On January 31st, the City of Lebanon filed a motion to dismiss a suit filed by 11 plaintiffs, pertaining to the voluntary annexation of 5,225 acres. Below are a few excerpts from the City’s motion, as well as the filing, in its entirety.
Taken from City of Lebanon Motion:
- On January 10, 2023, Plaintiffs initiated the present suit by filing a complaint in which they allege to own properties adjacent to the Annexed Area. Plaintiffs further contend that the Ordinances caused diminishment of their property values, ability to have peaceful enjoyment of their residences and property, and “denigrates their health and welfare due to the likelihood for substantial increased traffic, noise and pollution.” Id. For the reasons stated herein, Plaintiffs’ claims are frivolous, lack merit, and are intended solely for the purpose of delaying Phase II of the LEAP Annexation Plan.
- Having failed to successfully challenge annexation through the mechanisms created by Indiana’s Legislature, Plaintiffs now ask this Court to impose new procedural hurdles (without basis in the statute or sound public policy) merely to frustrate and further delay the project. This Court must disregard Plaintiffs’ improper reading of 601(a), which is based solely on their desired outcome, and dismiss this Complaint with prejudice.
- Cities are entitled to a presumption that the ordinances they adopt are valid. See Kotsopoulos, 704 N.E.2d at 1070. To require municipalities to undertake the costly and time-consuming process of amending their comprehensive plans every time they annex contiguous, previously-unincorporated property would create an unintended limitation on their authorities which may only be remedied through the expensive and time-consuming process of amending their comprehensive plan. Plaintiffs fail to cite any authority for this interpretation of Section 601(a) because it runs wholly afoul of the legislature’s intent and public policy.
Here, the City properly annexed and zoned the approximately 5,225 acres as unanimously requested by 100% of the property owners of land contained therein. Because Plaintiffs lacked standing to bring this matter, and failed to prove wrongdoing even if they had standing, the City asks the Court dismiss this action with prejudice and for an order granting them all other relief just and proper.