Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

March 28, 2013

Plainfield annexes Washington Township land

Property owner fought involuntary annexation by Avon

Wade Coggeshall

— A farming family that fought involuntary annexation into Avon offered no such resistance when Plainfield took them under its jurisdiction this week.

The Plainfield Town Council voted unanimously to annex the Grundy family farm at its March 25 meeting. The property is about 125 acres in the southeast corner of Washington Township near Perry Road. The Grundys reportedly signed a voluntary annexation with Plainfield.

Last fall, Avon’s town council considered annexing the Grundys’ property against their wishes. Washington Township Trustee Don Hodson was in favor of the annexation because he said it would protect the tax base for fire protection in Washington Township. Having property taken by a municipality outside of the township would dilute the tax base, he said.

“The folks who are left would have to pay higher taxes,” Hodson said at an Avon Town Council meeting in December.

The Grundys contended they didn’t want to be annexed by anyone.

“They really have never wanted their farm in any town,” Mel Daniel, legal counsel for the town of Plainfield and an attorney who represented the Grundys, said at a December Avon council meeting. “They’re farmers, they’re independent, and they like being independent. All the Grundys have ever asked for is the right to be left alone.”

Daniel did not respond to a telephone call and e-mail for this story.

In a letter published in the Nov. 10 Hendricks County Flyer, Denny Grundy wrote that Avon attempted to annex his farm about six years earlier, and only stopped after he told officials the farm would remain an agricultural operation.

Among his reasons for not wanting to be included in Avon or any town was that ordinances may be adopted that would have an adverse effect on his farm or raise taxes with no subsequent increase in services provided by the county.

Neither Daniel nor anyone from the Grundy family objected to the farm’s annexation by Plainfield at its council meeting.

Avon Town Manager Tom Klein said they offered to withdraw their annexation attempt if the Grundys withdrew from their agreement with Plainfield.

“They rejected our offer, which would have achieved their goal of being left alone and not be in either town,” Klein said.

Michael Rogers, president of the Avon Town Council, says their comprehensive plan, which was updated in 2005, called for annexing all open farm land into Avon.

“Our position is a lot of this vacant land is going to be developed,” Rogers said. “Even with farm land, we’ve found sooner or later it’s going to be sold. When it’s developed, we want to be in the position where it comes before our plan commission instead of the county’s.”

“It’s not that we’re doing anything new,” he said of the situation with the Grundys. “They were leading people to believe we were singling them out and we weren’t.”

Rogers added that the continued annexation of Washington Township land by Plainfield is a concern. That was the case with what became the AllPoints distribution park there, he said.

“I don’t know what Plainfield has to offer the Grundy family, but it’s put us in the position of not being able to wait and see what Plainfield’s going to do,” Rogers said. “It’s forcing our hand. History has shown us that Plainfield’s going to be aggressive.”