Legislation approved at the statehouse on Wednesday will be reforming how land is annexed in the Hoosier State.
The Indiana Farm Bureau – which has been involved for the past three legislative sessions in reform efforts – believes municipalities have absorbed thousands of acres of farmland in recent years.
Indiana Farm Bureau Director of State Government Relations Katrina Hall says economic growth is not predicated on “forced annexation.
“Most of these annexations that I talked about where they’re taking in large expanses of land: their fiscal plans and their proposals don’t even anticipate growth for these areas,” says Hall.
According to the Farm Bureau, meaningfully opposing annexation efforts often costs landowners thousands of dollars in legal fees and time consuming petition efforts.
Annexation could also mean compliance with city noise or vegetation ordinances; potentially interfering with the operation of a farm.
The recent legislation, however, could have implications for the Town of Culver – who is considering annexing land to its northwest. The Town says annexation could raise its assessed valuation and provide areas for commercial or residential development.
Still, Hall says the Senate Bill does make allowances for development.
“If there is really a big project where a lot of land is needed, landowners are not generally going to block something that’s for the public good,” says Hall.
The Town of Culver was aware it may be working against the clock on annexation efforts.
Farm Bureau officials say there were concessions that were made in the bill. The organization says they’re not against annexation, but say it should be voluntary.