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February 26, 2013

New Albany, Floyd County awaiting decision on fringe case

NEW ALBANY — A motion for summary judgment has been filed in the case of the New Albany Plan Commission versus the Floyd County Plan Commission, as the sides are awaiting a judge to rule on which entity will have control of what is known as the two-mile fringe area. 

Greg Fifer, an attorney retained by the city for the case, filed the motion Friday in Floyd Circuit Court. The motion cites state statutes and previous legal cases that Fifer said back up New Albany’s claim to retain zoning control of the fringe area. 

The focal points of Fifer’s argument are that New Albany provides sewer service to the fringe area and that Floyd County has a population of less than 95,000. 

Fifer said state law clearly explains that a municipal plan commission may at any time exercise or reject jurisdiction over an area within two miles of the city’s corporate boundary if the county has a population of less than 95,000 and if municipal services are provided to the fringe area. 

In this case, fringe residents and businesses rely on New Albany for wastewater service. 

Additionally, Fifer said the city satisfied the state requirements for zoning control by adopting a comprehensive plan for the fringe area in 1999. 

“Unless there’s a law out there I can’t find, I think both the facts and the law are on the side of the city,” Fifer said Monday. 

The disagreement heightened last year when the Floyd County Commissioners and county plan commission approved assuming control of the two-mile fringe area. 

County officials cited a lack of representation for fringe residents and issues such as drainage among their reasons for wanting to take authority of the area. 

Rick Fox, attorney for the county commissioners, is still listed as the county counsel on the case though he recently took a leave of absence pending the result of a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. 

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