The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling that prohibited the town of Brownsburg from annexing nearly 4,500 acres of land, halting a proposal to use the land for infrastructure, residential and school development.
Brownsburg had hoped to overturn a November 2016 ruling in favor of a group of residents known as Fight Against Brownsburg Annexation. The residents organized to fight the July 2013 annexation of property the town said it needed to extend Ronald Reagan Parkway and for school and residential development, among other planned improvements.
Opponents of the annexation said it was an attempt on Brownsburg's part to increase property tax revenue.
Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Elaine Brown wrote Thursday that a review of expert testimony, Indiana Supreme Court precedent and Brownsburg's subdivision control ordinance did not support overturning a previous ruling by Judge Heather Welch.
Welch had found that while key parts of Indiana’s annexation statute are vague, the municipality did not show that the land it wanted to annex had an urban character, nor that it was needed for future development.
Further, former Town Council member David Richardson testified he believed the town was “biting off more than it could chew” considering the size of the annexed area, while the school superintendent testified that Brownsburg Schools had no plans for development in the area.