Update on today's annexation hearing

By SUSAN AMUNDSON,

The next stage in the Columbia annexation case will be an April 28 status conference following today's hearing in Marion County Chancery Court.

Chancellor Deborah Gambrell presided at the packed hearing this morning. Gambrell asked anyone who objected to stand, and nearly everyone in the seated section rose. The official count was 35 people who stood.

Those who objected placed their names and addresses on paper, which was filed with the court and given to J. Chadwick Mask, lawyer for the city, and to each person who objected.

Then Columbia lawyer Joseph Turney spoke up requesting a continuance in the matter to allow those opposing the annexation a chance to obtain legal representation.

Mask moved to set a status conference for the next term Gambrell would be back in Marion County. Gambrell agreed and set the matter down for April 28. At the status conference the parties will have an opportunity to state where they are in preparing the matter for trial.

Aldermen approved an annexation ordinance officially setting the boundaries on Aug. 20, 2019, after two years of studying the issue. If approved, the plan would add about 3 square miles and 945 residents to the city limits, raising Columbia’s population to just over 7,000.

For more details about today's court hearing, see Saturday's edition of the C-P.