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Indiana sues county over I-69 noise ordinance

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The Indiana Department of Transportation is suing the commissioners of a southern Indiana county, saying they have no authority to limit construction of the Interstate 69 extension near Bloomington with an ordinance that restricts overnight noise.

The lawsuit filed in Marion Superior Court in Indianapolis says the Monroe County ordinance limiting noise between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. is hindering the project that's behind schedule and where some work goes on overnight to catch up.

Contractors already are bound by noise restrictions under their contracts, INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield told The Indianapolis Star. The ordinance approved June 20 has caused delays and it's difficult to say when new stretches of the freeway near Bloomington might open to traffic, he said.

"Certainly, we won't be able to put out an updated estimate until this matter is resolved," Wingfield said.

The agency's complaint filed Friday says "at least one INDOT contractor has threatened to alter its work schedule and cease work during certain hours in reaction to ... the ordinance."

INDOT alleges the ordinance violates Indiana's Home Rule Act, which prevents a county from imposing burdens on the agency or regulating matters that fall in INDOT's purview. INDOT is asking for a temporary restraining order barring the ordinance. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

A message seeking comment was left for Monroe County attorney Dave Schilling.

Contractors currently are working on the fourth section of the extension that eventually will link Indianapolis and Evansville. The section stretches from Greene County to Bloomington and goes near the homes of some of the project's most strident opponents.

Thomas Tokarski, who has helped file legal challenges to stop the entire I-69 extension, said he and others often called the sheriff to complain about the nighttime noise before the ordinance went into effect. He said INDOT's request for a restraining order was another example of INDOT bullying him and his neighbors.

"It's simply not acceptable," he said. "It's a complete lack of consideration for the lives of people who live out here. You would not believe the noise that goes on at night. All night long when they're working like that. You cannot sleep."

Under the ordinance, violators can be fined up to $2,500 for a first offense or up to $7,500 for additional violations.

INDOT has butted heads with Monroe County officials previously over the extension. The Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization approved a local transportation plan in 2012 that omitted 1.75 miles of the project, threatening federal funding, before later narrowly approving its addition to the local plan.

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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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