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COA affirms rulings for Sellersburg in annexation case

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The town of Sellersburg’s annexation proceedings should take priority over an incorporation proceeding involving the same area of land, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.

In Covered Bridge Homeowners Association, Inc., Clark County, Indiana Commission, et al. v. Town of Sellersburg, Indiana, 10A01-1101-PL-13, landowners in the 1,800 acres in Clark County that Sellersburg intended to annex filed a remonstrance against it. Sellersburg’s town council approved a written fiscal plan and introduced its annexation ordinance in June 2008, but it failed to send out notices to all affected landowners. A hearing scheduled in August was cancelled, and negotiations between the council and the landowners on the proposed annexation failed.

In August 2009, the landowners filed a petition with the Clark County Commissioners to incorporate the new town of Covered Bridge. The commissioners adopted an ordinance approving the landowners’ petition. Just days later, the Sellersburg council adopted the proposed annexation ordinance.

Sellersburg sued the commissioners, arguing it was “first in time” and its annexation should take priority. The landowners’ association and others also filed a remonstrance against the annexation, to which Sellersburg filed a motion to dismiss based on remonstrance waiver provisions executed by subdivision developers as a condition for connection to Sellersburg’s sewer system.

The trial judges ruled in favor of Sellersburg in both cases. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the annexation proceeding is first in time and takes priority over the incorporation proceeding because it was validly instituted in June 2008. Sellersburg’s initial failure to comply with the statutory notice provisions and hold a public hearing didn’t invalidate the annexation.

The COA also held that the statutory remonstrance waiver requirements were substantially complied with and so the remonstrance lacks sufficient valid signatures.

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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