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County prevails in land standoff

Whitestown and Boone County have been instructed by the Indiana Supreme Court to play nice and share the responsibility of granting tax abatements in an area coveted by both.

The decision means developers who want tax abatement must get approval from both entities. It also overturns a state Court of Appeals ruling that gave Whitestown jurisdiction to grant abatements.

The tussle began in July 2006 when Whitestown began proceedings to annex nearly six square miles on the west side of Interstate 65, expanding its borders as far south to the Boone-Hendricks county line.

In October of the same year, however, Boone County commissioners moved to turn the same unincorporated land into a tax-increment financing district, to raise funds for infrastructure improvements to support future development. Property taxes generated by new development within TIF districts are captured and used to fund improvements within the district.

At the time, Whitestown’s annexation plans had not been completed, giving Supreme Court justices reason to side with the county, which lauded the decision.

“We all want the same thing,” Commissioner Charles Eaton said. “We want the appropriate use of the land and the best type of development we can get.”

The suit against the county had been brought by Whitestown, Carmel-based Brenwick Associates LLC and Chicagobased First Industrial Acquisitions Inc. Both Brenwick and First Industrial have projects planned for the area.

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