries and this has helped raise money to send the Bertram family and local officers to Washington, D.C. for a national memorial.
    • New Police Station Update – Will have a community room where they will be able to host Neighborhood Watch meetings. The painters are busy and drywall is nearly complete. The external façade is nearly complete as well. Doors will be delivered next week. Information Technology will follow. Looking at mid-June for the tentative moving-in date.
    • Prescription Drug Take-Back will be April 27 from 10am-2pm at the Jay-C store
    • New Program – Protect Property DNA – Will have kits available to mark valuables with a discrete substance that identifies the property under blue light. People can mark their valuables and register them under a number. Should the property get stolen, when recovered it can be identified easily. Ownership can be transferred if the item is sold. Information kept in a national database. This program will run in coordination with Dale Robinson’s State Farm Insurance company. Hope to launch the program in the first week of May
  4. Statistic Report on Charlestown Police Activity
    • March 1 – April 17 the police department had 1,330 calls for service.
      • 621 of those calls were officer initiated. These calls consisted of:
        • 187 premises checks (vacationing owners, etc.)
        • 522 traffic stops (this number reflects an increase)
          • 137 of those traffic stops resulted in criminal charges (not traffic tickets)
      • 104 of the total calls resulted in criminal cases (non-traffic related including two burglaries (one solved, one in progress on Thompson and Lowell streets)
        • 12 thefts (five shoplifting)
        • 39 Alarm calls
        • 34 vehicle crashes
        • 82 suspicious activity calls (this is up from an average of about 20 per month)
        • 61 disturbances
        • 29 reckless driving complaints
        • 21 warrant service
        • 2 battery calls
  5. Preventing Child abuse
    • Common denominators in child abuse cases
      • When children have a traumatic event occur in their lives they exhibit some notable changes. Among these changes are:
        • Declining academic performance
        • Less sociable – less talkative
        • Change in personality (if extroverted they may become more introverted, if introverted they may become extroverted)
        • Often become more secretive
        • Older children are often better at masking changes
        • Sudden and unexplained reluctance to be around a specific person (family member, friend, teacher, etc)
    • Symptoms of child abuse often mirror those of domestic violence
      • Tips on how to learn more if you notice something different
        • Mention the physical or personality change to the parent or guardian (“I notice that ___ has lost interest in ____…”)
        • If you suspect child abuse is occurring, call the tip line 1-800-800-5556. They will ask questions, but do not feel pressured if you do not have all the information they seek. Give them as much detail as you know.
        • Keep in mind that often abuse involves a relative
    • Benefits of being proactive about noticing child abuse
      • Studies show that the cycle of abuse can be stopped. Prevention programs and educational programs as well as resource management can assist with this.
      • 1 in 5 children receives a form of sexual solicitation via the internet
      • PCAIN – Preventing Child Abuse Indiana is distributing pinwheels for yard display as representation of a happy, healthy childhood. You can show support in the month of April by displaying one in your yard.
  6. Question and Answer session followed presentation

Audio:

 

Board of Zoning Appeals 04/15/2019

The Charlestown Board of Zoning Appeals met on April 15, 2019 at 7:30 pm. Following is a summary and full audio (19:22) of the meeting: 

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance 
  2. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call – Members present were Darrell Stidham, Danny Oakley, Barry Early, Zach Payne and Paul Collier
  3. Approval of Prior Meeting’s Minutes
    • Motion to Approve made by Barry Early
    • Seconded by John Collier
    • Unanimous approval
  4. New Business
    • ARC – Renaissance Park
      • Jason Sams addressed the Board on behalf of ARC. He is asking for ten variances associated with the development plan.
        • Variance 1 – Requests an allowance for the building to increase in height from 39 feet to 40 feet to allow for mechanicals to fit inside the building on the large three story structure on the corner of Main and Market
        • Variance 2 – Requests an allowance to decrease the road setback from 12 ft to zero so that the building is up against Market street. There will be a sidewalk and the building will come up to the sidewalk.
        • Variance 3 – Requests an allowance for a reduction in the amount of required open space for lot 2 (commercial lot) fro 15% to 0%. 
        • Variance 4 – Requests an allowance for parking on Main and High streets and along Green Ally. This would be perpendicular, nose-in parking.
        • Variance 5 – Requests an allowance for parking along/within the front yard of Main Street.
        • Variance 6 – Requests an allowance for relief on landscaping island requirement – a reduction of the required landscaping for the three story building and on the commercial building
        • Variance 7 – Requests an allowance for relief on required parking spaces and asks that the number be decreased from 103 to 68.
        • Variance 8 – Requests an allowance for relief on required parking spaces and asks that the number be decreased from 43 to 37. 
        • Variance 9 – Requests an allowance to decrease the size of parking spaces from 10×25 to 9×18
        • Variance 10 – Requests an allowance to allow a loading and unloading zone along Green Alley during non-peak visiting times
      • Motion to approve all variances made by Paul Collier
      • Seconded by Barry Early
      • Unanimous approval
    • Sunoco – RobinMart
      • Narayan Guatam, owner of the Sunoco appeared before the board to request a variance for a new building to fit in his lot size. The change will be from a building that faces Market to a building that faces High Street.
        • Variance 1 – The city requires a two-story building and Mr. Guatam wants a single story building. (IDEM does not allow a second story on a gas station.) He wants to add two more pumps for a total of four. Mr. Stidham asked if he needs to add another tank for those pumps and Mr. Guatam said he already has enough tanks.
        • Variance 2 – The design of the lot is small. He requests a variance from the requirement that 70% of the building face Market. He needs a variance from that requirement to have the building face High Street. In the 12-ft setback off of Market he plans to put a bistro seating area there.
        • Danny Oakley asked if the façade on the side of the building facing Market Street will be historic brick look. Mr. Guatam said that the building will be smooth faced concrete block.
        • Motion to approve variances made by Paul Collier
        • Second was made but speaker was unclear
        • Unaimous approval
      • Adjournment
        • Motion to adjourn made by Zach Payne
        • Second was made by speaker was unclear
        • Unanimous approval 

Audio:

Screen Shot 2019-04-09 at 10.41.33 AM

Screen Shot 2019-04-09 at 10.41.08 AM.png

Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting 04/15/2019

screen shot 2019-01-15 at 9.46.35 amThe Charlestown Planning and Zoning Commission held a meeting and public hearing on Monday, April 15 at 7:00 pm. Following is a summary with full audio (28:42) of the meeting: 

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance (Recording started after pledge)
  2. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call – Members present were Bill Resch, Darrell Stidham, Zach Payne, Ben Ledbetter, Brian Hester, and John Spencer. Also in attendance was Building Commissioner Tony Jackson
  3. Approval of prior meeting’s Minutes
    • Motion to approve made by John Spencer
    • Second was made but speaker was unclear
    • Unanimous Approval
  4. New Business
    • ARC – Renaissance Project – Jason Sams representing ARC
      • Mr. Sams presented the project proposal for the Renaissance Project. He asked the commission for approval of the project development plan. His presentation showed a visual representation of the project site.
      • Lot One of the development is a three story structure that will house 40 apartments spread across each level. It will include a coffee shop on the Market and Main corner. The building is U-shaped with breezeways and includes a courtyard for use by apartment residents.
      • Lot Two consists of three commercial buildings
      • The site lighting plan will have acorn-style historic replica lights.
      • The external façade will have a brick-like material designed to look historic, and hardy siding, a zero-maintenance product.
      • Green Alley will separate Lot One and Lot Two. Building materials will match across both lots.
      • Mr. Sams requested approval of the development plan and offered to answer questions. Variances will be needed for the project.
        • Darrell Stidham asked how large the green space for the apartments will be. Mr. Sams said about 30-40 feet wide and will include landscaping and brick pavers.
        • Zach Payne asked how many parking spaces. Mr. Sams said there will be 68 for Lot 1 and 37 for Lot 2
          • Mr. Payne asked what type of businesses will be in Lot 2. Mr. Sams said there has been some interest by small sandwich shops, different restaurant type users.
          • Mr. Payne asked about the process. Mr. Sams said that he’s under a purchase agreement with the City, but before he completes that agreement he wants to secure final building plans. John Spencer clarified that once they get through this process ARC will pursue agreements with tenants. Mr. Sams said that this is a two phase development and Lot One will be first. He hopes that bringing the 40 people into the apartments will spur the next phase.
        • John Spencer asked about the variances that ARC will request following this meeting. Mr. Sams said they include parking, setback, green space and some other things. He said he’s asking for relief to develop the property to fit the “downtown” mode.
        • Brian Hester asked about the time frame between Lots one and two. Mr. Sams said he could possibly begin work on Lot two within 60-90 days. The site has some environmental remediation issues.
        • Mr. Stidham asked if they anticipated any environmental delays and Mr. Sams said no.
        • Mr. Spencer said that he has looked through the variance requests that the BZA will look at in their meeting following this one and he said he thinks the project fits the plan. He said he sees no reason not to approve it.
        • Motion to Approve made by Darrell Stidham
        • Second was made but speaker was unclear.
        • Public Comment
          • Jarred Dunn – owner of the barber shop. He said he is concerned about the parking lot in phase one because it borders his shop. Mr. Sams said that there will still be a full drive lane on Main. Mr. Dunn asked about a drain that has been broken for a while and he’s asking if that drain will be repaired in this project. John Spencer said that’s a Board of Public Works question. Ben Ledbetter said he’s not familiar with the issue but said he will go look at it.
        • Call for vote – unanimous approval
    • Sunoco – RobinMart
      • Narayan Guatam from Sunoco appeared before the commission. He said he serves 250-300 customers per day and wants to enlarge the store. Mr. Guatam wants to demolish the present building and install two new pumps. He wants to construct a 2,000 sq ft building on the side of the property facing High Street, rather than Market.
      • John Spencer asked how many gas pumps this new project will offer. It will allow for two more pumps for a total of four. Mr. Guatam will need to build the new store, move, then demolish the other.
      • Darrell Stidham asked how long the project will take. Mr. Guatam said that he hopes to start in July. Mr. Guatam said that he plans to offer a café style food mart with outdoor patio seating facing Market Street as well.
      • Tony Jackson noted that this is an existing property and presents no change in use.
      • Mr. Spencer asked what kind of variances he’s seeking. Tony Jackson said that the lot size prevents him from following existing code so he needs the variance.
      • Ben Ledbetter asked about the building material. Mr. Gautam said that he must have the building match the Sunoco brand so it will be concrete block and painted.
      • John Spencer said he looked through it and sees no reason that the BZA will not approve it.
      • Motion to approve plan contingent on BZA approval made by John Spencer
      • Seconded by Ben Ledbetter
      • Unanimous approval
  5.  Adjournment
    • Motion to adjourn made by John Spencer
    • Seconded by Darrell Stidham
    • Unanimous approval

Audio:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redevelopment Commission – SPECIAL MEETING 04/15/2019

web1_special-called-meetingThe Charlestown Redevelopment Commission held a special meeting on Monday, April 15 at 10:00am to address an item improperly managed in the previous meeting. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (1:24): 

  1. Call to Order
  2. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call – Members present were Mayor Bob Hall, Ted Little, Eric Vaughn, and George Roberts. Pat Glotzbach was absent. Also in attendance were Clerk Treasurer Donna Coomer and City Attorney Michael Gillenwater
  3. Amendment to Renaissance Contract with ARC
    • As noted in the previous meeting on April 11, 2019, (Available here: Redevelopment 04/11/2019) ARC has requested an amendment to their development agreement on the Renaissance Project. This amendment extends the due date for a site plan from April 15 to April 30.
    • Motion to approve the amendment made by George Roberts
    • Seconded by Ted little
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous Approval
  4. Adjournment
    • Motion to adjourn made by Eric Vaughn
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • Unanimous Approval

Audio (1:24) :

Board of Public Works 04/15/2019

7ab1a11b-853b-474b-97c1-1815c11e4bdaThe Charlestown Board of Public Works met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, April 15 at 9:00 am. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (6:58) at the end. 

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance – led by Donna Coomer
  2. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call – Members present were Mayor Bob Hall and Ben Ledbetter. Ted Little arrived late. Also in attendance were Clerk Treasurer Donna Coomer and City Attorney Michael Gillenwater
  3. Prior meeting’s Minutes, Current Claims, and Payroll Allowance Docket from 03/31/2019 to 04/14/2019 combined into one motion for approval
    • Motion to approve made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Mayor Bob Hall
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous Approval
  4. Business Items
    • Eric Vaughn – Director of Economic Development
      • Mr. Vaughn discussed properties for pocket parks in the Ashley Springs subdivision. Since the last meeting, he learned that the lot approved in that meeting was sold. They have identified a new lot. The new lot, Lot 55, requires purchase approval at a cost of $15,000.
        • Motion to approve purchase of Lot 55 made by Ben Ledbetter
        • Seconded by Ted Little
        • No Discussion
        • Unanimous Approval
      • Woodford Farms Park Update – Mr. Vaughn said he is working on a deal for a park in the subdivision. He has discussed lot options with the developer. The developer has two lots, both of which are larger lots. The developer wants to split one of those large lots into two for building, then negotiate a price on the second larger lot for a park. This park would be bigger than most other neighborhood parks. Mayor Hall said they anticipate having more details on this park at the next meeting.
    • Community Crossings Grant for Paving
      • Mayor Hall introduced a list of streets to be bid out for paving using $941,000 in grant funds. He explained that the list provided to the board will be paved this year. Mr. Ledbetter mentioned that these include “Old Town” and Glendale streets. 
        • Motion to approve bid process for the paving jobs made by Ted Little
        • Seconded by Ben Ledbetter
        • No Discussion
        • Unanimous Approval
      • Mayor Hall asked the board to approve a sign on the streets to show which will be paved
        • Motion made by Ted Little
        • Seconded by Ben Ledbetter
        • No Discussion
        • Unanimous Approval
  5.  Adjournment
    • Motion to adjourn made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • Unanimous Approval

Audio:

Redevelopment Commission 04/11/2019

City-NEws-e1455073509249The Charlestown Redevelopment Commission met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, April 11 at 9:00am. Following is a summary of the meeting with audio at the end. 

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance led by Shane Spicer
  2. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call – Members present were Ted Little, Eric Vaughn, George Roberts, and Mayor Bob Hall. Pat Glotzbach was absent. Also in attendance were Clerk Treasurer Donna Coomer and City Attorney Michael Gillenwater
  3. Prior meeting’s minutes, Current Claims, and Payroll Allowance Docket 03/25/2019 to 04/07/2019 combined into one motion for approval
    • Motion to approve made by George Roberts
    • Seconded by Eric Vaughn
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous Approval
  4. Approval of Contracts
    • Paul Wheatley presented two contracts related to the Renaissance Project required for issuing the debt to allow the construction to move forward.
      • Frost Brown Todd – Engagement Letter – Bond Council 
      • Reedy Financial Group P.C. – Engagement Letter – financial advisory services
    • Mr. Gillenwater said he believes these companies are reputable and supports approval of the contracts.
    • Motion to approve contracts made by Ted Little
    • Seconded by George Roberts
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous Approval
  5. Old Business
    • Renaissance
      • Jason Sams from ARC presented an amendment to the redevelopment agreement to extend the initial timeline for planning from April 15 to April 30 with an anticipated closing date of May 24. ARC will appear on Monday the 15th for zoning variances. He requested that the Commission allow Mayor Hall to execute this amendment to the agreement. 
      • Mr. Gillenwater said that the developer wants to ensure that he will have the zoning variances required to complete the project. He said he has reviewed the amendment and sees no issues. 
      • Mayor Hall confirmed that ARC is asking to amend the initial due date from April 15 to April 30 and ARC agreed. 
      • Mayor Hall asked for a quick project update. ARC has been working with utility companies to move poles and lines to facilitate construction of the project. They are committed to beginning the project in the summer and completing within 11-12 months.
      • No motion was taken on this request during this meeting. *At the end of the meeting and prior to adjournment I asked to be recognized to clarify whether a motion was needed on this item and I was told that I could ask that question after the meeting. Following the meeting, after the recorder was turned off Mayor Hall told me it was not appropriate for me to ask questions in the meeting. I asked my question again and was told that the commission passed a motion on this issue at the previous meeting (03/28/2019). At that meeting, however, the motion that was passed extended the agreement from April 1 to April 15 and Mayor Hall mentioned at that time that if a further extension was needed they could address it at today’s meeting (prior meeting summary here: 03/28/2019 Redevelopment Meeting)
  6. New Business
    • Susan Riley appeared before the commission to seek an exception for a Springville Manor home. She explained that she has a client who purchased her Pleasant Ridge property October 21, 2015. The Springville Manor property agreement dictates that residents from Pleasant Ridge must have a “long term” residency in PR. This resident qualifies in all other ways.
      • Motion to approve this exception made by Eric Vaughn
      • Seconded by George Roberts
      • No Discussion
      • Unanimous Approval
    • Update on the properties – Ms. Riley said that four of six properties have contracts with two having contingency contracts. Two additional properties have recently been listed. A property just sold, lot 23, for $104,950 another lot is selling for $105,000.
    • Mayor Hall said the value is a good thing and discussed the instant equity ($70,000) the owners have. He reviewed the mortgage amounts for Springville Manor homes. He said that he has been campaigning in the area and people like the houses better than the old trailer court that was there.
    • Susan Riley said that some of the people purchasing the houses in Springville have come from other cities. She said she has a new mailer targeting Pleasant Ridge homeowners that will go out soon. 
    • Mayor Hall said that people have told him they are moving to Charlestown for the family friendly atmosphere, schools, and Christmas lights. He said 20% of new residents are from Oldham County (in Kentucky) and that 90-95% of people moving in are families with children. 
  7. Mayor Hall mentioned that the police station is on schedule
  8. Mayor Hall said that they are moving forward on the LM Bag Company building. When the company took possession of the property there was a strip of land that they did not obtain a deed for. The owner has agreed to release the deed.
  9. Adjournment
    • Motion to adjourn made by Eric Vaughn
    • Seconded by George Roberts
    • Unanimous approval

Audio:

 

City Seeks Approval of Property Code: Indiana Fire Prevention & Building Safety Commission Meeting 04/02/2019

Screen Shot 2019-04-02 at 3.18.15 PMThe Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 2 at 9:00 AM at the Indiana Government Center in Indianapolis. On the agenda was a request from the City of Charlestown to approve Ordinance 2019-OR-04, which amends the city’s Property Maintenance Code (PMC) for the third time. Following is a brief history of the amendments and a summary of today’s meeting with full audio of the portion that addressed the Charlestown ordinance:

  1. HISTORY OF AMENDMENTSThe City of Charlestown initially approved a Property Maintenance Code in February 2008 with Ordinance 2008-OR-01 (available here – 2008-OR-01). The City failed to submit this ordinance to the Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission as required. In February 2018, following the issuance of a preliminary injunction in the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association lawsuit, the Charlestown Common Council amended the PMC with Ordinance 2018-OR-6 to allow for immediate, daily, accumulating fines. (available here – 2018-OR-6). The city initially failed to submit this ordinance to the Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission as required, but filed a variance request and the ordinance appeared on the July 2018 meeting agenda. The ordinance was tabled at that meeting (meeting minutes available here – July 2018 FPBSC Meeting). Ordinance 2018-OR-6 was also tabled by the Commission at the August 2018 meeting (meeting minutes available here – August 2018 FPBSC meeting). Ordinance 2018-OR-6 was found to be in non-compliance at the September 2018 meeting and was denied. (meeting minutes available here – September 2018 FPBSC meeting)
    • In December 2018 the Charlestown Common Council amended the PMC with Ordinance 2018-OR-23 (not available on City’s website but unsigned version here: 2019-OR-23)Ordinance 2018-OR-23 was tabled by the Commission at the January 2019 meeting (meeting minutes available here – January 2019 FPBSC meting)Ordinance 2018-OR-23 was found to be in non-compliance at the February 2019 meeting and was denied. (meeting minutes available here – February 2019 FPBSC meeting). 
    • In March 2019 the Charlestown Common Council amended the PMC with Ordinance 2019-OR-4 (not available on City’s website pending approval but unsigned version here: 2019-OR-04). This version of the PMC was the subject of the April 2019 FPBSC meeting and was tabled. A summary of this meeting follows (agenda here – April 2019 FPBSC meeting agenda)
  2. SUMMARY OF APRIL MEETINGMark Crandley, attorney from Barns & Thornburg, spoke on behalf of the City of Charlestown. He said that the City has endeavored to make sure the ordinance is without conflict and he believes that addressing swimming pool covers in the current version should bring the ordinance into compliance. He asked the commission to focus on the issue at hand and not consider the constitutionality of the ordinance since that matter will be adjudicated in court.
    • Anthony Sanders, attorney from the Institute for Justice, spoke on behalf of PRNA. He said that he has previously submitted material that outlines the facts of the case. He said that litigation in state court is up for a new preliminary injunction on June 4th, however, the city is not waiting on that ruling and has scheduled inspections resuming tomorrow (April 3) in anticipation that the commission will pass this ordinance today.He said the commission can deny the ordinance for two reasons. First he said that state codes do not allow or address immediate fines. Second, he said that the statute the commission works under does not limit the commission’s authority to only their administrative code. He said they have the ability to deny ordinances that violate state laws. He said the commission can deny this ordinance because it does not offer equal protection and it sets up a situation in which excessive fines can be applied, which violates the US constitution.He introduced David and Ellen Keith.
    • David Keith spoke. He said he and his wife Ellen have lived in their current home for 40 years. He said he is against the ordinance for one reason, because it is designed to allow the city to take away his home.
    • I (Treva Hodges) spoke next. My written statement, from which I read: My name is Treva Hodges and I live at 1136 Main Street in Charlestown. I am here today as a concerned homeowner in Charlestown. I am concerned because I believe the city is using building and fire safety laws to circumvent due process and as a substitution for eminent domain.My husband and I acquired our home in 2017 upon the passing of his mother, a gift she was proud to bestow. This is the first home that we have owned free and clear of any debt. This is the home in which we intend to spend the remainder of our lives. Our home was built in 1937, and although indoor plumbing was installed about a decade later, the home retains many of its original features.Time has had its effect on our home and before we could move in we used the total of our small monetary inheritance to make necessary repairs to areas affected by water damage and to update the electrical service. Our home, like many in Charlestown, would benefit from some additional renovation, but my husband’s fixed retirement and my modest teaching income dictate that those projects will have to wait.
      • It is important to note that my home is not unsafe, nor is it a fire hazard, nor is it by any definition a blighted property, yet, if Charlestown’s proposed Property Maintenance Code, the ordinance before you today, passes, our home is subject to selective enforcement that could result in thousands of dollars of fines levied against us, fines that we would not be able to pay.
      • My fear of being fined out of my home is reasonable. The city is purchasing an abandoned property that adjoins my property and has made it clear that they intend for the area to be the site of a major redevelopment project. The events going on in other redevelopment areas including the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood have set precedent that the city will use excessive fines as an alternative to eminent domain in their redevelopment plans.
      • I understand that this Commission is tasked with assessment and approval of ordinance measures that deal only with the state’s building and fire safety laws. I understand that the ordinance before you offers far more specifics than just those two laws. If you approve this PMC today, however, you are approving it in its entirety. And in doing so you are approving a code under which the corrective actions and sanctions defy those expected of this very Commission. Indiana Code 22-12-7-5 provides that this body “must grant a reasonable time in which to cease and correct a violation of law covered by the order.” And although 22-12-7-7 allows corrective action including civil penalties for noncompliance, nowhere in this code are immediate, accumulating, daily fines mentioned or explicitly allowed. For this reason, I ask that you reject this version of the code today.
      • Second, the Ordinance before you states in section 101.2 that the code applies to “all existing residential and nonresidential structures” and makes no clear or adequate provision for construction that occurred before the International Property Maintenance Code of 2006 that provides the basis for this code. Furthermore section 101.3 of the PMC requires “Existing structures and premises that do not comply with these provisions” to be altered or repaired. These sections do not conform to the existing buildings clause under your own code in section 675 IAC 12-4-12. I also ask that you reject this code today for this reason.
      • I was present at the City Council meetings during which city attorney Michael Gillenwater told council members that laws can be bent to meet their needs and that the property maintenance code can be selectively enforced to fulfill the city’s purposes. This code is now the subject of three separate lawsuits in both state and federal court. This code is unlike any other property maintenance code in the state of Indiana and far exceeds its stated purpose of providing for the safety and wellbeing of Charlestown citizens. In fact, this code creates space for the city to work against us.
    • Mr. Crandley spoke again and said that everything said by the other speakers are allegations in the existing lawsuits. He said he does not know me, but he has met the Keiths. He said the Keiths have no reason to fear fines from the city because their home is fine. He said that this issue has been debated for years now and that no one can identify anyone who has been forced out of their homes. He said that fines have only been applied to homes that were extremely dangerous or with major flaws. He said that there is nothing in Indiana code that gives the Commission the ability to deny this on constitutionality. He said that the Commission has not pointed out any other errors at previous times.Commissioner Scott Pannike asked why Charlestown feels the need to have immediate fines when other cities in Indiana allow a grace period to make repairs.Mr. Crandley said that the City’s thought process is that if an owner violates the law they should not just be able to walk away. He said there was an accountability problem in Charlestown. He said that the fine acts as a motivating tool to keep people in compliance.
    • Justin Guedel, staff attorney for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security spoke. He said that there are numerous sections in the PMC that require building owners to come up to a code standard different from a code of record. Generally, the Commission only requires that structures meet the code of record at the time of construction. The PMC contains at least 20 variances on this topic.
    • Director Boyle spoke. He said the Commission recommended denying this ordinance with it was 2018-OR-06 based on general concerns with the entirety of the ordinance. He said that existing structures should be maintained under the code of reference active at the time of their construction. He specifically mentioned chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the PMC. He said they have tried to do a thorough review in the last few weeks, but does not feel that he or the Commission are at the point where they can agree to approve. He said he’d like more time for the Commission to do proper due diligence. He said what’s difficult about this ordinance is that it adopts the International Building Code and that’s ok, but others do not. He said he saw some concerns with things that relate to how things should be installed or where they should be installed.He said some sections are likely to have some conflicts still. He recognized that this ordinance has been before the Commission several times, but it is a complicated law and the Commission has the responsibility to make sure that things in the Ordinance are proper and acceptable based on their guidelines and rules.
      • He recommended tabling the ordinance until the next meeting.
    • Motion to table was made and secondedDuring discussion of the motion legal counsel for the Commission said that it is the jurisdiction is to identify conflicts within an ordinance based on their administrative code. He said that adequate questions have been raised in that jurisdiction.Director Boyle said he has never seen an ordinance with this scope and breadth
      • Motion to table the ordinance until the next meeting was approved unanimously.
      • Mr. Crandley said that the city is very concerned with getting this ordinance correct but asked for more direction from the Commission. Director Boyle said that the original letter they sent to the city addressed 20 items that needed correction and that have not been corrected or addressed in subsequent versions.

Audio (25:44)

***EDIT***

The ordinance (2019-OR-4) tabled at this April meeting was tabled again at the May meeting and was DENIED at the June meeting on 06/04/2019. To be reconsidered by the Commission the ordinance will require another revision through the Charlestown City Council.

 

Common Council Meeting 04/01/2019

City-NEws-e1455073509249The Charlestown Common Council met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, April 1 at 6:30 PM. Following is a summary and full audio of the meeting. 

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance: led by Boy Scout Troop 80 members Jackson Smith and Seth Works
  2. Invocation: led by LC McCawley from the Charlestown Church of God
  3. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call: Members present were Ted Little, Brian Hester, Mike Vaughn, Tina Barnes, and JT Cox. Also in attendance were Mayor Bob Hall, Clerk Treasurer Donna Coomer, and city attorney Michael Gillenwater
  4. Approval of Agenda
    • Mayor Hall requested the addition of Resolution 2019-R-6 to the agenda
    • Motion to approve amended agenda made by JT Cox
    • Seconded by Mike Vaughn
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous Approval
  5. Approval of prior meeting’s Minutes, Current Claims, and Payroll Allowance Docket from 03-04-2019to  03-30-2019 combined into one motion
    • Motion to approve made by Ted Little
    • Seconded by JT Cox
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous Approval
  6. Ordinances and Resolutions:
    • Ordinance No. 2019-OR-6 – Additional Appropriations Ordinance
      • Mayor Hall explained that the sanitation budget has money to make payment on the new garbage truck but it wasn’t a line item and this ordinance creates that line item so the money can be transferred out of the general sanitation budget into the new line item. Donna Coomer clarified this comes from the sanitation fund, not the general fund
      • Motion to Approve made by Ted Little
      • Seconded by Brian Hester
      • No Discussion
      • Unanimous approval
      • Mayor Hall entertained a motion to suspend the rules in anticipation of passing the ordinance on its second and final reading tonight
        • Motion to approve rule suspension made by Brian Hester
        • Seconded by Mike Vaughn
        • No Discussion
        • Unanimous Approval
      • Second and final reading of 2019-OR-6
        • Motion to approve made by Mike Vaughn
        • Seconded by JT Cox
        • No Discussion
        • Unanimous Approval
    • Resolution 2019-R-6 – A Resolution Establishing the Name of a Neighborhood Park in the City of Charlestown in Memory of Officer Ben Bertram
      • Mayor Hall explained that he has had the opportunity to meet with the Bertram family several times to discuss how the community can honor Sgt. Bertram in a way that would be lasting. He said the family approves of renaming the park after him since he grew up in that area. The community will be invited to an event after this approval.
      • Motion to Approve made by Ted Little
      • Seconded by Brian Hester
      • No Discussion
      • Unanimous approval
  7. Ted Little Comment – Mr. Little reminded everyone that there will be a memorial 5K run for Sgt. Bertram on April 20th. He encouraged everyone to attend or to sponsor someone in the run for $30.
  8. Mayor Hall Update – Mayor Hall said the first meeting in May is the night before the primary election. He asked that the council agree to meet on the second Monday rather than the first. Meeting will be May 13thrather than May 6th.
    • Motion to approve adjusted meeting schedule made by Mike Vaughn
    • Seconded by Brian Hester
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous Approval
  9. Adjournment:
    • Motion to Adjourn made by JT Cox
    • Seconded by Brian Hester
    • Unanimous Approval 

Audio:

 

 

Board of Public Works 04/01/2019

7ab1a11b-853b-474b-97c1-1815c11e4bdaThe Charlestown Board of Public Works met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, April 1, at 9:00 am. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio available:

  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance
  2. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call: Members present were Mayor Bob Hall, Ted Little, and Ben Ledbetter. Also in attendance were Clerk Treasurer Donna Coomer and city attorney Michael Gillenwater.
  3. Prior meeting’s minutes, current claims, and payroll allowance docket combined into one motion for approval
    • Motion to approve made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  4. Renewal of Contract – Fiberoptic internet connection and phone service
    • John Spencer asked for the renewal. The police station will need to have their service moved.
    • Motion to approve renewal made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous Approval
  5. Bertram 5K Memorial Run Route approval
    • Mayor Hall said that they’ve been presented with the route for consideration
    • Motion to approve made by Ted Little
    • Seconded by Ben Ledbetter
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous Approval
  6. Eric Vaughn – Director of Economic Development
    • Neighborhood Pocket Parks lot purchase agreements
      • There is a tentative agreement for a lot in Ashley Springs for $15,000 purchase price
      • There is a tentative agreement on two lots in Heritage Place (between Freedom and Independence) for a total of $50,000 purchase price
    • Mayor Hall said that each of these lots have been discounted so the city can build the parks. The lots are further back in the neighborhoods for use by neighborhood residents and to discourage extra traffic and outside visitors.
    • Motion to approve purchases and authorization made by Ted Little
    • Seconded by Ben Ledbetter
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous Approval
  7. Pirate 5K Fun Run Route Approval
    • Motion to approve made by Ted Little
    • Seconded by Ben Ledbetter
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous Approval
  8. City Engineer – Requests approval of applications for the Community Crossings road paving project
    • Motion to approve made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous approval
  9. Donna Coomer asked a question about damage to a Basketball court and Ben Ledbetter said he would investigate
  10. Adjournment
    • Motion to adjourn made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • Unanimous approval

Audio: