Carmel met requirements for Southwest Clay annexation

Rebecca Berfanger
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Supreme Court today found for the City of Carmel in a case regarding landowners who opposed annexation of their property in Southwest Clay Township following a settlement between the city and an organization who called themselves No Ordinance for Annexation (NOAX), who filed a remonstrance and agreed to the settlement in 2005.

The opinion, City of Carmel, Indiana v. Certain Southwest Clay Township Annexation Territory Landowners, 29S00-0608-CV-300, addresses two issues, according to Bryan Babb, an attorney who represents the City of Carmel: that municipalities who want to annex property can settle with landowners, and that there is a difference between initiating a remonstrance and opposing an annexation.

On June 21, 2004, Carmel introduced ordinance C263 and a fiscal plan to annex territory in Southwest Clay Township between 96th and 116th streets, and roughly west of U.S. 31 to the Boone County line. The annexation represented approximately 3,400 parcels. Landowners were notified on July 2, 2004, and a notice was published in the Noblesville Ledger two weeks later. The Carmel city council passed the ordinance on Nov. 24, 2004, and notice was published two days later.

On Feb. 24, 2005, an organization which called themselves No Ordinance for Annexation (NOAX) filed a remonstrance after obtaining signatures from 65 percent of affected landowners, the required amount for a remonstrance. This led to settlement discussions with the city, and ultimately a settlement agreement on Sept. 6, 2005. Carmel incorporated the terms of the settlement into ordinance C263A. The council adopted the settlement agreements on Oct. 7, 2005. NOAX conducted a referendum from Sept. 12 to Dec. 1, 2005, and landowners voted in favor of the settlement 708 to 515.

The remonstrance was certified in December 2005. A hearing was held a few months later to determine whether the annexation could go forward. NOAX sided with Carmel during the hearing, but a few property owners as individuals contested the annexation. The trial court found the original fiscal plan too vague and did not allow the annexation to go forward.

However, the Indiana Supreme Court opinion considers the conditions that must be met and what remonstrators must prove to determine whether an annexation can go forward. The court found that Carmel met these conditions but the remonstrators who did not agree with the settlement did not meet their requirements. Among the remonstrator's requirements was the percentage of landowners who continued to oppose the annexation.

"The decision confirms that the Supreme Court is committed to the idea of reinforcing a legislative system that empowers municipalities to annex land if the conditions of the statute are met," Babb said. "Hiring an expert to poke holes in a city's fiscal plan isn't enough to stop an annexation that is done properly."

The opinion will also help parties in annexation cases around the state, including those who face similar issues and filed amici briefs on this case, Babb said, because "this opinion - for the first time ever - interprets the difference between signing a remonstrance and opposing an annexation. In this case, the trial court equated the two."

Babb added, "This opinion reinforces what the court has been saying for years now, that judges shouldn't micromanage annexations. There are important public policy benefits from allowing annexations to go forward when they are done under proper conditions. In almost every annexation, there will be a vocal minority which will not want to be annexed, but that shouldn't be enough to stop the annexation when done properly."

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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

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  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.