ILNews

COA affirms conservancy district

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals had the opportunity to determine whether construction of a bridge and road is permitted under Indiana Code when establishing a conservancy district, but didn't rule on the issue because taxpayers wouldn't be responsible for paying for construction.

In In re: Petition for the establishment of the Millpond Conservancy District, No. 76A03-0711-CV-536, remonstrators argued the trial court erred in establishing a conservancy district initiated by the Town of Hamilton. They claim because the construction of a road and bridge in the proposed project underlying the district doesn't appear in the statute that lists permissible purposes for the establishment of a conservancy district, Indiana Code Section 14-33-1-1, the project should have been scrapped.

Hamilton wanted the district to make improvements to a dam and spillway on Hamilton Lake, as well as a new bridge and road. At a hearing held by the Natural Resources Commission on Hamilton's petition for the district, representatives for the Department of Natural Resources testified that the Indiana Department of Transportation would pay all costs for the bridge and road. Eventually, the trial court approved the petition.

I.C. Section 14-33-1-1(a) lists the reasons for establishing a conservancy district, with Hamilton's amended petition for the establishment of the conservancy district listing subsection 9(a) - "operation, maintenance, and improvement of: a work of improvement for water based recreational purposes."

Whether the construction of a road or bridge falls under that subsection or any of the other ones listed in the statute is an important question worthy of debate, wrote Judge Patricia Riley. However, the court didn't address the issue because the remonstrators wouldn't be financially responsible for the construction of the bridge and road.

The remonstrators' argument against the conservancy district is they don't want to be taxed to pay for construction, just for flood prevention and control. Since INDOT is paying for the construction, the appellate court doesn't need to determine whether that portion of the project is a permissible purpose for creating a conservancy district under I.C. Section 14-33-1-1, wrote the judge. As a result, the Court of Appeals affirmed the establishment of the district.
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  1. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  2. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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