The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a decision to allow Carmel’s annexation of Home Place.
Matt Milam, leader of the group Concerned Citizens for Home Place, said neighbors will meet soon to decide whether to appeal this case to the Indiana Supreme Court.
“It is what it is,” he said. “We’ve been at this for 15 years, and I somewhat suspect there’s a bias to rule in favor of cities and towns. This is truly a David versus Goliath fight as you know.”
For more than a decade, the City of Carmel has attempted to annex the tiny Clay Township area, which is surrounded by Carmel proper. There are about 2,200 homes in the area, and many are lower-cost homes, in the $100,000 to $300,000 range, as opposed to other parts of Carmel.
Home Place is only 1,017 square acres, and it’s centered at 106th Street and College Avenue.
Milam said most people living in Home Place don’t want to be annexed because they disagree with the City of Carmel’s spending decisions and don’t want to pay higher taxes as a result. In past interviews, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said it makes sense to annex Home Place because it’s a burden on police, fire and others to not have this area in the city limits. In addition, he said there could be reinvestment in the area once annexation is complete.
Brainard declined to comment after the news from the Court of Appeals because this litigation is still “pending” until the judgment is final.
Part of Carmel’s legal argument is that the City pays for fire protection for Home Place and as a result can forcibly annex the area. Home Place residents disagreed with that assessment but the court has taken Carmel’s side.
“The township did not take an active role in the administration of the fire-protection services,” the Court of Appeals decision reads. “Other than the five vehicles that it owned that were part of the fire department’s fleet, and the money it paid for the fire-protection services, the township did not contribute any other resources to the fire departments such as personnel, training, or additional equipment. Therefore, we find that … Carmel was the ‘provider’ that ‘furnished’ fire-protection services to Home Place. The trial court did not err in using a straight-forward factual analysis in making its determination and it correctly found that the landowners failed to prove that fire protection was being adequately furnished by a provider other than Carmel.”