Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The shaded property highlights the Toledo Road-C.R. 17 annexation area that city council discussed Monday night, March 31. (Dan Spalding)
Elkhart City Council hears concerns over Toledo Road annexation plan
Posted on April 1, 2014 at 9:16 a.m.

ELKHART — Questions about police protection for one of 16 proposed annexation areas came up during a special council meeting Monday, March 31.

The council had questions for city engineer Mike Machlan and city attorney Vlado Vranjes before unanimously approving a fiscal plan for the area commonly referred to as Toledo Road and C.R. 17.

The tract of land includes Arbor Lakes Apartments.

Two council members, Republicans Brian Dickerson and David Henke, said they had received calls from officers expressing concerns about the added geography.

Asked about the ability to provide police protection, Machlan said officials told him they believe they can do so without increased staffing.

Officials within the police department said they don’t receive that many calls from the apartment complex.

Republican councilman Brian Thomas said he thought representatives of fire and police should attend the annexation meetings.

Neither chief from either department attended the meeting.

Henke also brought up the selective nature of how the administration chooses what to annex and not to annex, including Valley View and a church, Grace Bible church.

Grace Bible is located south of the city airport, but is in one of several unincorporated areas surrounded by the city.

Valley View is south of Mishawaka Road and has been receiving city sewer for more than two decades. The church also receives city sewer service.

Mayor Dick Moore, who did not attend the meeting, has said repeatedly that the city is focusing on annexing commercial areas and that annexing residential areas does not provide a financial benefit to the city.

Other council members have expressed support for annexing Valley View in the past.

“It might not be the financially prudent thing to do, but it’s still the right thing to do in my opinion,” Henke said.

Nobody responded immediately to Henke’s comments, which he and others have aired repeatedly in past meetings.

However, councilman Dave Osborne, a Democrat, pointed out after Monday's meeting that Valley View residents could petition the city to be annexed if they chose. He doesn’t think many would want to, given the animosity and long-standing feud residents of the subdivision have had with the city over sewer policies.

As for the Toledo road proposal, a public hearing will be conducted on June 16, according to information provided by the city.

The area is now being referred to as 4A and its scheduled legal process now coincides with four areas that make up phase 3.

If approved, the first three annexation phases would become part of the city Jan. 1, 2015.