Indiana Senate approves special process for Valparaiso to annex Aberdeen |

Nelita Collins

The door almost is open for the Aberdeen neighborhood southwest of Valparaiso to seek to officially become part of Porter County’s central city.

The Indiana Senate voted 46-1 Monday for legislation creating a process to allow Aberdeen to initiate a voluntary annexation by Valparaiso, or for any similarly situated noncontiguous subdivision located near a third-class city to do the same.

House Bill 1110 previously passed the House, 86-6.

It next must be re-approved by the House to advance to the governor’s desk to be signed into law after the Senate added a provision permitting Valparaiso, if it ultimately annexes Aberdeen, to simultaneously annex highway and utility right-of-way along State Road 2 to technically create a continuous direct link between the city and the subdivision.

According to the measure, the Aberdeen homeowners association can initiate an annexation by Valparaiso only after a financial study, so Aberdeen residents know the fiscal impact of becoming part of Valparaiso, as well as an opportunity for a majority of Aberdeen residents to overrule their homeowners association and halt the annexation.

Representatives of the Aberdeen Property Owners Association said they’re reaching out to Valparaiso because Aberdeen residents are facing high costs to repair or replace aging infrastructure, particularly the streets running through the community that Porter County has no interest in taking over.

State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, the House sponsor, also noted Aberdeen already practically is part of Valparaiso, since the subdivision is served by Valparaiso’s water utility and fire services, and the children living in Aberdeen’s 680 residences are assigned to Valparaiso Community Schools.

“For all intents and purposes, the folks of Aberdeen are Valparaiso people,” Soliday said.

Aberdeen and Valparaiso officials both have observed any annexation is a ways off. But they’ve said that without the law change, there’s no point even beginning those conversations because noncontiguous annexation is not currently permitted by Indiana statutes.

“We’re comfortable taking the next step to do a deep dive into this,” said Republican Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy. “Find out if this makes sense for the city.”

The legislation was sponsored in the Senate by state Sens. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso; Rodney Pol, D-Chesterton; and Michael Griffin, D-Highland, among others.

https://www.news-journal.com/indiana-senate-approves-special-process-for-valparaiso-to-annex-aberdeen/article_102224b3-4a1a-5fde-89ec-6a6d6ead6237.html

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