Question: Can towns/cities interpret their ordinances to say whatever they want them to say?
Answer: If the ordinance is clear and unambiguous on its face, the towns/cities must give the ordinances their plain application. In reviewing the application of an ordinance by the Indiana whenever the facts are not in dispute and our only duty is the interpretation of an ordinance, the appeal presents a pure issue of law reserved for the courts. This Court uses the same methodology to interpret ordinances as it does to interpret statutes. The first step in statutory interpretation is determining if the legislature has spoken clearly and unambiguously on the point in question. If a statute is clear and unambiguous on its face, no room exists for judicial construction. However, if a statute contains ambiguity that allows for more than one interpretation, it opens itself up to judicial construction to effect the legislative intent. I possible, every word of the ordinance must be given effect and meaning, and no part should be held to be meaningless if it can be reconciled with the rest of the ordinance.