The Indianapolis International Airport, a government-run agency, has filed two lawsuits to stop a private, park-and-ride facility from being built on property-tax generating land in Decatur Township. It's big government up against big business, and the taxpayers end up footing the bill twice if the airport wins.
As many of you know, Decatur Township is the smallest township by land and by population with much of the land around the Indianapolis International Airport completely off the tax rolls. Add in that another large area is off the property tax rolls due to a TIF district for AmeriPlex industrial park, and you have a significant amount of land north of Kentucky Avenue that does nothing for Decatur but make land owner's property taxes higher.
Recently, a developer has been working with AmeriPlex to build an innovative park-and-ride facility on property tax-generating land in Decatur. This parking facility would serve as a catalyst to jump start further commercial development in the area in the way of businesses that would cater to travelers or township residents.
The park-and-ride facility includes a number of innovative features set to minimize the environmental impact of parking 3,000 cars on a single facility. It also includes things like carports and other services to people that might want to leave a prized possession like their automobile behind while on a trip.
Over 50 neighbors showed up at the Metropolitan Development Commission hearing to support a complete change in zoning that would allow the development. Five City-County Councillors from both parties also supported the change in zoning, and the MDC listened. Over the objections of a very small group of neighbors, the Indy Park and Ride facility in Plainfield, the Indianapolis International Airport and Mayor Greg Ballard, the MDC voted to change the zoning, 6-2.
Things appeared to be all go for this new development that would create a few jobs and some tax revenue for the township until the Indianapolis International Airport stepped in and filed two lawsuits. The first lawsuit would stay the zoning change, and the second lawsuit would overturn the zoning if a judge agrees with the plaintiff. This pits the taxpayers against the taxpayers. It pits a taxpayer-funded public entity against a private company that wants to bring jobs and tax revenue to Decatur Township.
The airport claims that the park-and-ride facility will harm the parking facilities on the airport grounds by cutting into their revenue. In essence, the government agency (the airport) is using taxpayer money (filing the lawsuit) to try to force out a private company that will create something that generates new tax revenue. Isn't that what some call un-American?
Pat Andrews has some excellent writing about this case over on her Had Enough Indy blog. Here is a link. Fox 59 has also picked up on this story as well. A link to that report is here.
Hopefully, the airport will drop its lawsuit immediately and realize the damage it is doing to capitalism and the American Way. Big government vs. a private business just doesn't sound good these days.