The Legal Department at the City of Valparaiso provides legal services to the Mayor, City Council, and all City departments, boards, committees and commissions. The powers and duties of the City Attorney are outlined in IC 36-4-9-12.
The Department reviews all City contracts, drafts City ordinances and resolutions, reviews and drafts internal policies and procedures, represents the City and City Officials in litigation, manages City tax abatements, responds to City public records requests and oversees the historic downtown liquor licenses.
The City of Valparaiso Legal Department does not provide legal advice to members of the public.
The City Attorney is occasionally asked about the display of political signs. Unlike commercial signs, political signs are provided enhanced legal protection as being an expression of a political opinion. That said, there are some reasonable rules. As a starting point, political signs are prohibited on City property – including any portion of a public road. Signs placed on public property will be removed. Also, the City will seek the removal of any signs that creates a public safety hazard – especially for vehicular traffic. Indiana Code § 36-1-3-11 provides that within 60 days of an election (and 6 days afterwards), any City ordinance prohibiting the placement of a political sign (no greater than 32 square feet in surface area) is unenforceable. If you live in a subdivision with covenants, your Association may adopt rules independent of the City. That said, Indiana Code § 32-21-13-4 prohibits your Association from preventing the placement of political signs on private property within 30 days before and election and 5 days afterwards. In addition Indiana Code § 32-21-13-7 prevents an Association from prohibiting candidates from entering a subdivision.
The City has been very frustrated with the condition of the building across from Valplayso and the fact that several local contractors have not been paid for their work and materials. It is the City’s understanding that there is an offer to purchase the structure in its current condition; however, because of pending litigation the sale cannot be completed. The litigation centers around a claim by Northwest Health (f/k/a Porter Hospital) that the structure, once completed, would not be allowed to be used for most medical purpose. Below is a presentation provided to the City Council on April 24, 2023.