Waynesboro officials compromise on annexation
By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
March 27, 2001
WAYNESBORO Ending a lawsuit with a concerned citizens' group, Waynesboro officials have scaled back an annexation bid from 14,000 acres to 3,900 acres.
Special Chancery Judge Ed Patten of Copiah County approved the new request Monday with no opposition.
Waynesboro Mayor Marshall Wood said even though the area to be annexed is smaller, he is pleased to have avoided a prolonged court battle with the citizens' group.
The city will expand its boundaries to include land around three new interchanges for Highway 45 and Highways 84 that are being built as part of the state's four-lane highway program. The east-west bypass for Highway 84 is already open, while the bypasses for Highway 45 are expected to be opened within two years.
City officials started working on the annexation project in 1997, Wood said.
Since the concerned citizens' group filed suit, the two sides had discussed various compromises. They started meeting seriously Thursday and an agreement was reached.
The annexation plan is pending approval by the U.S. Justice Department, which must approve the voting districts.
James Walley, a spokesman for the citizens' group, said he does not think this is the time for the city to annex but he can live with the agreement.
He added that if some economic development project was planned for the area in question, his group would not have opposed the expansion.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.