Enlargement of Corporate Limits of City of Hattiesburg, Matter of, No. 89-CA-0135

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtHAWKINS; ROY NOBLE LEE; SULLIVAN; ROBERTSON
Citation588 So.2d 814
PartiesIn the Matter of the ENLARGEMENT OF the CORPORATE LIMITS OF the CITY OF HATTIESBURG, Mississippi. OAK GROVE CONCERNED CITIZENS, INC. and Shadow Wood/Richburg Concerned Citizens, etc. v. CITY OF HATTIESBURG, Mississippi, etc. and CITY OF HATTIESBURG, Mississippi v. OAK GROVE CONCERNED CITIZENS, INC. and Lamar County Board of Supervisors.
Docket NumberNo. 89-CA-0135
Decision Date29 May 1991

Page 814

588 So.2d 814
In the Matter of the ENLARGEMENT OF the CORPORATE LIMITS OF
the CITY OF HATTIESBURG, Mississippi.
OAK GROVE CONCERNED CITIZENS, INC. and Shadow Wood/Richburg
Concerned Citizens, etc.
v.
CITY OF HATTIESBURG, Mississippi, etc.
and
CITY OF HATTIESBURG, Mississippi
v.
OAK GROVE CONCERNED CITIZENS, INC. and Lamar County Board of
Supervisors.
No. 89-CA-0135.
Supreme Court of Mississippi.
May 29, 1991.
Rehearing Denied Dec. 4, 1991.

Page 816

Wallace R. Gunn, Hattiesburg, for Oak Grove.

Paul Richard Lambert, Hattiesburg, C.R. Montgomery, Jerry R. Wallace, Montgomery Smith-Vaniz & McGraw, Canton, for Hattiesburg.

Frank D. Montague, Jr., Montague Pittman & Schwartz, Hattiesburg, for Hood, et al.

John W. Lee, Jr., Hattiesburg, for Mason, et al.

Kent F. Hudson, Purvis, Kathy D. Sones, Columbia, for Lamar County Bd. of Sup'rs.

Jerry L. Mills, Pyle, Dreher, Mills & Woods, Jackson, G. Kenner Ellis, Jr., Greenville, for amicus curiae.

En Banc.

HAWKINS, Presiding Justice, for the court:

This case is before us on two separate appeals from the decree of the Forrest County Chancery Court denying in part and affirming in part an ordinance of the City of Hattiesburg seeking to extend and enlarge its municipal corporate limits. The City appeals the chancellor's decision to deny the city's annexation of certain Lamar County lands. The Oak Grove Concerned Citizens Association and the Shadow Wood/Richburg Concerned Citizens Association appeal the chancellor's decision to allow the annexation of certain Lamar County lands. We affirm.

FACTS

On April 28, 1987, the city of Hattiesburg adopted Ordinance No. 2261, a proposal to enlarge the corporate boundaries of Hattiesburg from approximately 23 square miles to approximately 112 square miles by annexing approximately 86 square miles of territory in Forrest and Lamar Counties. That same day Hattiesburg filed petitions for confirmation of the annexation ordinance in the chancery courts of Forrest and Lamar Counties. The courts consolidated these petitions shortly thereafter and set the petition for a hearing in the Forrest County Chancery Court.

The area Hattiesburg sought to annex included about 63 or so square miles to the north, south and west of the city in Forrest County and about 23 square miles to the west of the city in Lamar County. The proposed annexation area included the Rawls Spring Community and the Glendale/Eatonville Community in northern Forrest County; the Forrest County Country Club area in northwestern Forrest County; the Bonhommie Community, Irene Chapel/Palmers Crossing Community and Dixie Community in southern Forrest County; and the Oak Grove Community in Lamar County.

Many Forrest and Lamar County residents filed objections. Among these objectors were the Forrest County Board of Education, the Board of Trustees of the Forrest County Agricultural High School, the Dixie Against Annexation Committee, the Dixie Community Utility Association, the Lamar County Board of Supervisors, the Lamar County School District, the Oak Grove Concerned Citizens Association, and other individual residents of both counties.

On August 14, 1987, Hattiesburg and a group of Forrest County objectors filed a joint motion for partial summary judgment, asking the court to delete the Dixie Community, the Rawls Spring Community, and the Glendale/Eatonville Community from the proposed annexation area. On November 5, the chancellor granted partial summary judgment and thereby allowed the city to delete approximately 28 square miles of territory in Forrest County from the proposed annexation. (See Appendix A.)

Page 817

On June 6, 1988, the chancellor began a full hearing to determine the reasonableness of the city's proposed annexation of approximately 22 square miles in Forrest County and approximately 23 square miles in Lamar County. The only objectors at the trial were the Oak Grove Concerned Citizens Association [hereinafter Oak Grove] and the Lamar County Board of Supervisors. The trial lasted five days. Twenty-four witnesses testified. Counsel at this time also signed an order which allowed the chancellor to travel throughout Hattiesburg and the proposed annexation area to examine the areas.

On September 26, 1988, the chancellor filed a memorandum opinion in which he approved the annexation of approximately 22 square miles in Forrest County and denied the city's request for approximately 23 square miles in Lamar County. The chancellor found that Hattiesburg failed to prove the reasonableness of its proposed annexation of the Lamar County area and that his confirmation of the annexation of the 22 square miles in Forrest County afforded the city "ample area to meet its foreseeable needs for growth."

This memorandum opinion was not, however, a final judgment. In an October 6 addendum to his opinion, the chancellor delayed final judgment to give all parties to the proceeding time to file any post-trial motions they desired without being prejudiced by Rule 59.

After the memorandum opinion, many individuals filed motions for reconsideration.

On October 6, 1988, James Richard West; Warren A. Hood, Jr.; R.L. Kemp, Jr.; Kemp Company, Inc.; and Smith Petroleum, Inc. (hereinafter the "Hood Parties"), filed a motion for reconsideration, asking the court to reconsider and approve the annexation of their Lamar County commercial property that was adjacent to the city's western boundary.

On October 6, Wesley Health System, Inc.; Toxey M. Morris, M.D., P.A.; Nathan P. Shappley, M.D., P.A.; Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association; and Ear, Nose & Throat and Facial Plastic Surgery, P.A. (hereinafter the "Wesley Health Parties"), also filed a motion for reconsideration, asking the court approve the annexation of their Lamar County property adjacent to the city's western boundary.

On October 21, Bennett V. York, Mrs. O.E. Hart, Individually and as administratrix of the estate of O.E. Hart, Jr.; R.L. Kemp, Jr.; Jerry L. Kemp; and Trustmark National Bank as Trustee under and of the R.L. Kemp Individual Retirement Account (hereinafter the "York Parties") filed a motion for reconsideration, asking the court to include approximately 183 acres of Lamar County land adjacent to the city's western boundary in the city's annexation, asserting that the property was the future site of a new regional mall.

On October 21, several other parties also filed motions for reconsideration, asking the chancellor to include their Lamar County lands in the annexation. Parties filing motions on October 21 included Tony Lee Mason and wife, Elvira Rios Mason; Claud C. Stephens and wife, Sharon D. Stephens and Sudie M. Albright; Frank M. Anderson and wife, Dolores Anderson and Jewel Moody; Myrtle S. Aultman; David M. Cox, Inc.; John L. Anderson and wife, Louise Patterson Anderson; and Gaston Smith. These parties (hereinafter the "Interstate 59 Parties") all owned property in Section 24 or Section 25 in Lamar County east of Interstate 59, which runs north and south through part of the existing limits of Hattiesburg.

Several groups of Forrest County residents also filed motions for reconsideration, asking the court to exclude certain Forrest County land that it had previously approved for annexation into the city; however, there is no issue on appeal as to these motions.

Hattiesburg joined in all the motions for reconsideration involving lands in Lamar County. Oak Grove and the Lamar County Board of Supervisors filed motions to strike all the motions for reconsideration, asserting that none of the movants were parties to the cause or proper intervenors; therefore they had no standing to ask for reconsideration.

Page 818

On December 2, the court filed an order declaring that all motions and responses filed since September 26 through November 22 were to be considered as though they were post-judgment motions and responses.

On January 23, 1989, the chancellor in another opinion reconfirmed the annexation of approximately 22 square miles of territory in Forrest County and also approved the annexation of certain Lamar County lands. (See Appendix A) The chancellor noted a mistake he had made in drafting his earlier opinion. He stated that he intended to confirm the annexation of that portion of Lamar County in Section 25, Township 4 North, Range 14 West lying east of Interstate Highway 59, adjacent to the previously approved Forrest County annexation area and widely known as the Shadow Wood/Richburg area. (See Appendix A)

The court also approved the annexation of the lands of movants: the Wesley Health Parties (54 acres); the Hood Parties (31 acres); the York Parties (183 acres). The chancellor also amended his earlier opinion to include the lands of Immanuel Baptist Church, the land of the Lamar County Northeast Volunteer Fire Department, and all the highways, roads and public ways embraced within the block of territory comprised of the named tracts or parcels of land. The court reasoned as follows:

The location and topography as well as the existing development and uses of this area, lead to the inescapable conclusion that the future of the area is only commercial. Commercial development of the area will in no wise impact adversely upon the existing residential areas of the Oak Grove community nor upon the residents thereof. In particular, the medical community that already exists adjacent thereto, coupled with the obvious continued expansion of medical facilities and services connected with those already there, can only result in substantial beneficial impact upon quite large portion of Lamar County, even possibly extending over into nearby areas of other adjoining counties.

(See Appendix A)

On February 3, 1989, the Court ultimately entered final judgment in the annexation case. Oak Grove, the Shadow Wood/Richburg Concerned Citizens Association [hereinafter Shadow Wood], and Hattiesburg subsequently filed notices of appeal.

On February 21, this Court entered an order on the...

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  • IN RE EXTENSION OF BOUND. OF BATESVILLE, No. 97-CA-01419-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 16, 2000
    ...As Justice James L. Robertson pointed out in his concurrence in In re Enlargement of the Corporate Limits of the City of Hattiesburg, 588 So.2d 814, 836 (Miss.1991), the Legislature acts out of concern with what is best for the overall community, not as the courts do, applying legal standar......
  • Enlargement of Corporate Limits and Boundaries of City of Gulfport, Matter of, No. 92-CA-0033
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    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
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    ...Grove community, has appealed. The city did not cross-appeal. LAW Recently, in Matter of Enlargement of Corp. Limits of Hattiesburg, 588 So.2d 814, 818 (Miss.1991), we This Court has set forth a list of factors or so called indicia of reasonableness to guide the chancellor in his determinat......
  • Extension of Boundaries of City of Columbus, Matter of, No. 91-CA-00783
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • June 23, 1994
    ...whether the annexation is reasonable under the totality of the circumstances. See Matter of Enlargement of Corp. Limits of Hattiesburg, 588 So.2d 814, 819 (Miss.1991); Matter of Boundaries of City of Vicksburg, 560 So.2d 713, 716 (Miss.1990); In re Enlargement of Corporate Boundaries of the......
  • IN RE MUN. BOUNDARIES OF CITY OF BILOXI, No. 97-AN-00613-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • July 29, 1999
    ...reiterated the proper method to review annexation of new territory in In Matter of Enlargement of Corporate Limits of Hattiesburg, 588 So.2d 814, 818-19 (Miss.1991)[hereinafter Hattiesburg]. Accord, In Re Extension of Corporate Boundaries of the Town of Mantachie, 685 So.2d 724, 726-27 (Mis......
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17 cases
  • IN RE EXTENSION OF BOUND. OF BATESVILLE, No. 97-CA-01419-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 16, 2000
    ...As Justice James L. Robertson pointed out in his concurrence in In re Enlargement of the Corporate Limits of the City of Hattiesburg, 588 So.2d 814, 836 (Miss.1991), the Legislature acts out of concern with what is best for the overall community, not as the courts do, applying legal standar......
  • Enlargement of Corporate Limits and Boundaries of City of Gulfport, Matter of, No. 92-CA-0033
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • September 9, 1993
    ...Grove community, has appealed. The city did not cross-appeal. LAW Recently, in Matter of Enlargement of Corp. Limits of Hattiesburg, 588 So.2d 814, 818 (Miss.1991), we This Court has set forth a list of factors or so called indicia of reasonableness to guide the chancellor in his determinat......
  • Extension of Boundaries of City of Columbus, Matter of, No. 91-CA-00783
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • June 23, 1994
    ...whether the annexation is reasonable under the totality of the circumstances. See Matter of Enlargement of Corp. Limits of Hattiesburg, 588 So.2d 814, 819 (Miss.1991); Matter of Boundaries of City of Vicksburg, 560 So.2d 713, 716 (Miss.1990); In re Enlargement of Corporate Boundaries of the......
  • IN RE MUN. BOUNDARIES OF CITY OF BILOXI, No. 97-AN-00613-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • July 29, 1999
    ...reiterated the proper method to review annexation of new territory in In Matter of Enlargement of Corporate Limits of Hattiesburg, 588 So.2d 814, 818-19 (Miss.1991)[hereinafter Hattiesburg]. Accord, In Re Extension of Corporate Boundaries of the Town of Mantachie, 685 So.2d 724, 726-27 (Mis......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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