The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

February 9, 2013

Residents of proposed annexation rail against plan

ANDERSON, Ind. — A proposed annexation of surrounding areas made by Mayor Kevin Smith is already meeting resistance.

Smith unveiled plans on Thursday to annex approximately 21 square miles of land adjacent to the city’s existing borders to the northeast and to the southwest.

Smith called the growth initiative “Anderson Fast Forward,” and said it will help stabilize the city’s population and property tax base, which has been in precipitous decline in recent decades.

“I don’t care about Anderson,” said Mary Shupe, a 35-year resident of the rural southwest area proposed for annexation. “I don’t live in Anderson. I live here either in Lapel or Pendleton.”

Shupe lives in a house near Pendleton with a Lapel address. She said she’s concerned taxes and utilities will be raised for her and her neighbors if the annexation is approved.

Smith said on Thursday the proposal would add about 3,800 new residents to the city’s population and secure a corridor for economic development along Interstate 69.

“Anderson is that way,” Shupe said, pointing northeast.

Shupe said if the annexation was approved, she wouldn’t want an Anderson address so she would consider moving. She said she’s worried she wouldn’t get full value for her property if it was annexed.

“I’ve lived here 35 years and I don’t want to move,” Shupe said. “And I don’t think they would give me what my property is worth or what I would want out of it to get a place in Pendleton.”

Smith called the plan an act for the future of the city and broke it into two separate proposals.

The first would encompass about four square miles (about 2,560 acres), northeast of Anderson’s current city limits. The area currently is located in Union and Richland townships and is served by Anderson electric, sewer and water utilities, as well as fire service through mutual aid agreements with the townships. About 2,900 people live in the area, and it would become part of City Council District 1.

The second would encompass nearly 17 square miles (about 10,880 acres) southwest of Anderson city limits in Stony Creek, Green and Fall Creek townships. The area to be annexed would include land west of Park Road, and extend south around the Flagship Enterprise Center, jog west to the Madison/Hamilton County line south of County Road 400 South and drop south to I-69’s Exit 214 at Indiana 13. About 929 people live in that area, and it would become part of City Council District 3.

Deborah Nevin, who lives in the area that would be affected to the northeast, said she’s also against the annexation and plans to speak against it. She said she moved near Chesterfield specifically to disassociate from Anderson.

“It’ll probably raise our taxes,” Nevin said. “They’re reaching out for an increase in funds for the city, and those are probably areas that are better qualified to provide tax income.”

Nevin said she understands the city has lost jobs and has a struggling economy, but it’s not the job of non-residents to correct that.

“We have reasons to move out to those areas to save ourselves money,” Nevin said. “I’m not happy about it at all.”

Brittanie Robey, who lives with her family in a proposed area near Lapel, said she doesn’t know a lot about the proposal yet, but she’s concerned about possible business expansion into rural areas.

According to the State of Indiana government website, annexation can be done by a municipality without public consent as long as due process is followed and the plan meets required conditions. The process is called municipal determination.

“I honestly don’t know a lot about it, but if I had a decision I’d probably say, ‘no,’” Robey said.

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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