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HomePlace, Indiana

    Send contributions to:  CCHP, P. O. Box 11, Carmel, IN 46082-0011



Dear Home Place Property Owners & Residents,

As a Property owner what are your main concerns: taxes, property values, keeping your current
renter? Concerned Citizens for Home Place (CCHP) is an advocate that is on your side.  For the
past 14 years, CCHP has been helping to keep your taxes low and your property values in check.
By fighting Carmel’s attempted forced annexation of Home Place, CCHP has protected your
property from Carmel’s higher tax rate and the threat of seizure via eminent domain.

An example of protecting your property values is the case of Lauth Property Group’s desire to
purchase homes in College Hills and College Meadows in 2008. If the annexation had not been
fought off by CCHP, rather than dealing with Lauth Property Group (a private developer), the
property owners most likely would have had to fight the City of Carmel and the Carmel
Redevelopment Commission with its weapons of land seizure by eminent domain and
condemnation. Instead, Lauth Property Group had to negotiate with each homeowner individually
and make good faith offers to the owners.

Effective January 1, 2017 property owners in the Home Place annexation area avoided
Carmel’s high property taxes for another year. By continuing to fight annexation, CCHP is keeping
your taxes low.

In May of 2016, a Boone County Circuit court ruled in favor of CCHP on 4 out of 5 criteria.  
Unfortunately, we had to win all 5 in order to stop the annexation attempt.

In July, 2016, CCHP held a meeting at the Orchard Park Presbyterian Church where the
homeowners overwhelmingly voted to Appeal the lower court’s decision. The case is currently in
the Appellate Court, with no deadline for a decision. The Attorneys are in the process of submitting
briefs to the Appellate court, and there could be a decision as early as the summer of 2017.

The Home Place annexation case is the oldest case of its type in the state of Indiana.

A number of residents have expressed concern that in the event that Carmel does annex
Home Place, “What is the risk to my property?” This is a very valid concern for many reasons.

First and foremost, these are our homes. Many of us have lived here for decades, exercising
conservatism in how we spend our housing dollars. That can be a result requirement (all that can
be afforded) or by choice (McMansions just aren’t our thing).

In the event any government entity wants to “take” your home via eminent domain, there is a
statutory process to protect you. See Article 24  
hese statutes explain Indiana’s condemnation laws and we recommend you hire your own
attorney should annexation result in Carmel using eminent domain against Home Place properties.
History has proven, when dealing with Carmel, those who are the most prepared and protected will
experience the most beneficial outcome.

Additionally, this only applies to eminent domain proceedings. Private developers strike
their deal directly with property owners (like the Lauth deals previously mentioned).

Regardless, let’s keep our homes and our community pride! Affordable housing in Carmel Clay
Township is an endangered species. Think about how far your home sale proceeds would go to
purchase a replacement dwelling in our area (Research! is a good tool).

CCHP has kept the expenses low in fighting the annexation. Volunteers research information and
get the proper documents that our attorney requests. There are no paid positions in the CCHP
organization. All volunteers pay their own expenses in regards to the work done on behalf of
CCHP, as well as making their own cash donations. CCHP is a not-for-profit organization and files
a tax return each year.

CCHP needs your contribution to continue the appeal fighting off the annexation by Carmel.  
Please send a donation to CCHP at the address listed at the top of this page, so we can continue
helping the property owners in the Home Place area. We appreciate your support and can
provide a receipt for your donation.

We can also arrange to pick up a donation if you do not want to mail it. Please contact CCHP
at if you have a donation that needs to be picked up in person.

1/4/2017:  UPDATE:
1.       Home Place has NOT been annexed.
2.       Our case is moving to the Indiana Appeals Court (probably sometime this summer).
3.       For those who are keeping count, it has been 14 YEARS that we have kept Carmel from
taking over.  This has been possible because the community has pulled together, donating time and
4.      We do not have taxpayer money to fight this attempt by Carmel.  The donations (sometimes
as little as $5 to $10) have kept this effort alive.  This has been and continues to be a real
grassroots effort, GO HOME PLACE!
5.       Check back here for updates.  If there is any news, it will be posted here.   
6/17/2016:  Per Steve Buschman (attorney for CCHP), Carmel filed its appearance in the appeal.
6/15/2016:  Concerned Citizens for Home Place (CCHP), the community leadership organization
that was tasked with contesting Carmel’s attempted forced annexation of HomePlace, was very
pleased with the turnout for its Annexation Update meeting on Saturday, June 11th.  Demonstrated
by attendance, audience questions, ballots, and record breaking contributions the consensus was
clearly reached to proceed to the court of appeals and argue against the recent decision in favor of

Steve Buschmann, the CCHP attorney, along with Matt Milam and Josh Scism presented the
history and an update on the current status of Carmel’s HomePlace Annexation attempt.  Mr.
Buschmann shared the following facts:

  • That this case has been ongoing since Carmel's first unwelcomed overture in 2004.
  • That makes this the longest standing such case in Indiana.
  • That new evidence cannot be introduced at any time during this process.
  • That this case is actually a "time machine" taking us back to 2004-2005 law.
  • That the judge found in favor of Carmel in only 1 out of the 5 “measures” which are used to
    determine the merits of Carmel's efforts to forcibly incorporate the southern area of
    Hamilton County often referred to as "HomePlace”.
  • That even though the judge found in favor of HomePlace in 4 out of the 5 “measures”, ALL
    5 must be found in favor of HomePlace to stop the annexation attempt.
  • That the next step is to appeal the judge’s decision on the 5th “measure”:  Fire Protection.
  • That if we are successful in reversing the judge’s decision on the 5th “measure”, Carmel
    will most certainly appeal on the other 4 “measures."

Fortunately the Indiana legislature has since modified Indiana Code as it applies to forced
annexation, allowing for a far more reasonable balance and determination when Indiana cities
attempt to "land grab" against the will of the majority impacted.  We, however, have to fight in
court using the law as it was back in 2004-2005, where the evaluation was based on who was
providing services and utilities, financial impact on residents and two other fixed measures.

The gathering on June 11th was an effort by CCHP to assemble the community once again to
determine if the community wishes to continue to fight the advance of Carmel. Overwhelmingly,
the answer was "yes" in commitment and financial contribution to continue funding the legal
efforts to hold off Carmel.  Many questions were posed to CCHP leadership and their lawyer about
what controls Carmel would have if they successfully completed the annexation.  Topics included:

  • A tax increase should Carmel overtake the district, which historically has been as high as
    42% for some previously annexed areas,
  • Carmel’s repeated failures to provide the services they contractually promised to other
    annexed areas, including their most recent annexation of South West Clay,
  • Annexing HomePlace would "theoretically" cost Carmel millions of dollars because our tax
    base will not fund the cost of the improvements Carmel is "promising" in the annexation,
  • Carmel isn’t concerned about meeting contractual promises to HomePlace because of their
    planned gentrification of HomePlace into a business-condominium development, using
    eminent domain powers, which they only acquire through annexation,
  • Annexation will not automatically give residents a “Carmel” mailing address, because that is
    controlled by the U.S. Postal Service… NOT Carmel
  • The preservation of HomePlace heritage, whose founding pre-dates Carmel's.

Based on the clear and firm expression of the meeting attendees, CCHP will continue to fight for
justice in this case and for the protection of the residents of HomePlace.  While the contributions
by those attending were indeed a record setter, we still need to continue receiving contributions to
fully fund the appeal process.  

If you are still undecided, know that during Carmel’s first annexation meeting with the residents of
HomePlace back in 2004, Mayor James Brainard publicly stated that he considers HomePlace a
“blight” on Carmel.  Make no mistake, Carmel’s ultimate plan for HomePlace includes removing the
existing residents and redeveloping the area to increase tax revenues.

Independent sources tell the public three things:

  1. Carmel is teetering on the brink of insolvency (December 2015, they could not make city
    payroll) and had to borrow from a bond payment fund (was that close to a municipal bond
    obligator violation?)
  2. Carmel has many public-private development partnerships with companies (such as
    PEDCOR) that incorporate elements of eminent domain to tear out old so they can put in
    Carmel New
  3. Carmel's indebtedness has skyrocketed over the past five or more years, now putting that
    debt at over $1 BILLION dollars in bonds secured by Carmel tax payers/property owners

The more times change, the worse Carmel appears to be financially.  CCHP maintains its pride and
commitment to protect ourselves and our neighbors.  If Carmel runs us out, we have no place to
go in southern Hamilton County or Carmel Clay Township school district.  Nowhere in Carmel is
there affordable housing comparable to HomePlace.

Protect those interests, if they mean something to you or those you love.  Contribute now and let's
keep taking on this forced aggressor toe-to-toe!  

Send contributions to:  CCHP, P. O. Box 11, Carmel, IN 46082-0011
6/14/2016:  FYI, CCHP's attorney has filed a Notice of Appeal.  CCHP will keep you updated as
the case moves through the court system.
6/11/2016:  Today, Steve Buschmann, attorney for Concerned Citizens for HomePlace, gave a
presentation updating those in attendance on the status of Carmel's attempted forced annexation of
HomePlace. Based on this information, those present voted overwhelmingly (92%) to continue the
fight.  Return to this site for additional information in the coming days.If you would like to
contribute to the cause, please mail your check, payable to: CCHP, P.O. Box 11, Carmel, Indiana
46082-0011.If you have any questions, please contact:
6/1/2016:  Click here for information about the important meeting on 6/11/2016.
The Concerned Citizens for Home Place are unified area homeowners who believe that the City of
Carmel presents no material benefit by consuming our district and the impact of annexation on
our properties and lives is not in our best interests.