Canton appeals Gluckstadt incorporation fight
Canton has joined a contentious businessman in appealing Gluckstadt's favorable incorporation ruling last month.
Canton filed an appeal last Thursday against Gluckstadt, in addition to an appeal against objectors to its own annexation.
The businessman, Ron Hutchison, owner of Mississippi Tent and Party Rental, filed an appeal against the Gluckstadt incorporators a couple of days before the April 22 deadline.
Hutchison, with property in the new city, had been an initial vocal and financial supporter of incorporation until he apparently was unable to convince newly-appointed officials to re-zone a site for his benefit.
Canton had not appealed before the initial deadline, but since Hutchinson filed an appeal, it opened up a new time window for appeals to be submitted.
Had Hutchinson not appealed Gluckstadt's incorporation, supporters of incorporation say, the city would have presumably held its first meeting later this month.
Canton is also appealing objections by Peco Foods Inc., Kingston Place LLC, Kingston Place II LLC, Lula B. Covington LP, and LLM Inc., all of which appealed its annexation attempt that was heard at the same time as Gluckstadt's incorporation since there was overlap.
Madison County Chancery Judge James Walker granted annexation of two of five areas proposed by the city of Canton. The largest area is located north of the city and includes homes on streets such as Jody Drive, Davis Avenue, Wayne Drive and Johnson Drive. The other area is currently sandwiched between existing city property and included the Peco chicken processing plant.
Kerry Minninger, a leading proponent of the Gluckstadt incorporation with relatives who date to the founding of the village, said the legal battle could cost over $100,000 as the battle moves to the state Supreme Court.
"Both parties have appealed the jurisdictional ruling of 2018, which means they feel there were not the required signatures for the filed petition and each disagree with the court ruling last year," Minninger stated in a Facebook post in a page dedicated to Gluckstadt. "This was already heard once and the opposition lost.
"If appeals are successful there will be no City of Gluckstadt," he continued. "And could possibly open the door for Canton to annex areas inside of Gluckstadt. Needless to say, this is a sad, unfortunate situation for the citizens who support this community."
Auto magnate Mac Haik initially challenged whether or not Gluckstadt had enough signatures during the jurisdictional phase of the incorporation trial and was unsuccessful, with Judge Walker ruling in favor of the incorporators. Haik, who has two dealerships within the incorporation, eventually withdrew all opposition to the incorporation effort.
After Judge Walker's initial ruling last month, Canton Ward 3 Alderman Les Penn said the city was "happy with the results," and did not plan to issue the appeal. He did not vote last week with other aldermen to appeal Gluckstadt's incorporation.
Attempts to contact Canton Mayor Dr. William Truly were unsuccessful.
Walter Morrison, the first appointed mayor for the proposed city of Gluckstadt, said Hutchinson's initial appeal to the effort was based on his own personal greed, essentially holding the will of over a thousand people hostage.
Morrison claims Hutchinson wanted a guarantee that the new city board would allow him to construct a road up to Church Road to open up commercial property to development. Hutchinson agreed in 2015 during a rezoning hearing to not construct a road on that property.
Attempts to contact Hutchinson have also been unsuccessful.
The Madison County Planning & Zoning Board will hold a hearing on May 16 where Hutchinson hopes to remove zoning restrictions on 3.71 acres of land east of Church Road and south of Calhoun Station Parkway. The Madison County Board of Supervisors will ultimately decide whether or not the restrictions will be removed.