Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Indiana
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In this municipal-annexation case, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court against the Town of Brownsburg, holding that a trial court hearing a remonstrance proceeding on judicial review must consider the evidence submitted by both the municipality and the remonstrators.In 2013, the Town adopted an ordinance to annex 4,462 acres of property adjacent to the Town. A group of affected landowners acting through a political action committee remonstrated, seeking a declaration that the Town did not meet the statutory annexation requirements. The trial court entered judgment for the Remonstrators and against the Town, determining that the Town had not met all statutory requirements for annexing the proposed territory. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) on appellate review, the reviewing court asks not whether the record supports the municipality's decision to enact the annexation ordinance but whether it supports the trial court's decision to uphold or reject the annexation; (2) a trial court assessing the legality of a disputed annexation must equally weigh and balance the evidence submitted by both sides; and (3) the trial court did not satisfy its threshold burden to prove it met the requirements of either Ind. Code 36-4-3-13(b) or (c). View "Town of Brownsburg, Indiana v. Fight Against Brownsburg Annexation" on Justia Law

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In 2014, the Town of Fortville adopted an ordinance and resolution annexing 644 acres (the “Annexation Territory”) of land adjacent to the municipality. A number of landowners (“Remonstrators”) comprising ninety-three percent of the owners of parcels within the affected area filed a petition challenging the proposed annexation. The trial court entered judgment in favor of the Remonstrators and ordered that the annexation shall not take place, concluding that the Annexation Territory was not needed and could not be used by the municipality for its development in the reasonably near future. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court fulfilled its obligation to consider only whether the statutory conditions for annexation had been satisfied; and (2) the trial court did not clearly err in upholding the remonstrance and denying annexation because Fortville failed to demonstrate that the Annexation Territory was needed and could be used for Fortville’s development in the reasonably near future. View "Town of Fortville v. Certain Fortville Annexation Territory Landowners" on Justia Law

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In 2010, acting under the Government Modernization Act (GMA), the Town of Zionsville reorganized with the unincorporated areas of Eagle Township and all of Union Township. In 2013, the Town of Whitestown adopted an ordinance to annex certain territory in Perry Township. In 2014, the Perry Township adopted an ordinance proposing to reorganize with Zionsville. The Zionsville-Perry Reorganization plan was adopted by Zionsville and Perry Township in 2014. The Town of Whitestown sought judicial declarations that the Zionsville-Perry Reorganization plan was contrary to law. Zionsville counterclaimed, seeking a judicial declaration prohibiting Whitestown from pursuing its attempts to annex territory in Perry Township and Zionsville. The district court rejected the 2014 Zionsville-Perry Reorganization and approved Whitestown’s attempts to annex the territory in Perry and Zionsville, concluding that the 2014 Zionsville-Perry Reorganization was contrary to the GMA and therefore invalid. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the 2014 Zionsville-Perry Reorganization was not prohibited and that Whitestown may not adopt annexation ordinances annexing territory in municipalities that are the result of completed reorganizations under the GMA. Remanded. View "Town of Zionsville v. Town of Whitestown" on Justia Law