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Opinion affirms New Albany has zoning jurisdiction over fringe area of county

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In a dispute between the city of New Albany and Floyd County concerning which entity has zoning jurisdiction over an unincorporated area outside city limits, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the city.

In Floyd County and Floyd County Plan Commission v. City of New Albany and New Albany City Plan Commission, 22A05-1303-MI-139, the county and city sought declaratory judgment on the issue. The Court of Appeals had to decide whether I.C. 36-7-4-205(e) or (f) applied. The city contends that subsection (f) applies in this situation because Floyd County has fewer than 95,000 residents as shown by the 2010 census and the city has elected to exercise jurisdiction in the fringe area and has given notice to the county. The county contends that subsection (e) applies because the county has now adopted a comprehensive plan and an ordinance to terminate the city’s jurisdiction over the fringe area.

New Albany had been providing sanitary sewer services to the fringe area since the 1970s. It also provided building code and enforcement services in the designated area. The county argued that the city wasn’t providing multiple municipal services as required by statute.

“We can say, though, that the legislature has set a minimum standard for the exercise of extraterritorial jurisdiction by requiring a city to provide 'municipal services,' plural. But it has not set a specific standard by requiring the provision of all or of certain municipal services. The County asks this court to set a standard beyond that clearly set in the statute itself, and that is a job reserved to the legislature,” Judge Margret Robb wrote.

“The City has been providing sanitary sewer services in the fringe area for decades. That is clearly the largest and most substantial of the services provided to the fringe area by the City, but the evidence in the record and considered by the trial court shows that the City is also providing building code inspection and enforcement services.

“The County asserts that by adding the requirement that a city provide municipal services, the legislature’s intent was to ensure that a municipality has a stake in the fringe area over which it purports to exercise jurisdiction. The provision of sanitary sewer services in this case accomplishes that intent because it is, as the trial court noted, not insignificant due to the capital investment the City has made in offering those services outside its municipal boundaries. We conclude the City meets the requirements of section 36-7-4-205(f) for exercising jurisdiction over the fringe area.”
 

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