An Indiana Court of Appeals ruling issued Wednesday will allow Whitestown to annex about 622 acres of unincorporated Perry Township in Boone County.
In 2013, Whitestown passed an ordinance calling for the annexation of 622 acres of land on the southern edge of Perry Township where a wastewater treatment plant was to be built, but several township residents fought the plan arguing it would substantially increase property taxes.
A trial court ruled in favor of the landowners in August 2014, but the court of appeals reversed the decision Wednesday.
The decision is tangentially related to a separate case awaiting Indiana Supreme Court review involving a much broader swath of Perry Township. Whitestown has challenged Zionsville’s attempt to reorganize with Perry Township, which would allow Zionsville to add the position of mayor without transitioning into a city.
Whitestown filed the lawsuit in June 2014 to prevent the reorganization and protect its western border, arguing that Zionsville and the township couldn’t merge because they were not adjacent to one another.
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Zionsville in June. The merger with Perry Township added 15 square miles to Zionsville, for a total of 71 square miles. Whitestown is appealing that decision to the Indiana Supreme Court.
The appellate court also denied a petition from Whitestown earlier this month that would have prevented Zionsville from moving forward with the merger until the state supreme court decides whether it will hear the case.
Jeff Papa, former Zionsville Town Council member, is serving as the town’s first mayor, and former Perry Township Trustee Sam Baldwin has been appointed to the council.
The Zionsville reorganization with Perry Township includes the 622 acres that Whitestown wished to annex. Papa said the land would become part of Whitestown, if Wednesday's ruling holds. The Perry Township landowners have 30 days to petition to have the state supreme court consider the case.
Papa said he told Whitestown officials before the reorganization battle started that the 622 acres from Whitestown’s 2013 annexation plan would not affect Zionsville’s plans to merge with the remainder of Perry Township.
“It shouldn’t have anything to do with the Whitestown-Zionsville lawsuit that I know of,” Papa said. “We had said all along we’re not going to interfere with that lawsuit.”