Clinton County

Town of Washington files lawsuit against Eau Claire over annexation | Eye On Eau Claire



EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) – The Town of Washington has filed a lawsuit against the city of Eau Claire, once again challenging the annexation of 438 acres from the town into the city. 

This is the latest step in years of back-and-forth between the township and the city for the development that will be known as Orchard Hills. 

Developers are looking to put a large housing development on the land, near the intersection of Deerfield and Mischler roads. The proposal has been met with much resistance from area residents. 

Related article: Dozens rally against Orchard Hills annexation ahead of Eau Claire City Council vote

Here’s a look at the timeline leading up to this point: 

June 14, 2022: Eau Claire City Council approves annexation of township land 

July 18, 2022: Town of Washington files lawsuit against city of Eau Claire over annexation

February 3, 2023: Judge Emily Long rules in favor of township; land returned 

March 10, 2023: City of Eau Claire files new petition to annex Orchard Hills land

March 28, 2023: Eau Claire city council approves the second annexation

June 23, 2023: Town of Washington files second lawsuit challenging annexation

According to paperwork filed with the lawsuit, the township says the annexation is invalid for four reasons:

1. The boundaries of the annexed territory do not comply with the rule of reason: they are oddly shaped and nearly bisect the town. 

2. The city does not have a future need for the territory it annexed.

3. The city abused its discretion because the annexation goes against the 2011 intergovernmental agreement between the city and the township. 

4. The annexation did not comply with state statutes because it was not recommended by the plan commission. 

According to court records, Judge Emily Long was assigned to the case. She is the judge who ruled in favor of the township in February. 

Related Article: Judge: Orchard Hills land to remain in the town of Washington; annexation into Eau Claire invalid 

A court date for the decision has not yet been set. The city of Eau Claire has 20 days to respond to the summons. 

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