HAWKINS, PRESIDING JUSTICE, DISSENTING:
ON PETITION FOR REHEARING
I would grant the petition.
Just as Washington, D.C., belongs to every United States citizen, Jackson belongs to every Mississippian. I am proud of our capital city, and have loved it since a child.
It is up to the inhabitants of Jackson, themselves, and the Mississippi Legislature, however, to solve Jackson's long range problems. Annexing the land involved in this case into the corporate limits is no solution.
I can make no improvement upon the learned opinion by the chancellor in denying this annexation. In my view the majority opinion fails to adequately address many of the chancellor's well studied findings. We certainly cannot say he was obviously wrong, and should for this reason affirm.
Because of its reasoning and conclusions, the chancellor's opinion is made an appendix to this dissent.
DAN LEE, P.J. AND SULLIVAN, J., JOIN THIS OPINION. PITTMAN, J., NOT PARTICIPATING.
This case is before the court on a complaint (also referred to therein as a petition) wherein the City of Jackson, Mississippi, seeks to annex a 4.9 square mile area in part of south Madison County, Mississippi. The area sought is immediately north of County Line Road (which separates Hinds and Madison Counties) and embraces a portion of the intersection of Highways I-55 and I-220 and lands to the west thereof. The proposed annexation would increase Jackson's land area by 4.7%.
There is substantial opposition to the annexation as evidenced by the interested parties who participated at the hearing. Vigorous objections and protests came from the City of Ridgeland, the City of Madison, the Ridgeland Municipal Separate School District, the Board of Supervisors of Madison County, two water supply associations (Bear Creek Water Association, Inc., and Livingston Water Association) and a number of residents in the area sought. The annexation hearing lasted approximately 18 days. Witnesses included urban developers and planners, engineers, financial and insurance experts, an economic analyst, an aerial photographer, department heads and supervisors from the City of Jackson, school officials and many others. The case for both sides was ably presented by participating counsel and was fully developed through the testimony and voluminous documentary
There are 13 commercial establishments in the area sought occupying 54.7 acres, two small churches occupying 3 acres (none built in the last 10 years), one lodge on an acre, and Tougaloo College consisting of 472 acres, but only utilizes 86 acres as a campus. There are 65 residences in the area (exclusive of Tougaloo Campus), but there has been no residential building in the last 10 years. Four hundred seventy two acres of the land are in use out of a total of 3,149 acres.
Jackson in developing its case purported to show that the annexation was "reasonable" when viewed in the light of the various factors deemed relevant to such determination by judicial decisions. A more non-judicial argument constantly pressed by Jackson through its witnesses was that the city's survival is dependent upon annexation (but not necessarily this particular one) and if it is stymied in its expansion ventures will ultimately become a land-locked, stagnant core city relegated to a tax base supported mainly by low, moderate and middle income inhabitants.
The necessary question that this court must answer is whether the proposed annexation is reasonable as gauged by those criteria enunciated in case decisions of our Supreme Court. The bulk of these cases has come during the last 30 years and include: Dodd v. City of Jackson, 238 Miss. 372, 118 So. 2d 319 (1960); Extension of Boundaries of Horn Lake v. Renfro, 365 So. 2d 623 (Miss. 1978); City of Jackson v. Ridgeland, 388 So. 2d 152 (Miss. 1980); Western Line Consolidated School District v. City of Greenville, 465 So. 2d 1057 (Miss. 1985). In City of Jackson v. Ridgeland, 388 So. 2d 152, 15 ??? (Miss. 1980), the Court quoting from the Horn Lake decision itemized certain of the factors to be considered in determining "reasonableness" :
(1) The municipality's need for expansion; (2) Whether the area sought to be annexed is reasonably within the path of growth of the city; (3) The potential health hazards from sewage and waste disposal in the annexed area; (4) The municipality's financial ability to make the improvements and furnish municipal service promised. Lowe v. City of Jackson, 336 So. 2d 490 (Miss. 1976); Bridges v. City of Biloxi, 253 Miss. 812, 178 So. 2d 683 (1965); Dodd v. City of Jackson, 238 Miss. 372, 118 So. 319 (1960).
Other factors that have been considered by the Court are: (5) The need for zoning and overall planning in the area; (6) The need for municipal services in the area sought to be annexed. Smith v. City of Meridian, 237
Miss. 486, 115 So. 2d 323 (1959); (7) Whether there are natural barriers between the city and the proposed annexation area; and (8) The past performance and time element involved in the city's provision of services to its present residents. City of Biloxi v. Cawley, 332 So. 2d 749 (Miss. 1976). 365 So. 2d at 624-25.
In the recent case of Western Line Consolidated School District v. City of Greenville, 465 So. 2d 1057 (Miss. 1985), the Court recognized an additional factor to be considered, to-wit: "the interest of, and consequences to, landowners in the annexation area" and whether the city's need to grow is outweighed by "inequitable consequences to those in the annexation area." A multitude of facts were presented by the participants in an effort to demonstrate whether Jackson substantially met the criteria by which the reasonableness of the annexation is determined. Any comprehensive reiteration of the evidence produced would be difficult, if not impossible. I will endeavor, however, to notice briefly some of the more salient facts leading to the conclusion herein reached.
Jackson's Need for Expansion
Jackson in support of its proposed annexation relied heavily upon a study report it prepared called North Jackson Annexation Study (Exhibit 12 in evidence). The participating respondents likewise utilized information contained in the document to refute the assertion that the annexation was reasonable. Suffice it to say, the Study when analyzed with other relevant evidence does not strongly establish a need for expansion. From the facts presented it appears that Jackson is simply not increasing in population and this is so even though there is ample land available in Jackson for residential, commercial and industrial development.
It's surprising to find that between the years 1970 and 1980, excluding gains via territorial annexation, Jackson's population grew by only 1.04 per cent or a total of 1,650 people. This represents an average annual growth over the 10-year period of 165 people. Furthermore, Exhibit 12, p.7, table 1, shows that Jackson's population between the years 1980 and 1982 increased by only 1,300 people or 0.6 per cent. Based upon estimates of the U. S. Census Bureau, Jackson's population in April of 1984 was 208,231. This represents an increase from April of 1980 (a four-year period) of only 1,334 persons per year. Interestingly, between 1980 and 1982 Brandon, Ridgeland and Pearl each out grew Jackson.
Exhibit 12, p.8, table 2, shows that between the years 1970 and 1980 the land area of Jackson, through annexation, increased by approximately 110 per cent although its population (including people acquired by annexation) increased by only 31.8 per cent. Based upon the Population and Economic Study developed by Jackson in February of 1985, it had the 4th lowest population density of the eleven cities surveyed in the study. The population density of Jackson, like most cities, is decreasing. Jackson's population density since 1940 has decreased from 4,187.93 persons per square mile to 1,925.73 persons per square mile. Out of 170 cities in the United States with a population of 100,000 people or more, Jackson ranks 144th in lowest population density. Jackson's population density has not only decreased over the years, but a recent study establishes that Jackson's residential densities have increased. Thus, while the population density has substantially decreased over the past 40 years, the residential density of Jackson has increased. In addition to Jackson's low population density and its trend toward higher residential density, Jackson in 1985 had 34.3 per cent of its entire land area classified as vacant and available for future development. The North Jackson Annexation Study, p. 14, table 6, reflects that between the years 1981 and 1985 there were approximately 969.2 acres developed in Jackson or an average of 215 acres per year. If the development trend continues to 1990, only a total of 2,150 acres would have been needed for the decade of the 1980's. Jackson's estimate that it will need 10,484 acres to accommodate future land use needs by 1990 appears unrealistic. Jackson presently has 22,891.6 acres of vacant land (34.3 percent of its total land) and this appears sufficient to accommodate its foreseeable future growth. It is true 7,752.7 acres of the 22,891.6 acres are in the flood plain. However, much of the flood plain is developable as evidenced by the fact that between the years 1981 and 1985 (a 4-1/2 year period) 44.7 per cent of the land developed in Jackson was in the flood plain.
Some mention needs to be made concerning land Jackson now has available for commercial and industrial growth. First, Jackson has a 400-acre industrial park south of downtown Jackson that present has only 5 industries located in it. Second, Jackson has substantial undeveloped acreage in northwest Jackson constituting a part of what is referred to as the Northwest Industrial Development Concept. Third, Jackson has recently acquired for industrial development 350 acres of undeveloped land located mainly outside the corporate limits of northwest Jackson. It lies southwest of the land sought by these proceedings and Jackson's acquisition strongly indicates this industrial area to be in its path of growth.
Noteworthy is the fact that Jackson offered no specific plans for the area sought. One witness for Jackson described the
area as sparse and slow developing and said he knew of no long range plans Jackson had for it. One Jackson industrialist and developer visualized the area as some day containing large industrial sites together with residential developments for people who wanted to live on 25 to 50 acre tracts, albeit he knew of no need for such home developments at this time. Another developer testifying for the City took issue as to the area being suited for heavy industry and admitted growth in the area had been slow. The Mayor of Jackson stated that except for a few developers no one (exclusive of some Jackson officials) had expressed any interest in the proposed annexation.
Lastly, I would call attention to the substantial amount (approximately 50%) of designated "Park" land in Jackson that remains undeveloped, probably not required for parks, and which could, if needed, be put to a different land use.
It appears that Jackson's desire to expand is not predicated upon any internal growth in population, any increase in "people" density or of a lack of adequate developable land. Rather it is motivated by an apprehension of losing adjoining lands to another municipality with a resulting loss of income from ...