The Indiana Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned the town of Bargersville’s annexation of land that Greenwood officials also wanted to take over, saying it failed to get the required consent from property owners.
Bargersville Town Council member Steve Welch told the Franklin Daily Journal that officials likely will appeal the ruling.
For years, the municipalities competed to provide sewer service to new suburban developments along State Road 135, south of Greenwood and north of Bargersville.
Bargersville annexed 1,847 acres in the area in October 2008, and Greenwood filed suit to oppose the annexation of property so close to its city limits. It also began its own annexation proceedings.
State law allowed the annexation to proceed, as long as the town had consent from 51 percent of landowners.
Bargersville's method of obtaining the required consent was the basis of Greenwood's lawsuit—and the court’s ruling.
Rather than ask all property owners to sign agreements drawn up solely for the annexation, town officials asked some sewer customers to sign service agreements that included language waiving their right to object to annexation. Many of those sewer-service agreements were signed by a developer.
Waiving the right to object to an annexation isn’t the same as consenting to it, wrote Appeals Judge Terry Crone. “Just as abstaining is not the same as voting for a bill, not remonstrating against an annexation is not the same as consenting to an annexation,” he wrote.
Welch told the Daily Journal that the town likely will appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court.