City to consider change in jurisdictional boundary

The Columbus Plan Commission will consider a resolution at 4 p.m. Feb. 8 to revise its “2 mile” extraterritorial jurisdictional boundary.

The need to consider the revision resulted from the city’s sale of Otter Creek Golf Course to a private entity in October 2022, said Jeff Bergman, city-county planning director. To the east, in the area of the Otter Creek Golf Course, the jurisdiction will recede from approximately 1/2 mile east of State Road 46 to the vicinity of County Road 500E.

The commission will also consider revising its jurisdictional boundary to the north of Columbus, Bergman said. In this area the revision would correct previous 1999 and 2000 oversights that resulted in certain properties being partially in the jurisdiction of the Columbus Pan Commission and partially in the jurisdiction of the Bartholomew County Plan Commission. In these instances, the Columbus jurisdiction is also proposed to recede, with the affected properties then being located entirely in the jurisdiction of Bartholomew County, Bergman said.

The plan commission has jurisdiction in all land incorporated into Columbus, as well as the extraterritorial “2-mile” area, Bergman said.

Indiana law allows city and town plan commissions throughout the state to establish this expanded jurisdiction provided it extends no further than 2 miles from each’s incorporated city or town boundaries. This extended jurisdiction is not automatic, nor does it expand as does the city or town itself. Each plan commission must take specific steps, specified in Indiana law, to establish their jurisdiction, Bergman said. This extended jurisdiction applies only to the community’s land use planning and zoning authority, and not to property tax rate, police authority, fire protection, road maintenance, other municipal laws, etc.

The commission has exercised a “2-mile” jurisdiction since 1960, Bergman said. The current jurisdictional limits were largely established in 1999, but refined to better follow roads and property lines in 2000.

At that time, the eastern extent of the Columbus jurisdiction was based on the presence of Otter Creek Golf Course as a remote area of incorporated Columbus that existed disconnected from the rest of the city. Indiana law allows noncontiguous incorporated areas for municipally-owned fire stations, sewage treatment plants, golf courses, and other similar facilities.

However, the sale of the Otter Creek Golf Course to a private entity negates its eligibility to remain in the city limits, Bergman said. The property will automatically become disannexed one year later, in October 2023, he said. As a result of this disannexation, the commission must re-draw its jurisdictional boundaries to be, at most, within 2 miles of the remaining city limits.

The Feb. 8 meeting will be in the city council chambers at Columbus City Hall. Members of the public will have a comment time during the meeting.

The proposed resolution adopting the revised jurisdiction, as well as the supporting maps, will be posted on the Planning Department website at: at the link for the Feb. 8 meeting.

Any jurisdiction change made by the Columbus Plan Commission is anticipated to be effective after corresponding action by Bartholomew County, specifically the updating of its comprehensive plan and official zoning map to reflect the newly added territory, Bergman said.