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BR Village Association attempting to annex part of Warfleigh without proper due process

Dear Neighbors,

I learned tonight that the BR Village Association is attempting to annex part of Warfleigh without proper notice. Their association representative Elizabeth Marshall has sent a letter to some houses in the effected area, but not all (including myself and my immediate neighbors).

Ms. Marshall's letter indicates that if you do not respond opposing the annexation, it will be assumed you are in favor of it. Obviously, for those of us who have not received the notice we cannot express our opinion. It seems as if the BR Village Association is not being transparent and attempting to annex part of Warfleigh without proper due process.

The affected area is between Meridian and the river, North of Kessler. If you live in this area and did not receive a copy of the notice, please contact:

Broad Ripple Village Association
6311 Westfield Boulevard, Suite 101
Indianapolis, IN 46220-1789
317-251-2782
brva@mybroadripple.com

Thank you,

Tony Pickell

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Replies to This Discussion

What all does this talk of annexation mean to us in real terms? I don't understand the implications of such action. If anyone can shed some light on this for me, please do!
BR Village Association crime rates are higher than our own. Accordingly, annexation would result in a net increase in crime stats for our area, which effects resale value. Also, we gain nothing in return other than possibly being considered for their home tour and attending their meetings.

Finally, the neighbor who told me about the notice (which I did not receive) called the BRVA because there was not deadline for response noted on the letter. He advised Ms. Marshall that the association was planning a picnic on June 6th, to which she replied they intended to close the response period prior to that date.

I am greatly concerned by the manner in which they have gone about this and do not wish to be associated with BRVA if this is how they operate.
I believe the same Elizabeth Marshall is a member on the site, and I have sent her a link to this discussion.
Thanks Joe. I appreciate your help.
Hello, Tony,

The BRVA is not attempting to "annex" part of Warfleigh. The BRVA has no power to "annex" properties; it is not a government entity. It's a voluntary nonprofit neighborhood association seeking to make the area a better place to live. The BRVA is merely attempting to invite the homeowners on a few streets to the west of the BRVA's current boundaries to join the BRVA's efforts.

The mailing was simply a survey to ascertain how people feel about this idea. Most of Warfleigh is already within the current boundaries of the BRVA. This is an effort to be inclusive of all of Warfleigh. It is the BRVA's belief that a few streets on the south and west edges of Warfleigh were inadvertently left out when the BRVA boundaries were created some years ago.

Support of this change in boundaries will not raise your property taxes. It will not change your postal zip code. It will not change the school district in which your property is located. It will not require you to become a member of the BRVA. It will not in any way conflict with any of the initiatives undertaken by the Warfleigh Neighborhood Association.

Support of this change in boundaries could, however, help make the BRVA a larger and stronger neighborhood association. This might help us all, by giving us a louder voice when going to the City of Indianapolis for much-needed services in our area.

Support of this change in boundaries would make a more logical western boundary of the BRVA, namely, the White River. The White River is already the northern boundary of the BRVA, but it arbitrarily ends at Meridian Street. Continuing the BRVA boundary on Riverview Drive going west of Meridian and south to Kessler Boulevard is a natural path, running alongside the White River.

If you are a property owner on one of the streets involved and did not receive the mailing, it was not intentional. An honest attempt was made to reach out to every known property owner. Letters were sent to approximately 130 homeowners via USPS Mail. The names and addresses were researched by me, using Marion County property tax records. I tried my best to be accurate.

Among the addressees on the list of recipients were Anthony A. Pickell and Alfred M. Mijares [ at an address I will omit, here, to protect your privacy ]. If you did not receive the mailing, I apologize. I have no explanation for why you did not receive the mailing, but I would be happy to provide you with another letter. Also, if you know of anyone else who did not receive the mailing, I would be pleased to provide them with the mailing, as well. The BRVA is earnest in seeking your feedback.

The BRVA was advised by Catherine Moore, the Mayor's Liaison to Washington Township, to proceed in the way that it has. If changing the BRVA's west boundary is not the wish of the affected property owners, the BRVA will not pursue it. If, however, the majority of property owners feel there is value in becoming a part of the Broad Ripple Village Association's area, then the BRVA will look into it.

I urge you not to jump to the wrong conclusions or spread false rumors. This is a sincere effort by the BRVA to do something that could benefit us all. Elizabeth Marshall wrote to you as the President of the BRVA, but she is also "one of you." Elizabeth and her husband live on one of the streets included in the boundary change mailing.

Sincerely yours,

Sharon Butsch Freeland
Executive Director
Broad Ripple Village Association
Ms. Freeland,

Thank you for your response. I am the Anthony A. Pickell on your list of recipients, but did not receive the letter. While this may have been a US Postal Service error, I am very concerned that others I have spoken with also did not receive the letter. This coupled with the BRVA's noted assumption that those who do not respond are to be counted as being in support of becoming part of BRVA is inappropriate in my opinion.

If the BRVA is interested in getting the opinion of all affected homeowners, there is a Warfleigh neighborhood block party scheduled for June 6th and an association meeting later in June. The BRVA notice did not include a response deadline, but we were told it intended to close the response period prior to the June 6th Warfleigh block party. Again, the brief notice and response period also seems inappropriate to me.

I propose that the BRVA first revise its tabulation methods to only count favorable responses as yes and not to assume those who do not respond are in favor of becoming part of BRVA. Second, I propose that BRVA extend the voting period until July 1st to allow neighbors in the affected area time to evaluate, discuss and respond to the BRVA's proposal.

As the BRVA Executive Director, I am sure you are very proud of Broad Ripple. I too agree that Broad Ripple is an important part of the city of Indianapolis. However, I do not wish to live in Broad Ripple or have potential buyers of my home in the future be led to this conclusion. The area West of Meridian is unique with respect to home styles, because of its low traffic levels and enjoys lower crime rates than areas currently under the BRVA.

For these reasons, among others, I am not in favor of becoming part of BRVA and hope others in the affected area will feel similarly when given an opportunity.

Thank you,

Tony Pickell
Hi Sharon,

Thanks for responding. After reading this, and haven spoken to you several times previously, I think I finally getting a good picture of the BRVA. To help my understanding, could you comment on the following, admittedly-implausible, scenario :

I decide that I want to change the name of what most people believe is "Broad Ripple" to "Budweiser Heights". I create the Budweiser Heights Village Association (BHVA) and manage to convince thousands of residents within my self-designated boudaries to volunteer time and money. In addition to changing the area's name, another of our goals is to ease the liquor licensing requirements and allow residents to operate for-profit nightclubs in their homes.

In this situation, would the BHVA have as much legal pull as the BRVA? Would it have the same access to government resources? As it stands now, is "Broad Ripple" a legal entity?

I've always wondered these kind of things.
Hi Joe! Technically, yes, the "BHVA" could establish itself and, if it found enough members, it could have an audience with the City as well. Neither organization has any legal authority. Neither organization has taxing authority. Where I think the "BHVA" would fall short is in finding people to support them enough to be taken seriously. The mission and amount of members a neighborhood organization has is usually what carries weight with the City.

Although the BRVA is a legal entity, it is fully funded solely by voluntary membership dollars and event revenue. Therefore, it "lives" to serve its mission and its membership. For those who don't like the Village or don't want to support the BRVA, that will continue to be an option. If someone doesn't want to say their home is in "Broad Ripple" then that is their choice as well. For those who do like having representation and do like what the BRVA is doing for our neighborhood then they can support the organization. All voluntary. Nothing legal.
Joe,

The Broad Ripple Village Association is a nonprofit organization that was incorporated in 1969. It is registered with the State of Indiana. It is recognized by the City of Indianapolis as the core organization for the Broad Ripple community. The organization is a volunteer, membership-based group. The BRVA is only as strong or as weak as those who belong to it and are active in it. The association takes on initiatives, projects, and events as they are conceived of by its membership.

Your scenario of changing Broad Ripple Village to "Budweiser Heights" is rather implausible. The name of the BRVA could not be changed without a majority vote of its membership. I find it implausible that the current BRVA membership would consider such a name change. In addition, because it might be construed as a new organization with a new mission, it would possibly require complete reorganization.

As for the goals you've suggested in your scenario -- to ease the liquor licensing requirements and allow residents to operate for-profit nightclubs in their homes -- the BRVA has no authority over these matters. The BRVA is not a governmental body. It does not approve liquor licenses. It does not grant zoning variances. These are decisions under the control of the State of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis.

You are indirectly making my point for me, which is that we can become a stronger neighborhood by joining together. With more voices behind it, the BRVA is better equipped to ask for the services that the neighborhood deserves from the government entities that do have control over us. With more voices behind it, the BRVA is better equipped to prevent undesirable elements from coming into the neighborhood.

A large percentage of Warfleigh is already within the Broad Ripple Village Association boundaries. Your home, for example, is already inside the Broad Ripple Village Association boundaries. The addition of the few streets west of Meridian is an attempt to make the neighborhood “whole,” according to both the legal description of most of the properties there and according to the obvious and logical geographical characteristics, namely the White River and the street that parallels the river, Riverview Drive. If you look at a map of the area, you will see that there is just a small wedge of land – north of Kessler and west of Meridian – that is not within the official BRVA boundaries. The White River is the logical boundary on the west, as it is on the north.

Warfleigh is primarily residential, with the exception of the west side of College Avenue. The nearest commercial establishments to the Warfleigh homes are immediately adjacent to Warfleigh, so it would seem logical that Warfleigh residents would want to have as much input as possible on what happens in the commercial district closest to them. By joining the BRVA, Warfleigh residents can have more input on the BRVA’s choices of programs to undertake, events to promote, and battles to fight. By sitting back and merely criticizing the BRVA, without joining, you have no say in what the BRVA does. It’s somewhat analogous to people who don’t turn out to vote in an election, but who then take issue with the policies of those who are elected.

I encourage you to look at the bigger picture. The BRVA is a larger, more diverse, more encompassing version of the Warfleigh Neighborhood Association. There are many “pocket” neighborhoods around Indianapolis, that is, neighborhoods-within-neighborhoods. The Forest Hills Neighborhood Association, for example, which is just south of Kessler Boulevard and just east of College Avenue, is a smaller neighborhood within the larger Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Association. Forest Hills works on small projects that affect their few immediate blocks, but they also work on bigger issues that affect the larger neighborhood around them.

I regret that this subject has caused some confusion and hard feelings. The BRVA meant well by mailing a survey to residents. It would appear that some property owners did not receive the mailing, but this was not intentional. Everyone in the area is encouraged to give their feedback. If anyone reading this post did not receive the letter and wishes to weigh in on the subject, please contact the BRVA. I assure you the BRVA only wishes to include the area being discussed within its boundaries, if that is the will of the majority of the people who live there.

Thank you, again,
Sharon Butsch Freeland
Sharon,

Given the concerns expressed, would the BRVA agree to:

1) Revise its tabulation methods to only count favorable responses as yes and not to assume those who do not respond are in favor of becoming part of BRVA; and

2) Extend the voting period until July 1st to allow neighbors in the affected area time to evaluate, discuss and respond to the BRVA's proposal.

If no, can you please explain why the BRVA will not agree to these reasonable requests? I've posed the same question to your association's president Elizabeth Marshall, but have not yet received a response. Could you please discuss this request with Elizabeth and/or other members of your association's board and provide a response in writing?

Many thanks,

Tony Pickell
Ooops, now I think I've been misunderstood. :)

I wholeheartedly support the BRVA, and I'm happy to live under it's auspices. Though I don't share the same concerns as Tony, I can understand his position. My hypothetical was a clumsy attempt at humor, presenting the BHVA as the antithesis of the BRVA, and obscurely alluding to my biggest Broad Ripple gripe: puddles of vomit on the sidewalks that bar owners seem unwilling to clean up.

I think you and Elizabeth have done a great job here explaining the mission of the BRVA. Thank you. But owing to my pedantic nature, I'm still wondering what exactly "Broad Ripple" is. I understand that originally, Broad Ripple was it's own town, and it was annexed by Indianapolis in 1922. At that point, did legally recognized "Broad Ripple" cease to exist?

Most of us have a vague idea of what area constitutes BR, but is there some bureaucrat deep inside the city-county building who would know for sure? Or does the city consider Broad Ripple to be what the BRVA, it's de facto voice, says it is? I can't think of any reason why we would need to have legal boundaries for Broad Ripple, but I'm curious nonetheless.
Most of Warfleigh is already in Broad Ripple. Technically if you look at the Warfleigh boundaries, most of what we consider Warfleigh and include in activities isn't all truly Warfleigh. It's all subsets of subsets and merged areas. So there's an attempt to streamline everything and make it a little more jointed rather than disjointed. The property sheets for resale wouldn't show up as Broad Ripple because those of us on the east side of Meridian who are already in Broad Ripple have Warfleigh listed as our neighborhood. There are several strange neighborhood names around and about here that we've included into the fold of our group so we're a true neighborhood. There was a post about this a few months ago - I'll try to find the link. This can be a good thing, as Warfleigh Neighborhood Association is trying to work with the BRVA in terms of funds and resources. We have many business owners living in our neighborhood and are asking them and others in Broad Ripple for donations for our picnic. I could go on but the kids are running late for Spanish!... please comment whether you're still uncomfortable with this or if your questions have been answered.

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