Whitestown likely to appeal Zionsville case to higher court

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A ruling from the Indiana Court of Appeals allowing Zionsville to merge with Perry Township is likely to be challenged before the state Supreme Court.

Whitestown Town Council President Eric Miller issued a written statement Wednesday explaining that the town has the option to request that the Indiana Supreme Court consider the case, and the town council could vote to do so.

The court of appeals’ opinion issued Tuesday allows Zionsville and Perry Township to reorganize together and add the position of mayor without transitioning to city government.

Whitestown, which filed a lawsuit in June 2014 to prevent the reorganization and protect its western border, argued that the two entities couldn’t merge because they were not adjacent to one another.

Zionsville officials argued that a 2010 reorganization with Eagle Township allowed the town to assume township powers and borders, making it adjacent to Perry Township.

A Boone County judge ruled in favor of Whitestown in October, but a three-judge panel for the court of appeals that heard the case in March agreed with Zionsville.

A spokesman for the Indiana Court of Appeals said parties have 30 days after a ruling to petition for a transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court or for a rehearing before the court of appeals.

If no petition is filed within the 30-day window, the opinion from the court of appeals is certified, according to the spokesman.

Newly appointed Zionsville Mayor Jeff Papa, formerly a town council member, reiterated Wednesday afternoon that the reorganization took effect immediately following the ruling.

“The only thing holding up the implementation of the will of the voters in Perry Township and Zionsville was the trial court ruling, which was vacated by the Court of Appeals (Tuesday),” Papa wrote in an email. “The plan went into effect immediately, or had already been effective, upon the Court of Appeals decision.”

The Whitestown Town Council expects to meet in executive session Tuesday to determine what action to take.

In his statement, Miller questioned why Zionsville believes reorganization takes immediate effect.

“It is troubling that Zionsville appears to now disregard the Supreme Court's consideration and attempts to carry on as though the remaining process has no meaning,” Miller said in a written statement. "Whitestown was prudent in awaiting review by the Court of Appeals, and similarly believes the parties should see the case through to its conclusion before taking any further action on the reorganization."

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