The Department of Metropolitan Development issued the project a building permit, an "early conditional permit," June 16, but the developers neglected to pick up the document at the permitting office.
That led to a stop-work order on June 19. Stop-work orders aren't uncommon -- the Department of Metropolitan Development has issued nearly 500 this year. They come with an "administrative fee," or fine. The investors paid theirs, $125, in August and went ahead and built their restaurant.
But the permit's conditionality means that if the Metropolitan Development Commission does not grant the necessary variance, they must undo their work.
So if you are to believe this version of events, none of the construction work at the site began until the developers had obtained a conditional permit on June 16, but the developers failed to pick up the document, and that's why the stop work order was issued. In other words, forget what people saw with their own eyes, and forget that an anonymous tip led DMD workers to visit the site, issue a stop work order and cite the developers for numerous building and zoning code violations.
What's taking place is that stories are being made up out of whole cloth to cover up for the various laws which were broken to construct this bar/private club for a group of political insiders. The developers are now saying they want to wait until the MDC's November meeting to have their case heard. The delay is in no way intended to benefit the people who oppose this plan. It is simply intended to give the developers and the involved government officials time to get their stories straight, clean up the files, and otherwise engage in revisionist history so that it will appear that what really happened never happened at all. And thanks to Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi sitting on his hands for the last 8 weeks, they'll probably get by with it.
It also now appears that Tim Ochs, the Ice Miller attorney who was supposed to be representing Center Township in the rezoning/variance petitions is now representing the bar's owners, including Ice Miller partner Lacy Johnson. Higgins notes that the investors have an agreement to acquire a liquor permit from West End, Inc. , the approval of which is scheduled to take place at an October 16 hearing. As Shirley Kirby of the ATC tells Higgins, the Commission nearly always approves such transfers, "unless there's extenuating circumstances, like if there's a lot of remonstrators. Then they may continue it until they can get things worked out." Higgins then writes:
That's pretty much what the investors have in mind in their plans to ask for a time-out. The move follows a meeting Thursday between their attorney, Tim Ochs, and members of the Mapleton-Fall Creek Neighborhood Association.
The restaurant and bar, called 300 East, would be located on the neighborhood's southern end. Some neighbors have expressed concern over having a bar in their midst, or anywhere in a government building. But Thursday's meeting was "more fact-finding than emotional, definitely not hostile," said Dave Leonards, a longtime Mapleton-Fall Creek resident and past president of the association.
At the urging of the neighbors, Ochs said he'd seek a continuance from the Metropolitan Development Commission, which is scheduled to rule on a necessary zoning variance for the project at its Oct. 4 meeting. "They said they wanted more time to canvass the neighborhood, and we said fine," Ochs said.
Although Higgins' story speculates that the MDC will likely hear the case at its November 1 meeting, don't count on it. The plan is to push the decision until after the November election, you know, the one in which both Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer and Rep. Julia Carson are running.
I hate to tell you folks, but the fix is in. The lack of any public prosecutor willing to hold these arrogant public officials and political insiders who are willing to do anything they please to get what they want accountable, the laws be damned and to hell with the people, means this is a done deal. Remember, there are two sets of laws in Indianapolis. There are the written laws which apply to you and me. And then there's the unwritten "at the pleasure of the elected official" laws which apply to his/her friends and political supporters. If you don't believe me, pay a visit to the Environmental Court down on Virginia Avenue this afternoon and take a gander at who the city is hauling into court and threatening with fines and all other sorts of legal action for relatively minor city code violations. Then compare what you see there to the special treatment Mays, Johnson, et al. have received from the city. If you weren't cynical before, you will be after witnessing what takes place there.