The Lebanon Planning Commission on Monday recommended city councilors approve the voluntary annexation of nearly 650 acres of land in Boone County for the LEAP Lebanon Innovation and Research District, a planned technology and advanced manufacturing hub of 9,000 acres or more.
Planning commissioners voted unanimously to recommend the annexation of 43 parcels of land totaling 642 acres.
The Lebanon City Council will consider passing an annexation ordinance at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday. A second reading and potential adoption is scheduled for Oct. 10.
Scott Alexander, an attorney for the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the state agency leading the development of the LEAP District, said the IEDC has secured more than 90% of the parcels needed to complete the district. LEAP is short for Limitless Exploration/Advanced Pace.
“You’re not done with me yet, but you’re getting close,” Alexander told the planning commission.
Since July 2022, the city has annexed a total of 7,200 acres for the LEAP District.
A Boone County judge recently tossed a lawsuit filed by a group of landowners against Lebanon over the municipality’s decision to annex 5,200 acres of land and create a new zoning district for the LEAP District. They argued that the city was improperly assigning zoning classifications to property in Jefferson Township despite that area not being included in the city’s comprehensive plan.
Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. will serve as the anchor tenant for the district. The pharmaceutical giant is investing $3.7 billion in a manufacturing site that will result in an estimated 700 new jobs.
The IEDC has said that numerous companies are considering major investments in the tech hub. Indiana is one of two Midwestern states competing for a potential $50 billion semiconductor plant, and the state is also courting a $3.2 billion data center project, according to the IEDC.
Subaru CEO Atsushi Osaki recently told reporters during a meeting in Tokyo that Indiana could become the next location of an electric vehicle production site, though he did not say where in the state it would be located.