BROWNSBURG, Ind. - A annexation process that has spanned five years continues to go in favor of those against the plan. A judge ruled in the Court of Appeals of Indiana decided the Town of Brownsburg did not meet the requirements, identified by Indiana code, to go through with the annexation.
The decision comes roughly a year and a half after a judge ordered the town to stop annexation. In November of 2016, a court determined that the annexation territory is not subdivided, nor is it needed.
Brownsburg appealed that decision, and found Wednesday that a higher state court agreed with the November 2016 ruling.
“We were happy with decision," said Sabrina Graham, a leader behind the Brownsburg North Group Against Annexation. "We knew they were going to rule in our favor.”
Brownsburg's plan, first attempted in 2013, was to annex 4,500 acres on the northern side of town limits. It would include nearly 1,200 properties and 3,000 people in rural Brownsburg.
Graham's group formed to fight back, feeling the annexation wasn't right.
“This was just too large of an annexation," said Graham. "They shouldn’t have attempted to have gone with such a large area."
For nearly five years, Graham, who was a nurse, has learned all about the legal and court systems. The group she sees over is a political action committee, with all donations earmarked for halting the annexation.
“It really took up a lot of time early on, actually for several years," said Graham.
She's spent that time gathering hundreds of signatures from property owners who also wanted to remain outside Brownsburg's boundaries. She added she has made many friends because of it.
Brownsburg cannot attempt to involuntarily annex any part of this territory for four years, unless the town appeals the decision, which the Indiana Supreme Court could decide to not take the case. The town would have to win that decision. If the town decides to withdraw the annexation process now, it couldn't try again until April of 2022.
A town manager said there would be no comment until town council members meet later in the month.
Graham has gotten more confidence as the process has dragged out. "I’m confident we’ll continue to win," she said.
In the meantime, Graham and others with the group are fronting efforts at the statehouse to change state law. She said Indiana is the only state to not allow the people getting annexed to have the final say. She wants that changed before Brownsburg's four-year waiting period ends, whenever the four-year clock finally starts.