Whitestown wins annexation lawsuit for part of Perry Township

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A ruling from the Indiana Court of Appeals will allow part of unincorporated Perry Township to be absorbed into Whitestown after the Indiana Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

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 at the end of July. The landowners requested a rehearing with the court of appeals, which was denied in October, and then petitioned to transfer the case to the Indiana Supreme Court.

The state’s high court denied the request Thursday, allowing the court of appeals’ ruling to stand.

“Obviously, we’re happy with the decision,” Whitestown Town Manager Dax Norton said. “It’s very important for the continued balance and growth of the town.”

The town’s $25 million wastewater treatment plant opened in September.

The case is tangentially related to Whitestown’s battle with Zionsville for a much broader swath of Perry Township. A decision from the Indiana Supreme Court in January allowed Zionsville to reorganize with Perry Township and keep the position of mayor.

Whitestown had been fighting the merger, arguing it would essentially landlock the town.

The ruling allowed Zionsville to add 15 square miles of Perry Township to its borders, for a total of 71 square miles. The 622 acres is within in that area, but Zionsville officials have said it would be part of Whitestown, if the courts ruled in the town’s favor.

Most of the land is zoned agriculture and privately owned, Norton said.

“We’re excited to have additional agricultural land in the town,” Norton said. “It’s not our intention to move forward with anything other than the ag-zoning that’s there now.”

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