JEWELL V. CITY OF BARDSTOWN, KY
ANNEXATION: RESTRICTIVE COVENANT AND ESTOPPEL
PANEL: LAMBERT PRESIDING; VANMETER, KNOPF CONCUR
DATE RENDERED: 1/25/2008
The City of Bardstown (the “City”) began annexation proceedings on some unincorporated property. Many residents in the area of this property opposed annexation and filed a petition in opposition to annexation, requesting a public referendum. The Mayor of Bardstown disqualified those persons who signed the petition and whose property was subject to a Consent to Annexation Agreement. This agreement was entered into by the developers of the property in exchange for the City’s agreement to provide water and sewer services to the neighborhood, and ran with the land. Because of the disqualification, there were not enough signatories for a referendum. The annexation was completed. The residents filed suit challenging the mayor’s actions, but the circuit court affirmed the annexation.
On appeal, the court acknowledged that there are no Kentucky cases discussing whether a restrictive covenant consenting to annexation that runs with the land can estop land owners from signing a petition in opposition to annexation. However, the court looked at cases from other jurisdictions, all of which held that the landowners were estopped from revoking their consent to annexation by purchasing land subject to annexation-consent covenants, and believed that they were consistent with Kentucky’s annexation statutes. The court reasoned that the landowners gave consent to annexation in return for the valuable consideration from the City of the provision of city water and sewer services, and should be estopped from receiving the benefits of the bargain without the obligations. It therefore affirmed the circuit court’s ruling.