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Judges disagree on meaning of language in city ordinance

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court in a property dispute, but Judge Ezra Friedlander disagreed with the majority based on his interpretation of “conspicuous change.”

In New Albany Historic Preservation Commission and City of New Albany v. Bradford Realty, Inc., No. 22A01-1108-PL-365, the New Albany Historic Preservation Commission and City of New Albany (NAHPC) appealed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Bradford Realty. Bradford, which has owned a building in downtown New Albany since 1966, had successfully argued at trial that it was not required to obtain permission for exterior repairs because the NAHPC had never notified Bradford that its building was in a designated historic district.

In 1999, New Albany created Ordinance Section 151.06, which established rules and procedures pertaining to external modifications of buildings within its historic district. While the city published a notice about a public meeting before adopting the ordinance, it did not notify individual property owners of the impending rule. The ordinance was adopted in 2002.

In 2008, Bradford began to renovate the exterior of its building, replacing worn clapboard with vinyl siding. The historic preservation commission sent a letter notifying Bradford that Bradford needed a certificate of appropriateness before proceeding with an exterior modification of the property. Bradford responded that because it owned the building before the historic district existed, it was not bound by provisions of the ordinance. After completing repairs to the exterior, Bardford filed for its certificate of appropriateness as a courtesy to the Historic Preservation Commission, and the application was denied.

At trial, Bradford contended the NAHPC was obligated under the United States Constitution’s 14th Amendment to provide notice of the ordinance. But citing Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 314 (1950), the Court of Appeals disagreed.

Applying Mullane, the appellate court held that the city ordinance was a legislative act that did not fall within the purview of due process requirements under the 14th Amendment. It therefore reversed and remanded to the trial court to enter summary judgment for NAHPC.

In his dissent, Friedlander said that the ordinance requires property owners to obtain permission before making “conspicuous changes,” and in this context, he interpreted that to mean a change in character, with respect to appearance.

Looking at before and after photos of the building, Friedlander concluded the change did not alter the character of the building, and therefore, he would affirm the trial court.

 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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