By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The Anderson City Council on Thursday night rejected Mayor Kevin Smith’s Anderson Fast Forward Annexation proposals.
The vote on the proposed northeast annexation was 7-2; the vote on the proposed southwest annexation was 6-3.
“The door has been closed on Anderson’s future by this vote of the City Council,” said a disappointed Smith. “The council made a well-informed decision and decided to turn away from future jobs and further growth.”
The goal of Anderson Fast Forward, which Smith unveiled early last month, was to stabilize Anderson’s population and property tax base and create an economic development corridor by capturing unincorporated frontage along I-69 to the Madison/Hamilton County line.
The proposed northeast annexation would have absorbed about four square miles in Union and Richland townships, add 2,900 to Anderson’s population, 1,163 homes, five businesses and 25 miles of roads to the city.
The southwest annexation would have extended Anderson’s city limits over to the Hamilton County line, positioning it to take advantage of commercial, industrial and residential growth moving north from Indianapolis, Fishers and Noblesville.
Opposition to both proposals developed swiftly and was vocal. Faced with an angry crowd of opponents last month when it first considered the plans, the City Council tabled a vote to introduce the resolutions and fiscal plans that would have formally started the annexation process.
Members said they wanted to gather more information about the plans and have an opportunity to ask questions and gauge public opinion.
City Council President David Eicks, D-At Large, said before voting on the southwest component of the plan that communities should revel in each other’s successes, adding that he had proposed an alternative to the administration’s plan: a much smaller strip annexation that would have allowed the city to capture more Interstate 69 frontage.
Anthony “Ty” Bibbs, D-At-Large, and Russ Willis, R-District 1, voted for the northeast annexaton.
Bibbs, Willis and Rodney Chamberlain, D-At Large, voted for the southwest annexation.
An emotional Chamberlain said he might pay a political price for his vote in support of the southwest annexation, but felt compelled to support it.
“Life is about opportunity,” he said, and the city needed to seize this one.
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