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City of Poplarville seeks judge’s approval of annexation

The City of Poplarville, represented by city attorney Martin Smith, will seek approval for annexation plans from the Pearl River County Chancery Court on Wednesday.

The hearing, which is scheduled for 9 a.m., will be presided over by Judge James Thomas, who will determine if there is a need for the city’s annexation of property to the east, west and south of Poplarville.

Smith said in a telephone interview Monday that land to be annexed includes land on Mississippi Highway 26, both east and west of Poplarville, plus land on Mississippi Highway 53 south of Poplarville, as well as a subdivision and an apartment complex.

“Annexation plans are for Highway 26 East to just across Interstate 59, Highway 53 South to just across the interstate, Highway 26 West to just before you get to West Poplarville, the Heatherlands Subdivision and Cedarstone Apartments,” Smith said.

The Heatherlands Subdivision and the Cedarstone Apartments are located along Jacobs Road behind Poplarville High School.

A previous hearing scheduled for late last year was rescheduled after an attorney representing Jane Saucier and Bobby Saucier filed an Entry of Appearance, giving the Sauciers the “right of discovery, to question the city’s witnesses and other matter pertaining to the expansion request of the city,” according to an Item story by Butch Weir from October, 2007.

Smith said since that time, the attorney had withdrawn from the case, and at the present time, there is no known opposition to the annexation.

“At the present, there is not an attorney involved on the other side of this case,” Smith said.

Smith said the hearing will allow the city the opportunity to put forth its reasons for annexation as well as giving any opposing sides a chance to protest the matter.

“The burden of proof of the need of annexation is on the city… City planners will offer testimony as to the justification and feasibility of the annexation,” Smith said.

Once Thomas makes his decision, opposing parties are given an opportunity to appeal the decision, Smith said. If the decision is not appealed within ten days after the order is signed, the annexation will be allowed to proceed as planned.

Smith said the city has spent several years planning the annexation.

“The city hired planners about five years ago to start working on this. It has been a long, drawn-out process,” Smith said.