DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — The city of Olive Branch, Mississippi, is growing, after a judge approved its annexation of about 18.5 square miles of DeSoto County, county officials said Tuesday.
The annexation had been opposed by the city of Hernando and DeSoto County, as well as some residents who would be affected.
Chancellor Percy Lynchard approved the annexation in a ruling released Monday. It means the city will take in several areas that are currently served by Olive Branch Fire, enlarging the city’s area by about 50%.
Olive Branch had applied in 2018 to annex more than 40 square miles of unincorporated county land.
Lynchard, who approved a portion of the annexation the city had sought, was critical of annexation laws in Mississippi in his ruling but said the city had followed the law.
The court noted that Olive Branch’s population has grown from 1,513 in 1970, to 37,461 in 2019, and the city needed more developable land. The last major annexation by the city was in 1996.
“We are glad the Court listened to many constituents who were against being annexed by Olive Branch,” District 5 Supervisor Michael Lee said in a news release. “I was proud to take a stand to represent people in unincorporated DeSoto County, especially residents of Lewisburg and Bridgetown.”
Supervisor Jessie Medlin said in the past 30 years, Olive Branch had expanded its boundaries three times.
“I’ve heard from many people who felt City services would decline if they took over a lot more land,” he said.