CHARLESTOWN, IN (WAVE) - An appeals court ruling in the ongoing dispute between the city of Charlestown, IN, and the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood have both sides claiming victory.
In December, a judge put a stop to the city slapping high housing code fines on homeowners in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood.
Neighbors said it was a form of extortion because they believe the city was leveling those fines to force homeowners to sell their property cheaply so that a developer could eventually build on the land.
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed that decision Tuesday, paving the way for the city to resume inspections and re-impose those fines.
Lawyers representing Pleasant Ridge said the ruling forces the city to follow the state’s Unsafe Building Law, which will protect residents from unfair inspections.
“The City of Charlestown has wantonly violated those procedures for years,” Anthony Sanders, Senior Attorney for the Institute of Justice, said. “And now they will have to follow them because the judge has ruled that law applies here.”
Charlestown Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association President Josh Craven agreed.
“It’s nothing different for us,” Craven said.
Charlestown City Attorney Michael Gillenwater called residents' claims of victory premature.
“Now you can call that a victory if you want,” Gillenwater said, “but where I come from they call that putting lipstick on a pig.”
The Charlestown City Council meets Wednesday night to discuss the ruling.