Staff report written from a press release from the City of Bloomington
Bloomington, Indiana – October 19, 2023
The ongoing legal dispute between County Residents Against Annexation and the City of Bloomington has taken a step forward. Special Judge Nathan Nikirk, on Wednesday, October 19, lifted a stay that had been in place, allowing the trial on the merits to proceed.
The lawsuit, known as County Residents Against Annexation v. the City of Bloomington, was initiated by remonstrators from Areas 1A and 1B. These individuals have been challenging the annexation of specific west-side neighborhoods in the city.
Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton expressed his satisfaction with the court’s decision, stating, “We are gratified that the Court has allowed this lawsuit to move forward for a full adjudication, and we are eager to present our case.” He further elaborated on the lengthy and intricate legal proceedings that have characterized the city’s annexation efforts, which began nearly seven years ago.
The case has encountered numerous roadblocks and delays, including legal challenges to the constitutionality of a 2019 law that retroactively voided consents to annexation granted by current or prior owners of the affected properties. To expedite the current case and avoid potential further delays, the City chose to dismiss Areas 1A and 1B from separate litigation challenging the constitutionality of the 2019 law.
Furthermore, the City stipulated that it would not contest the constitutionality of the 2019 law during the remonstrance proceeding. With Special Judge Nathan Nikirk’s order lifting the stay, the case is now set to proceed to a full trial on the merits. A conference call is scheduled for October 23 to establish a new trial date.
The legal battle surrounding Bloomington’s annexation efforts has been a protracted and complex process. However, this recent development signifies a significant step toward a resolution.