Justices deny transfer in Home Place appeal

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Supreme Court won't consider the annexation battle between Carmel and Home Place.

Attorneys received notice March 4 about the court's 5-0 transfer denial in City of Carmel, Indiana v. Certain Home Place Annexation Territory Landowners, No. 29A04-0510-CV-578, which an online docket entry shows the court made Feb. 28.

This means the Oct. 17, 2007, decision by the Court of Appeals stands. The appellate court had ruled in favor of Carmel, holding the city adequately proved it could afford to annex the 1.6-square-mile area of homes and businesses. Judges decided that Hamilton Superior Judge William Hughes had erred in auditing a financial plan and ruling in favor of the remonstrators.

Indianapolis attorney Stephen Buschmann filed a petition in November 2007 asking the state's highest court to hear the appeal.

"We're obviously disappointed because we think that Carmel clearly didn't prove its case," Buschmann said. "The Supreme Court is putting an extremely stringent standard on (reviewing) any plan proposed."

One of Carmel's appellate attorneys, Bryan Babb, said he is not surprised by the decision because he believes the court relied on an annexation decision it made last summer in City of Carmel, Indiana v. Certain Southwest Clay Township Annexation Territory Landowners, No. 29S00-0608-CV-300. That decision also came out in Carmel's favor and the court decided that Judge Hughes incorrectly found the fiscal plan to be insufficient. That case is complete and has been settled.

Now, the Home Place case goes back before Judge Hughes to determine the remonstrators' side of the case, Buschmann said. This case remains significant because it's the first real test of the state's current remonstrance statute, he said. Court dates have not yet been scheduled.

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