Saltillo Annexation: Final 2021

The plan approved last week in Chancery Court dropped 100 acres from proposed annexation area 4 on the west side of the city.

SALTILLO • By the middle of November, the Saltillo city limits will officially grow by around 850 acres.

Only one landowner showed up at the Oct. 25 hearing in Lee County Chancery Court to protest his property being included in the city's annexation proposal. The city removed the man's land.

"The other areas were deemed reasonable by the court and the judge approved and ratified the proposal," said Saltillo city attorney Chris Evans. "We filed the order with the chancery clerk's office today (Wednesday). It will go into effect in 10 days."

City officials have been eying an expansion of its borders for several years. The former administration attempted to pick and choose prospective areas where land owners wanted to be in the city. That reduced the number of protests once the matter got before a judge for approval.

"We did try to work out as many kinks as possible on the front end," Evans said. "Both Tupelo and Guntown indicated prior to the hearing that they would not oppose (the proposed areas)."

In fact, when the case went before Chancery Judge Jacqueline Mask, only one person stood up in opposition. That man had two parcels, totaling about 100 acres, near the Ole South Plantation subdivision to the west of the city.

"He had one single-family dwelling that he was going to renovate. The rest was in farm land," Evans said. "He said he already had a water well and a septic tank, so he didn't need any city services."

After the 10-day period is up on Nov. 13, the annexation will be official. The chancery clerk will send a copy of the order to the Secretary of State's office and the city will file a new map showing the new municipal boundaries.

Following annexation, cities have to provide city services to the new areas within a reasonable amount of time. In Saltillo's case, there is little to do. Evans said the dozen houses included in the annexation "already have most of the city services, like water and sewer."

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The city will also begin providing fire and police protection to the new areas.

Saltillo has been looking at annexation for several years. The scope has steadily been pared down as residents and homeowners voiced opposition. Aldermen were looking at nine proposed areas covering around 1,460 acres in late 2020.

They removed a roughly 50-acre section between Highway 45 and Pull Tight Road before the annexation plan was first approved in December 2020 in a called special meeting. After the annexation plans were announced by the Daily Journal, additional opposition came forward.

In July, the board, which gained three new aldermen in last summer's election, removed 466 acres on the east side of the city, including the south half of Lake Lamar Bruce.

The 850-acre annexation approved by the court last week is more than 40% smaller than originally proposed.

With a population around 5,000, the city currently covers 5,285 acres, or 8.25 square miles. The annexation will increase the city's size by 16% to 9.59 square miles.

The seven annexation areas are, for the most part, large undeveloped stretches of unoccupied land. Three of the areas are along Highway 145. City leaders want to maintain and extend the commercial corridor and steer development away from light industrial and more toward commercial and retail.

This is Saltillo fourth annexation in the last 26 years. In 1995, the city took in 300 acres. It added another 500 acres in 1999. The most recent annexation was in 2005, when 237 acres west of town was brought into the city limits. That area became the Ole South Plantation subdivision.

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