UPDATE: Tupelo City Planner testifies at annexation trial

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Testimony from City Planner Pat Falkner consumed the entire second day of Tupelo’s annexation trial Tuesday at Lee County Chancery Court.
Falkner was introduced as an expert witness for the city, which wants to annex 16.15 square miles of unincorporated land. He spent the morning defending the city’s plans for expansion.
But Lee County, which opposes annexation, used the afternoon session to poke holes in Falkner’s opinions.
Tupelo’s annexation bid is opposed by Lee County, the cities of Plantersville and Saltillo and more than 100 individual residents.
It is unopposed by the town of Sherman, which on Tuesday filed a court document stating it has “no objection to the extension of the boundaries of Tupelo.”
The trial began Monday and is expected to last five or six weeks.
Under questioning by city attorney Guy Mitchell, Falkner told the court Tupelo has exhausted much of its developable land and now needs expansion in order to thrive.
To date, the city has 6,200 acres of suitable land for development. That’s 18 percent of the municipality’s total acreage. Falkner said a city typically seeks expansion when its developable land hits 20-40 percent.

Read more in Wednesday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.