Thursday, December 08, 2005

Opposition To Geist Annexation Well Established

I am very encouraged by the level of sophistication shown by the organizers of the opposition to Fishers' attempt to forcibly annex Geist.

Despite the Town's numerous calculations- divide & conquer by making four quadrants of the Geist neighborhoods; launch the effort during the Holidays; make the petitioners struggle against the cold; count on sunbirds being in Florida when the notices go out; bank on Hamilton Southeastern Utilities completing their deals with developers that included 'thou shalt not remonstrate' clauses in the Covenants- the residents and business owners are well on their way to a successful opposition. From the Fishers Topics' report:
After the Say No to Fishers group met to organize itself Nov. 29, Moran said, more than 600 residents joined the opposition movement in the first 24 hours.

"We picked up momentum as a result of it (the meeting)," Spear said. "The resistance is more than we thought."

Among the group's key concerns is that Geist residents already receive the services they need without paying additional taxes to Fishers.

Antoinette Alexander, who moved to Geist in June, joined the opposition group after speaking with other opponents. She said she was out of town when the annexation announcement was made.

"We pay enough taxes right now," said Alexander, who, like many other Geist residents, claims she has every service she needs. "We don't need any more taxes."

The Say No group also has consulted with Matt Milam and Jeff Woloshin, organizers of the Concerned Citizens of Home Place, which was successful in stopping a controversial annexation proposed by Carmel. Milam and Woloshin offered advice on how to properly organize, raise funds and get signatures to oppose the annexation.

My letter on the subject appeared in the same issue of the Topics. Link to letter.

The "Say No To Fishers" website is up and running. Geist residents and business owners, along with those who oppose forced annexation on principle and support these folks, can get regularly updated info on the site, and sign up to volunteer.

The next step will be to ratchet up the political pressure. While Fishers Town Council President Scott Faultless seems to be the early lightning rod, my hunches are that several others will shortly be feeling the pressure they richly deserve. Stay tuned!


GadFlier said...

If the non-remonstration clauses existed in the covenants before purchase, than the current owners are, and deserve to be, SoL. If such a situation exists, they AGREED to annexation, a priori. That they were too lazy or stupid to actually read the covenant before purchasing is their own look-out.

Mike Kole said...

Gadflier- Would it change your mind if you knew that many of the Geist area residents purchased their homes *prior* to the installation of sanitary sewer facilities; that the installation was mandated; and that the covenents were tied to those facilities?

True, many of the newer subdivisions have that clause built in to the covenants. Far be it for me to forgive the buyer's responsibility, but what of the government that knowingly insists on the insertion of such clauses in backroom negotiations with developers, counting on the fact that 99% of buyers don't read every letter in the covenants?

Are you saying this government should therefore be given a pass? I disagree.

GadFlier said...

Note the first sentence of my comment. "If the non-remonstration clauses existed in the covenants before purchase"--that's an entirely different matter from government-imposition of those clauses by means of mandatory sewage hookups.

However, that a large number of people do a stupid thing (voluntarily refuse to check the paperwork for restrictive covenants) makes it no less a stupid thing. If they are held to the consequences, thereof, perhaps people will learn to be more diligent in their purchasing.

Pre-extant covenant ignored by buyer: Buyer's fault. If we truly believe in individual responsibility and consequences for individual acts, then we cannot accept the excuse of "everybody's doin' it" to rescind personal responsibility for negligence.

Covenant imposed post-purchase by government: Government's fault. The covenants are philosophically invalid and should be legally voided.

Mike Kole said...

The covenants do not stand up in a court of law. It's just another time- and money-wasting roadblock knowingly erected by municipal governments, and intended to dissuade people from engaging in dissent.

You will see me lobby the statehouse in effort to ban these kinds of covenant restrictions.