• Municipal Annexation
  • Comprehensive Planning
  • Redistricting of Voting Districts
  • Department of Justice Preclearance
  • Zoning Ordinances
  • Subdivision Regulations
  • Other Development Ordinances
  • Capital Improvements Planning
  • Expert Testimony
  • Additional Services

Municipal Annexation

Municipalities are dynamic entities that either prosper or decline based on a variety of factors. Annexation is a tool to help replenish resources and strengthen the community for future growth. Slaughter & Associates assists municipalities with the annexation process from the beginning to end by conducting an annexation feasibility study, providing expert testimony during trial, and preclearing the annexation with the Department of Justice. Slaughter & Associates' thorough annexation feasibility study provides leaders with information necessary to determine if and when to annex. An annexation feasibility study is a complete document which analyzes annexation study areas and financial feasibility and produces a detailed plan for municipal services and an in-depth cost/revenue analysis for the existing city and annexation area. The State of Mississippi requires annexations to be reasonable as determined by twelve indicia. Slaughter & Associates assists the municipality in supplying proof to satisfy these indicia in Chancery Court. Annexations in Mississippi must be precleared by the United States Department of Justice according to Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Slaughter & Associates can also assist the municipality with this preclearance submittal.

Comprehensive Planning

Comprehensive planning is important for all communities in order to determine what the communities' future will hold. A Comprehensive Plan is a document that outlines how the community wants to grow in terms of future goals, land use distribution, transportation, and community facilities. Slaughter & Associates works with communities to develop their unique, long-range (20+ years) vision for the future. Based on community input, the Comprehensive Plan guides and directs future decision-making processes for growth and development and should act as the basis for capital improvement programs, zoning ordinances and subdivision regulations. This process sends a strong message to residents, business owners and industries that the community has an effective plan for the future.

Redistricting of Voting Districts

Population shifts and changes over time impact voting districts for counties, municipalities, and school districts. The release of each decennial Census documents these changes and may call for local governments to redistrict. Annexation for municipalities also creates the need for redistricting. Redistricting consists of modifying voting district/ward boundaries in order to balance the total population so that each district/ward has approximately an equal number of residents. Slaughter & Associates carefully analyzes voting districts to ensure compliance with the one-man/one-vote principle according to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Department of Justice Preclearance

Department of Justice PreClearance

All changes affecting voting in Mississippi must be precleared by the United States Department of Justice. This includes annexation and redistricting of voting districts. Slaughter & Associates works with local governments to prepare a complete submission for Department of Justice review. The Department of Justice has a standard review period of sixty days. Slaughter & Associates is also available during this time to provide additional documentation needed for preclearance.

Zoning Ordinances

Zoning in the State of Mississippi must be based on an adopted Comprehensive Plan. It is administered by an ordinance detailing regulations and uses and by an official zoning map graphically portraying appropriate districts. When implemented, zoning controls land uses, designates development areas, protects property values, and stimulates growth. Slaughter & Associates works with communities to provide regulations specific to each community.

Subdivision Regulations

Subdivision regulations ensure the health, safety, and welfare of property owners and protect property owners by implementing minimum development and infrastructure standards and procedures. Slaughter & Associates provides communities with details for application procedures and development specifications for the design of streets, water lines, sanitary sewer lines, stormwater runoff facilities, erosion control, sidewalks, lots, easements, etc.

Digital Elevation

Development Ordinances

Other Development Ordinances

Ordinances are used to declare an official stance on certain uses or control development details. In addition to zoning ordinances and subdivision regulations, there are a variety of other ordinances which can also shape the future for communities. Sign, landscape, and architectural design ordinances are examples for governing the size, location, quantity, and appearance of specific development details. Historic preservation is another example of where an ordinance may be needed to control the type of development in order to protect the character of an area. Ordinances can also be used to regulate particular land uses such as junkyards or parking concerns. Slaughter & Associates prepares ordinances that reflect specific concerns of a community and that assist a community in establishing a visual result of future growth.

Capital Improvements Planning

Capital Improvements Planning

A capital improvements plan identifies major expenditures years in advance so that a method of funding can be developed and so the project can be successfully completed in a timely manner. Slaughter & Associates helps communities determine major capital improvement projects, such as water and sewer advancement, significant street reconstruction and bridge replacements, and identifies cost and potential funding sources. These capital improvements projects are prioritized by year for the next five years. Year one of the capital improvements plan is adopted by the board/council for implementation and should be updated annually thereafter.

Expert Testimony

Expert Testimony

Slaughter & Associates presents specific interests to city council and board members in a clear, efficient manner on planning and zoning issues such as rezoning, racial and demographic changes, and annexation. Having testified in over 40 annexation cases, Slaughter & Associates also assists clients with trial preparation testimony for reasonableness of annexations in the Chancery Court. Services include litigation support, trial exhibits and expert testimonials composed of key facts and insights unique to the planning profession and in direct response to the indicia of reasonableness outlined by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Other services include

  • Storm water control regulations and EPA compliance
  • Hazard mitigation plan development and FEMA approvals
  • Governmental finance modeling and budgetary planning
  • Growth management planning and analysis