Judge rejects plan for Village of Brownsboro

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By Tracy Harris

A heated battle that caused rifts in the Brownsboro community is over — for now.

A special-appointed judge ruled against proposed incorporation of the Village of Brownsboro Sept. 27, just hours after hearing the case in Jefferson circuit court.

In his ruling, Senior Judge Martin McDonald ruled against the petition to incorporate for what he called “four independently sufficient reasons.”

Those reasons closely mirrored an objection filed by residents opposed to the incorporation filed Sept. 24.

The first reason, McDonald wrote, in his opinion, is that a revised petition was not circulated to obtain new signatures.

The original petition to form a sixth-class city was filed May 22, 2012 — but a new petition filed June 8 included an “additional 1,987 acres with different boundaries, new residents and more roads included,” according to McDonald’s opinion.

McDonald found the new petition to be materially different and thus requires signatures be obtain a second time.

In addition, McDonald opined, more than 20 property owners had rescinded their support of the petition. 

State law requires either two-thirds of a proposed city’s population to sign a petition — or residents representing two-thirds of the assessed land value.

The petition was filed based on the land value requirement. 

McDonald’s third reason for ruling against incorporation was that the petition did not include a metes and bounds description of the proposed city.

Lastly, McDonald ruled there had been no showing that incorporation would provide additional public services that could not be otherwise met. Only garbage pickup would be added under the incorporation, McDonald wrote, and he saw no evidence current garbage pickup is insufficient.

“The petition also fails to reasonably show how a city of 433 people can support any meaningful enhancement of the services already provided by the county government and/or state government,” he concluded.

Supporters of incorporation could re-file their petition with the issues corrected, McDonald said. Supporters say they’re not sure yet how they’ll proceed.

Gary Keibler, who property owners recommended be named mayor in the petition, said they will sit down and review the judge’s ruling before making any decisions.

“Of course I was disappointed in the decision,” he said. “And I was disappointed in the misinformation circulated around the neighborhood.”

Keibler said the “last-minute lobbying of high-dollar property owners” forced enough residents to rescind, so the ruling was “a disappointment but not a surprise.”