ILNews

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. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

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  4. Dear Fan, let me help you correct the title to your post. "ACLU is [Left] most of the time" will render it accurate. Just google it if you doubt that I am, err, "right" about this: "By the mid-1930s, Roger Nash Baldwin had carved out a well-established reputation as America’s foremost civil libertarian. He was, at the same time, one of the nation’s leading figures in left-of-center circles. Founder and long time director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Baldwin was a firm Popular Fronter who believed that forces on the left side of the political spectrum should unite to ward off the threat posed by right-wing aggressors and to advance progressive causes. Baldwin’s expansive civil liberties perspective, coupled with his determined belief in the need for sweeping socioeconomic change, sometimes resulted in contradictory and controversial pronouncements. That made him something of a lightning rod for those who painted the ACLU with a red brush." http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/biographies/roger-baldwin-2/ "[George Soros underwrites the ACLU' which It supports open borders, has rushed to the defense of suspected terrorists and their abettors, and appointed former New Left terrorist Bernardine Dohrn to its Advisory Board." http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=1237 "The creation of non-profit law firms ushered in an era of progressive public interest firms modeled after already established like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ("NAACP") and the American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU") to advance progressive causes from the environmental protection to consumer advocacy." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cause_lawyering

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