Local Government Proposals/Ordinances Currently Under Consideration

Please contact Lynne Petersen or Gretchen White with feedback or questions on the below.

Alert: Indianapolis properties make sure your communities are listed on landlord registry

IAA has been informed (by a City County Council member) that some of the larger rental unit communities are not currently listed on the Indianapolis landlord registry, meaning properties were either unaware of the program or possibly forgot to renew. The administration is working to ensure all rental properties are included and are researching names of communities for enforcement letters to be sent. The Indianapolis Registration renewal is due by January 1 of each year. IAA previously expressed concerns to the Head of the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services as many members reported only receiving one e-mail reminder about needing to renew. The cost is $5 per property and ask that properties check their status and renew accordingly. Please contact Gretchen White with questions.

General Landlord Registration Information (scroll to bottom of webpage)

Landlord Registration Renewal Instructions

Fishers Plan Commission and Council to discuss open space requirements

It is expected that the Plan Commission will discuss introduced Ordinance 071717 during its regular meeting on September 6 which amends a portion of the Comprehensive Plan and Ordinance to set open space standards. The language sets specific minimum open space requirements (listed below) and also provides examples of acceptable open-space amenities. Please note detention and retention areas will not count towards the open space percentage unless it includes a site design amenity, as determined by the Plan Commission or Mayor’s Designee. If the Plan Commission sends a recommendation back to the City Council it is likely that the Council will consider the language on second and third reading during its meeting on September 18. Please contact Gretchen White with comments.

Minimum Open Space required for each development as a percentage of its gross acreage:

  • Residential, All Non-Conservation Subdivision Types: 20%
  • Residential, All Conservation Subdivision: 40%
  • Non-Residential, Strip Commercial Center: 10%
  • Non-Residential, Commercial District Subdivision: 15%
  • Non-Residential, Employment Node District: 15%
  • Non-Residential, Industrial Park Subdivision: 20%
  • Non-Residential, Planned Unit Development: 20%
  • Mixed Use, Planned Unit Developments: 20%

Elwood adopts rental registration program, begins January 1

The Elwood City Council recently adopted Ordinance 2284 which seeks to create a rental registration program for the city. There is no fee to register but initial registrations and annual renewals are to be submitted by January 1. There is also local discussion surrounding the creation of a Good Neighbor Ordinance and IAA is reaching out to decision makers to be sure they are aware of recent state legislation that could impact their proposal.

Elwood Ordinance 2284

Lafayette Council opens door to traffic enforcement on multifamily properties

The Lafayette City Council rushed to introduce and adopt on final passage Ordinance 2017-26 during their regular meeting on Monday evening. The language establishes the ability for the Police Department to enter into Enforcement Contracts with owners of multifamily properties to enforce traffic ordinances. IAA worked with state legislators and the Lafayette Police Department to pass legislation in 2016 that balanced their request to enforce traffic ordinances on private property with much-needed multifamily property owner protections. The ordinance closely mirrors state statute other than it does not explicitly state the protections for multifamily property owners. Regardless of the omission, IAA members should note that state law supersedes the local ordinance and there are protections in place should members want to request this type of enforcement. IAA has a verbal commitment from the Corporation Counsel to draft an amendment to this newly adopted ordinance to explicitly state the protections afforded in state law in an effort to provide transparency for members who may not otherwise know the protections exist.

Specifically, language currently contained in state statute but omitted in the local ordinance includes:

  1. Requiring a property owner to submit a written request for the Police Department to enforce traffic ordinances on a property (the ordinance omits that the owner must make this request and that it has to be submitted in writing);
  2. Explicitly stating neither the owner nor multifamily community can be liable, sanctioned or subject to adverse legal consequences for any loss or injury resulting from the Police Department’s enforcement of the contract; and
  3. Explicitly stating neither the property or owner can be subject to any liability, sanction, or adverse legal consequence for an owner’s decision not to enter into an enforcement contract.

View Ordinance 2017-26

South Bend considering amendment to disorderly house code

At the last South Bend City Council meeting, members introduced Ordinance 46-17 which adds dealing a synthetic drug lookalike substance such as cannabinoid to prohibited conduct within their existing disorderly house code. View Ordinance 46-17

Carmel to clarify noise ordinance for construction hours

On Monday evening the Carmel City Council introduced Ordinance D-2378-17, which seeks to clarify its existing noise ordinance. The language seeks to strike “construction and repair equipment” from the exemption list which allows such noises between the hours of 6:00 am and 10:00 pm only. In 2014 the Council adopted an ordinance limiting the allowable hours for building construction noise to 7am-9pm. IAA will be monitoring this proposal for potential amendments that would seek to further restrict building construction hours. View Ordinance D-2378-17

Indianapolis seeks to amend ‘ban the box’ ordinance 

In order to comply with state law, the Indianapolis City-County Council introduced Proposal 177 on Monday evening which amends their existing ordinance that currently outlaws the city and vendors from requiring an applicant to disclose or reveal any arrest or criminal accusations. The Indiana General Assembly adopted legislation during this past session prohibiting the state and municipalities from passing laws and ordinances requiring employers to remove the check box on applications that asks if job seekers have a criminal record. View Proposal 177

Union City officials considering rental registration and inspection program

IAA has learned that Union City’s Mayor and Council is considering the adoption of a rental registration and inspection program. The language will not likely be introduced until the fall, but they are aware of parameters putting into state law at the urging of IAA to cap fees at $5 per property and provide an opt-out of the inspection program if a property is already undergoing certain third-party inspections. Local elected officials put together the second draft of a potential ordinance, which is included below.
Draft Union City Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance

Indianapolis and Evansville discussing levying tax on property owners in downtown areas

Two Economic Improvement Districts (EID) are currently being discussed which could result in higher assessments for property owners located within each district. EIDs have traditionally been used sparingly in Indiana with small budgetary needs. However, there is a potential for existing and those being discussed below to increase over time. The districts are typically approved for a period of 10 years and reviewed after 5 years. Assessments do not fall under the 2% property tax caps since a majority of property owners within a district must approve a proposal’s petition.

Indianapolis EID Details

Downtown Inc. appears to be spearheading an effort to create an Economic Investment District (EID) within the downtown square mile (minus a carve-out for Massachusetts Avenue and some residential property). Such a district requires petition support from a majority of property owners representing more than 50% of the assessments to be paid before the City-County Council can consider such an ordinance. If approved by property owners and the Council, it would result in commercial properties (including multifamily developments) within the district to be assessed an annual fee equal to 0.125 per $100 of assessed property value. Residential properties would be assessed $100 per unit. The budgetary goal is to raise $3 million per year from commercial and residential properties. The district would be established for 10 years and focus on providing things such as streetscape maintenance, beautification and cleanliness along with safety and security, parking and wayfinding, along with special projects and long range planning. It does appear that the EID Board of Directors could annually adjust the fees so long as they do not exceed 5% of the assessment rate. To learn more about the Indianapolis EID, please visit here.

Evansville EID Details

is also considering the creation of a downtown Economic Improvement District (EID), included as a recommendation of the Downtown Master Plan. The proposed rate for commercial properties (including multifamily) is 21 cents per $100 assessed property value and those on Main Street would be assessed an additional $7.35 per foot of street frontage. Residential properties (single-family and condos) would be assessed $150 for property along Main Street and $100 elsewhere within the district. The EID seeks to raise $625,000 per year to address: economic development, marketing and public spaces ($250,000); making spaces clean, safe and attractive ($250,000); and $125,000 for management and administration. Presumably the Southwest Indiana Chamber’s Downtown Alliance would be replaced by the District. Petitions to impacted property owners were sent on June 30 and are due by September 23.

Evansville Council introduces resolution outlining abatement scoring criteria

Members of the Evansville City Council recently introduced Resolution C-2017-16 which seeks to ratify criteria to be used when the City Council is considering tax abatements. Of particular interest is language under the residential section which establishes the threshold of requiring projects with “5 unit (or more) multifamily dwelling(s) with at least 20% low-income units.” Further when determining the appropriate number of years for such an abatement the document says to consider “percentage of units dedicated to low or moderate income households.” The final page in “Exhibit A” highlights the overall scoring differences which shows there are significant changes being proposed. The language goes along with proposed Ordinance F-2017-13 which is scheduled to be discussed in committee on August 14.

Local Government Ordinances Adopted in 2017

Fort Wayne Council adopts stormwater increase

The Fort Wayne City Council adopted an increase and change in calculation for their stormwater fee. Currently non-residential properties, which include multifamily properties with four or more units, pay a monthly fee based on the number of Equivalent Residential Units (ERUs) and the cost per ERU is tiered. Effective July 1st all non-residential properties will be assessed a flat $3.85 per ERU which equals 2,500 square feet. The Council also approved increases effective in 2018 and 2019.
Non-residential stormwater fee per ERU per month

Rate per Month Effective Date
$3.85 July 1, 2017
$4.25 July 1, 2018
$4.75 July 1, 2017

View Ordinance G-17-03-11

Lawrence Council supports 68% water increase

The Lawrence City Council recently voted 6-2 in support of amended Ordinance 7 which will increase water rates in three-phases beginning June 1, 2017. Phase two is effective January 1, 2019 and phase three is effective January 1, 2020. There was language included directing the Utility Service Board to conduct a study to review the costs of delivery of water services and recommend a rate design that results in a fair allocation of costs to residential, commercial and industrial ratepayers. The study must be presented to the Council by August 31, 2018.

Amended Ordinance 7

Carbon monoxide detector ordinance in LaPorte approved by state

week members of the Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission discussed an ordinance adopted in LaPorte requiring at least one carbon monoxide alarm to be placed within all new Class 2 structures that have a fireplace, attached garage, or fossil fuel burning appliance. The ordinance needed approval by the Commission as the current residential code is silent on the issue. IAA, the Indiana Builders Association and the Association of Indiana Architects raised concerns with commission members as the ordinance ultimately sought to undermine the value of having statewide building codes and unravel the statewide consistency. After a lengthy discussion the Commission members did approve the ordinance which means other cities and towns may soon adopt ordinances regarding carbon monoxide and the language could include multifamily projects as well. View ordinance

Please contact Gretchen White if members become aware of any such ordinances being considered outside of LaPorte.

Update: The City of Chesterton recently adopted an ordinance requiring carbon monoxide alarms within new Class 2 properties, mirroring the LaPorte ordinance.

Indianapolis Council adopts changes to rental registry program

Members of the Indianapolis City-County Council recently adopted Proposal 114 without discussion by a vote of 19-3. The language impacts units being advertised as rentals and those offered for sale as rent-to-own, added the collection of a phone number to the information required to be collected on the registration form and provided an exemption for certain short-term rentals.

View Amended Proposal 114

IAA Local Issues – 2016

Bloomington: The mayor has publicly expressed interest in adopting an ordinance to mandate inclusionary zoning for all types of housing. IAA understands the mayor has been demanding developers to participate in this program before having their projects approved which is very troubling. This is the first such attempt within the state but many cities across the nation have mandated similar language which require developers to set aside a certain percentage of units in all new projects for affordable housing (typically defined by a set percentage of the Area Median Income). Some programs include language which allow a payment in lieu of fee which allows a developer to bypass including affordable units in exchange for paying the city a set per unit fee for each unit that would otherwise become affordable housing. IAA and several other groups are currently working with the Indiana Business Research Center on a housing study to better understand the needs of the area. Existing data appears to include student housing which can lower the average income and increase the average rents.

Bloomington: The Council recently approved a proposal to create an Affordable Housing Fund which will be administered by the Housing and Neighborhood Development Department. The purpose of the fund will be to provide financial assistance to support individuals and families with income at or below 130% of the county’s median income to enable those individuals and families to purchase, lease, or otherwise acquire or occupy residential units within the city; purchase property to be used for affordable housing, and develop that property as affordable housing serving those with income at or below 130% of the county’s median income; make grants, loans, and loan guarantees for the development, rehab, or financing of affordable housing serving those at or below 130% of the county’s median income for those including the elderly, persons with disabilities, and homeless individuals; provide technical assistance or other support to nonprofit developers of affordable housing; and pay expenses of administering the fund. View Ordinance 16-41

Bloomington: The Council approved sewer rate increases to begin in 2017 and will ask the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to approve a water increase. The sewer increase will result in an increase of 22% beginning January 1, 2017 and the local utility must receive approval from the IURC before implementing any water increases. View Ordinance 16-10

Bloomington: Circulated a draft regulating short-term rentals. The draft targeted residents who sublease their units and homeowners posting their homes on websites such as Airbnb. The draft stopped short of outlawing such practices but created a number of restrictive measures which could make it more difficult for offering local short-term rentals. The draft was supposed to be introduced in November but council members indicated it would not introduced until it was reworked at a later date. View Draft

Carmel: Council approved an ordinance which recommends new projects include long-term bicycle parking and in some instances showers. The language was initially proposed as a mandate but council members were sympathetic to the potential cost of complying with the language. View Introduced Ordinance Z-613-16

Crawfordsville: Considering an ordinance to create a rental registration and inspection program. The rental registration program would require a $5 per property annual fee to be paid by January 31 going forward. The inspection program requires rental units to be inspected at least every five years and includes an exemption for those multifamily properties that have passed certain 3rd party inspections. Originally the proposal included a $100 per inspection fee but this was amended out during second reading. View Proposal

Evansville: The City has been seeking to increase both water and utility rates. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) recently approved increases to water rates in two phases. The Council is currently discussing a proposal to increase sewer fees from 2017-2020. View IURC Settlement Agreement View Ordinance F-2016-31

Evansville: IAA participated in a workgroup formed by a Council member requesting changes to the Good Neighbor Ordinance. The amendment included changes to what types of offenses are classified as tier one or tier two within the strike system, eliminated small amounts of marijuana possession from the list of offenses, clarified that if a property has already initiated an eviction or if the resident already vacated then the property is not required to initiate eviction proceedings after receiving notice from the Police Department, required a property initiating an eviction proceeding due to an Eviction Filing Order from the Police Department provide proof of the complaint within three business days of its filing, and clarified that if an address for an owner listed in the rental registry and Vanderburgh County Assessor’s office differs then notice shall be sent to both addresses. Additionally the amendment tightened up some language requiring the Police Department to base their violations based on the preponderance of evidence and added language regarding victims of domestic violence. The ordinance amending the existing Good Neighbor Ordinance was adopted and effective upon passage in April. IAA remains very concerned about potential discrimination and disparate impact on protected classes. View Ordinance G-2016-10

Fishers: Adopted an update to their park impact fee Zone Improvement Plan and increased the existing Park Impact Fee. A report from Umbaugh recommended multifamily be assessed a flat per unit impact fee as opposed to setting the fee based on the number of bedrooms in each unit. View Ordinance 041816E

Indianapolis: Adopted the Public Art for Neighborhoods Program ordinance requires developers receiving awards utilizing TIF funds in projects with construction costs of more than $100,000 to contribute 1% of the value of the award to the Public Art for Neighborhoods Program. Developers including public art on the specified project may receive a credit toward what would otherwise be owed. Section 42 projects and portions of projects with Section 42 properties are exempt. View Ordinance 1

Indianapolis: Reorganized various local departments and renamed the existing Department of Code Enforcement to the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services. View Ordinance 207

Kokomo: Introduced a proposal to create a “Chronic Nuisance Property” designation for properties who have three police runs in a calendar month for thefts under $50 and/or three ordinance violations or verified complaints of Prohibited Conduct in any 60 day period. Once the threshold has been reached the penalties are: $250 for the first violation at the property, $500 for the second violation; and $2,500 for the third and any subsequent violations. View Ordinance 6825

New Albany: Adopted an annual rental registration program effective January 31, 2017. There was initially an inspection and compliance component included in the proposal but was later amended out. IAA attended the Council meeting to voice numerous concerns with the inspection and penalties provision which likely contributed to the language being removed. View Ordinance

New Albany: Adopted language to amend its existing municipal code impacting maintenance and inspections. Existing code allowed for complaint-based inspections of rental units and was amended to include all types of housing. Language also required screens in windows, amended egress requirements, increased penalties from $10 to $50 per day for each offense but not more than $4,500. View Ordinance G-16-2

South Bend: Adopted a rental registration program, including a $5 per property annual fee. Fines and penalties collected go towards the replacement of sidewalks and curbs. The ordinance requires units to be registered annually not later than September 15th although the date is extended to December 30, 2016 for the first year. View Ordinance 10427-16

Terre Haute: The Council recently amended Proposal 15 to increase sewer rates effective December 1 and January 1, 2018. The amended proposal was adopted by a vote of 6-3. Effective December 1 the sewer rate will be equal to $8.58 per one hundred cubic feet. Effective January 1, 2018 sewer rates increase to $9.01 per one hundred cubic feet. Sewer rates were last increased on July 1, 2015 and are currently equal to $7.40 per one hundred cubic feet. Throughout the year Terre Haute has been discussing a variety of proposal to increase revenue including the creation of a storm water user fee which ultimately was voted down unanimously. View Ordinance 15