Given the pending growth pressures Lebanon will experience as Boone County continues to grow, the City needs to explore options for how to manage development around, and adjacent to, the City thereby avoiding or reducing unfavorable outcomes. In Indiana, Lebanon has the following two options to better plan for development outside the City, but within a certain distance from the City: Township Joinder or Extraterritorial Jurisdiction.
According to Indiana Code 36-7-4-1200, in a county where an Area Plan Commission exists, no County planning and zoning exists, or if a City already exercises planning and zoning jurisdiction in a portion of a township, a Township can join with a City so that the City manages the land use and zoning for the area encompassing both the City and the unincorporated County portion of the Township.
Lebanon is primarily located in Center Township, with a small portion of the City extending into Perry Township. Because Boone County is an Area Commission, Center Township could consider joining Lebanon’s Planning and Zoning official area. For this to occur, fifty property owners residing in the Township can petition the Township Trustee to join with Lebanon’s Advisory Plan Commission. The Township Trustee and Township Legislative Board must hold a public meeting and hear the petition within 30 days. However, if a majority of the freeholders residing within the township, but outside of the municipality, sign a remonstrance and file it with the Township Trustee prior to or on the date of the hearing, no action can be taken on the Township Joinder. The Township Joinder request cannot be refiled for one year.
However, if there is no remonstration, then the Township can move forward with the hearing by notifying the Lebanon Advisory Plan Commission. Then both the Lebanon Plan Commission and the Common Council can consider the petition and make decisions accordingly.
If approved, the City would gain the advantage of being able to directly manage development outside its corporate boundary by approving, denying, or adding conditions to new development. This would directly impact how the City spends money to mitigate impacts from this development on City resources (sewer, water, roads, parks, etc.). The Township and the City must decide what is the appropriate action together.
Because Boone County has an Area Plan Commission, the City could consider petitioning the County Commissioners to establish an area outside the City, but less than the entire Township, in which Lebanon can manage planning and zoning. The City could ask to manage planning and zoning within a two-mile boundary from the City’s existing municipal boundary. This process is allowed under IC 36-1-7 et seq. which is the guiding law on agreements. Per Indiana Code, agreements should include guidance on the following:
- Manner of financing, staffing and establishing and maintaining budget
- Disposal of real and personal property
An agreement would be established through a joint planning agreement or interjurisdictional agreement. Joint planning agreements are a form of intergovernmental cooperation that help local governments address cross-jurisdictional impacts on infrastructure, land use, capital improvements, and development timing. Although these agreements can occur between any two or more local governments, most joint planning agreements involve at least one municipality and one county.
The basic purpose of a Lebanon-Boone County joint planning agreement is to create a mechanism for planning and reviewing future growth in a specified area around Lebanon. For joint planning agreements between a City and County, the agreement usually relates to specifically designated county land that may be annexed by the city at some time in the future. Looking ahead to such potential annexations, the City’s interest is ensuring that development within these county areas is compatible with existing City standards and development patterns.
Typically, all interjurisdictional agreements have a timeframe for which the agreement is valid. A termination clause should be included so that either party could terminate the agreement. Additionally, the agreement should be reviewed when either party updates their comprehensive plan or not to exceed ten years, if the comprehensive plan is not updated.
Other topics to work through would include:
- Whose standards would prevail
- Timing of review periods
- Forwarding of applications
The next steps for implementation of an interjurisdictional agreement would include representatives of the City and County meeting to work out the details. A draft agreement would be drawn up and presented to both parties for review. Then the County Commissioners and the Common Council would adopt the formal agreement and set an effective time period for the date on which review or control would begin.