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Bargersville wins annexation dispute with Greenwood

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The Town of Bargersville won a legal dispute Monday validating its annexation of 739 parcels within three miles of Greenwood's city limits and making it the exclusive sewer-service provider in the area.

Montgomery County Court Judge Thomas K. Milligan ruled in favor of Bargersville, ending a battle between the local governments. For years, Bargersville and Greenwood competed to provide sewer service to new suburban developments along State Road 135, south of Greenwood and north of Bargersville. Then, in November 2007, Bargersville began trying to annex more than 3,000 acres in the area.

Greenwood opposed the small town's annexation of property so close to its city limits and filed suit after the annexationwhich was eventually whittled down to 1,847 acres, or 739 parcelswas completed in October 2008.

Until a change in state law in 2005, Greenwood's objection would have been enough to halt Bargersville's expansion, but the law now allows a town to proceed with annexation within three miles of a city, as long as it has consent from 51 percent of landowners.

Bargersville's method of obtaining consent became the basis of Greenwood's lawsuit. The town did not go out and ask homeowners to sign agreements drawn up solely for the annexation. Instead, it included a waiver for future annexation in its sewer-service agreements, many of which were signed by a developer. In many cases, the documented consent would be found in a homeowner's chain of title.

Milligan ruled that Bargersville's method was valid. In addition, the judge said the town was clearly first to try to annex the territory, invalidating Greenwood's own annexation attempt, started in November 2008. Finally, Milligan ruled that Bargersville has the exclusive right to provide sewer service in the disputed territory.

Bargersville's Town Council issued a statement saying, "This ruling means that it is time for our community to begin the healing process. There is no question the lawsuit has been divisive. It is time for the healing to begin."

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