A problem with roads in Lenoir City’s Allenbrook subdivision appears settled after Loudon County Commission voted Monday to share the cost of paving.
Commissioners Matthew Tinker and Julia Hurley motioned and seconded, respectively, to contribute $55,000 to Lenoir City to help complete paving of three unfinished roads — Flora Drive, Tristan Court and part of Lancaster Drive — after the developer went bankrupt years ago and left without completing the project.
The motion passed 6-4, with opposing votes from Van Shaver, Henry Cullen, Adam Waller and Kelly Littleton-Brewster.
Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens, who was present for the meeting, said the total cost was $110,000. Aikens noted he would not ask the county for money if similar issues arose from other communities.
Shaver wanted to clarify a misunderstanding at a previous meeting, noting that former planner Russ Newman did not work for the county or either city at the time of the project. Newman instead represented the Loudon County Executive Planning Council that was established in 1994, which was similar to that of the Loudon County Economic Development Agency.
“There’s no doubt in my mind this would be a great deal for the city,” Shaver said. “The city can offer the same things we did. Fix it, we’ll take it. Fix it, reimburse us. Take it into the street and we’ll get it on our list just as soon as we can, that’s what we did with Amberly Meadows. But as far as Russ Newman making anybody responsible for it would have made us no (more) responsible than Jeff Harris in Loudon city for it.”
Shaver noted the county dealt with the Warriors Chase and Silver Oaks communities in years past, both of which had similar issues Allenbrook residents faced.
In 2006, two plats in Allenbrook were approved contingent upon a letter of credit of $20,000 each, but that letter of credit was never obtained, Barrett Hobbs, Allenbrook Homeowners Association board member, said. Hobbs, along with other Allenbrook residents, were present at the meeting. The roads are currently considered private and have not been accepted into the city.
“I mean once we open this door and say we’re going to — by law we can’t even do any work outside of ours,” Shaver said. “Can we just contribute money? Yes. Out of benevolence we can contribute money to fix to do anything we want to, but the precedent we set is going to be tough to get around. I would advise great caution.”
Allenbrook has 168 lots. About 50 homes are on the roads impacted, Hobbs said.
“There is a concern if we do this,” Bill Satterfield, commissioner, said. “On one side I think these folks need some help. They need to get their road fixed and get some holes filled up. I’d vote for it right now if I could be sure that folks at Warriors Chase weren’t going to come back.”
Shaver said he planned to bring the Warriors Chase and Silver Oaks situation back for discussion at the next workshop. He estimated costs for those problems at $50,000.
A member of the Allenbrook community asked what the county did to ensure similar incidents would not occur. Shaver said letters of credit are no longer accepted. He repeated county attorney Bob Bowman’s stance that letters of credit have no legal binding and Newman had no authority to enforce them.
Hobbs believes Tennessee Code Annotated 13-3-401 gave Newman the ability to enforce them.
“(Bob Bowman) says I think Russ performed a discretionary function so he would be absolved of liability, moral or any such claim from 2006 is time-barred, which time-barred is irrelevant at this stage right there but that’s essentially what he told us back in 2014 when this came up before,” Shaver said.
Shaver said Newman did not work for the county until July 1, 2009, after Lenoir City backed out and the Loudon County Executive Planning Council dissolved.
“Many things were done incorrectly years ago by certain individuals,” Tinker said. “… The citizens have paid for it in several communities by not having their streets and roads completed. Now is an opportunity to go in with the city and make that correct to fix.”
Tinker considered it a way to make things right, which was met with applause from Allenbrook residents.
“How are you going to turn anybody else down?” Shaver said.
“We’re talking about things that are happening in the future,” Hurley added. “You have no idea what the situation’s going to be or anything. We have to take everything as it comes piece by piece whether we like that or not.”
An amendment was added by Satterfield, which was seconded by Tinker, that no money would be given until after the city accepted the roads in question. That motion passed 6-4, with opposing votes from Cullen, Shaver, Waller and Littleton-Brewster. Commissioners also voted to take the money out of the capital projects fund. Tinker and Commissioner Gary Whitfield motioned and seconded, respectively, which passed 8-2. Opposing votes were from Shaver and Cullen.
In other news, Loudon County commissioners:
• Reappointed Daryl Smith, Don White and Richard Martin to the Loudon County E-911 board.
• Passed a resolution asking local state legislators to see if an amendment could be made to the law impacting wine sold in Tellico Village at Food Lion.
• Authorized a letter to be sent to the Loudon County Economic Development Agency to review a 2008 interlocal agreement.
• Voted down a request from Shaver to seek reimbursement from the EDA for $10,000 that was initially made for utility upgrades for the now defunct Innovate Pets in Blair Bend Industrial Park.
• Passed application/acceptance of a $3,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, which requires no matching funds. Commission also approved a resolution to accept a $25 gift card and $14,511 in donations to Loudon County Animal Shelter.
• Approved amendments to County General Fund 101, Solid Waste/Sanitation Fund 116, Highway Department Fund 131, General Purpose School Fund 141 and General Capital Projects Fund 171.