The Herald Bulletin

January 16, 2014

Lapel, Ingalls could butt heads over land

By Zach Osowski
The Herald Bulletin

LAPEL, Ind. — The Lapel Town Council says it is going forward with a plan to annex approximately 11 square miles of land south of the town.

The proposed land would stretch all the way down to Interstate 69 and exit 214, which is land Ingalls is also planning on annexing.

“There’s going to be some land that is in dispute,” Council President Gary Shuck said at Thursday night’s council meeting. “We haven’t changed the boundaries.”

Ingalls plans on holding a public hearing on the annexation, which is only 700 acres, on Feb. 24. Lapel is a little further behind the game as far as moving forward. The town still hasn’t received a feasibility study from attorney Pat Callahan.

Councilman Tim Munro said he met with Callahan and their numbers did not match up. Munro said the numbers he received from the state auditor’s office showed 310 properties in the proposed land. Callahan’s numbers only had 107 properties. According to Munro’s numbers, the proposed value of all the land is $21.3 million.

Munro said there is still some work to be done before the town is ready to move forward.

“We’re getting there,” Munro said. “But it is going to take some time.”

There is also the question of what to do about the possible land dispute between Lapel and Ingalls. Both towns want the land because of the prime location next to the highway.

Councilman Clay Parkinson said Lapel has a distinct advantage though — the property owners want to be in Lapel. The town has received petitions from more than 50 percent of the homeowners in the proposed land asking to be incorporated into the town. The leaders of this homeowner group have said they would much rather be a part of Lapel than Ingalls or Anderson.

Parkinson said, if Lapel decides to move ahead with annexation, they will have the advantage over Ingalls because it will be voluntary annexation.

“The timetable on voluntary annexation is much shorter than the timetable for forced annexation,” Parkinson said.

Lapel council members hope to have more of an idea on what they are doing at the next meeting, which is scheduled for Feb. 6.

Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.