Ridgeland files annexation petition for future growth opportunity

By NIKKI ROWELL,

With the future of the city and opportunity for growth in mind, Ridgeland has filed a petition to annex a section of land that Mayor Gene McGee says is the only viable option for growth.

The 4.9-square-mile property is located near West County Line Road and has been a part of the city’s master plan since 2008, McGee said. The city of Ridgeland’s is currently 23 square miles at this time.

“It’s actually the only way the city can grow,” McGee said, referencing the fact that the outer edges of the city bump up to Madison, Jackson and the Reservoir. “So, we’re moving forward now to annex this area.”

There are approximately 122 homes located within the more than 3,000 acres the city is looking to annex. The property also includes the proposed site of the landfill, which Ridgeland has voiced strong opposition to.

Ridgeland is already providing services to that area, including water, according to the mayor.

However, annexation would mean the area would get code enforcement, police and fire protection, adequate zoning and animal control.

He said residents would also benefit from the Ridgeland Fire Department’s class four rating.

Now that the case rests in the hands of a Madison County Chancery Court judge, the next step will be for the judge to set a trial date. The length of the trial will depend on a few factors, mainly whether or not there is opposition.

The last time the city took in additional property was in September 2016, when the city’s petition was officially approved for property located south of Lake Castle Road and east of Livingston Road.

The city has annexed additional property 11 times since the city’s inception as the Village of Ridgeland, which later became the town of Ridgeland in 1947 and the city of Ridgeland in 1975.

The previous years of annexation were 1952, 1965, 1975, 1981, 1986, 1989, 1996, 2006, 2007, 2014 and 2016, according to a previous Sun report.

McGee said the length of the annexation process has varied over the years, and that there is no way to know exactly how long it will take to complete this time.

As for the site for the proposed landfill, McGee said the property should be light industrial. If the city is successful in its effort to annex the area, he said they would work with developers to determine the “highest and best” use for the property.

“Hopefully that is the case,” McGee said of whether or not the proposed landfill will be put on hold until the annexation case is complete.

“We do not need another landfill,” he added, saying that the Little Dixie landfill still has a number of years left. McGee said Canton is also proposing an expansion to give the Canton landfill another 100 years of life.

According to Robbie Wilbur with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), MDEQ staff are currently reviewing the comments submitted during the public comment period and preparing responses that will be provided to the MDEQ permit board, along with a transcript of the public hearing.

The permit board is the entity responsible for issuing the permits that NCL is seeking, and it meets the second Tuesday of each month. 

“The NCL matter has not yet been scheduled, and will not be taken up by the permit board at its November meeting,” Wilbur said.

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