Just outside of the city of Ridgeland, a 4.9-square-mile property stretches along West County Line Road. What the future holds for that piece of land is anyone’s guess, as two groups have completely different plans for the area.
The city of Ridgeland has filed a petition to annex the land, which Mayor Gene McGee says has been part of the city’s master plan since 2008 and is the only viable option for growth. Approximately 122 homes are located within the more than 3,000 acres in the sought after area.
The property also includes the site where NCL Waste, LLC has been working for a number of years to construct a landfill, which would be Madison County’s third.
The annexation case now rests in the hands of a Madison County Chancery Court judge, and the trial has been scheduled for the last two weeks of July.
The trial is expected to go on as scheduled, without delays due to COVID-19, according to the Mayor.
“The court has not given any indication he plans to delay the trial, so we believe it will go on as scheduled,” McGee told the Sun.
Ridgeland is already providing services to that area, including water. However, annexation would mean the area would get code enforcement, police and fire protection, zoning and animal control as part of Ridgeland as well.
The length of the trial will depend on a number of factors, but is likely to take longer as there is opposition: NCL Waste. NCL Waste remains the sole opposing party in the case.
NCL’s opposition to Ridgeland’s annexation case was first made known when attorneys Johnny Brunini and Michael Gwin attended a Madison County board of supervisors meeting in November 2019.
“NCL intends to oppose annexation and oppose it vigorously,” Brunini said. “There are others who are interested and willing to oppose that annexation as well. That’s a long process.”
Gwin issued the following statement on behalf of NCL: “NCL is opposed to annexation that will cost Ridgeland taxpayers tens of millions of dollars to build the necessary infrastructure and provide the full range of city services required for this 3,300 acres of largely undeveloped land. This tax increase on current Ridgeland citizens is frivolous and unnecessary since there is very little existing — or expected — residential or commercial development in the proposed annexation area.”
The property in question is zoned light industrial, according to McGee.
The last time Ridgeland 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.