JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – The capital city’s efforts to incorporate undeveloped property around the Jackson Medgar-Wiley Evers International Airport has been struck down by the state’s high court.
This week, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that the city could not annex the property around the airport because it had not gotten the unanimous support of the Rankin County Board of Supervisors.
The city appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, saying it did not have to get the board’s permission to annex the property because it was bringing in property it already owned and that it was “not incorporating new airport property but… attempting to annex property to enlarge an existing airport.”
Justices, though, said state statute did require Jackson to obtain the board’s permission.
“Jackson is now attempting to enlarge the airport, not to incorporate a separate airport,” their opinion states. “By its very definition, such an extension into Rankin County is prohibited without the approval of the Rankin County Board of Supervisors.”
Meanwhile, justices also included a footnote in their March 16 ruling calling into question whether Jackson owns the land it’s attempting to incorporate.
“Deeds are not included in the record and Rankin County disputes that there is sufficient evidence to show that the property is owned by Jackson,” they said.
The Jackson City Council approved annexing the property around the airport in 2019.
According to the Northside Sun, areas included are west of the airport along Airport Road, south of the airport between Airport Road and East Metro Parkway, east of Jackson-Evers along the East Metro Parkway and north of Jackson-Evers south of Lakeland Drive.
Several cities, along with Rankin County, filed suit in Hinds County Circuit Court attempting to block the effort. Court records indicate the cities of Pearl and Flowood are attempting to annex portions of the same property, and have filed petitions in Rankin County Chancery Court.
The circuit court ruled Jackson’s ordinance was void in December 2021, and days later, the city appealed that decision.
The Flowood Board of Aldermen filed a petition to annex certain portions of the same property in August 2018, about a month after they passed an ordinance “enlarging and extending the boundaries of the city.” The city of Pearl filed a similar motion to annex property around the same time. The chancery court later consolidated those cases.
In July, Rankin County Chancery Clerk Larry Swales filed a motion to dismiss the case for a “want of prosecution.”
That same month, attorneys for Pearl and Flowood filed a response, saying that the case would only move forward once Jackson’s case was decided.
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