Residents of the Harrison Glen subdivision again expressed concern Monday during a Lenoir City Council meeting about not having a second entrance.
After Harrison Glen resident Todd Butler asked what the latest was on the possibility, Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens said building codes representatives met with the developer who was unwilling to add another entrance and exit.
“As you all recall the plans were approved before myself or any of the other members came on board and over 20 years ago, and obviously there is nothing to make them do that,” Aikens said.
“I will tell you that Mr. (Eddie) Simpson and Mr. (James) Brandon and myself met with the previous developers of Harrison Glen today. We’d been in talks with them about the turn lane, and they are talking to their engineers and they are going to install the turn lane. ... I think it would probably be January, February, March.”
Council in September agreed to work on a traffic study for the subdivision that is close to Lenoir City High School.
“They would do a count of folks going in and out of the area as well as on the roadway,” Amber Scott, Lenoir City administrator, said. “They would look at turning movements and things of that nature.”
Harrison Glen resident Robert Pawlick worried only one entrance could be a safety hazard for the community that may eventually have 350 homes.
“We’re talking about a plat that we’re going to stand by from 1996 or earlier, two phases of the construction we’re not even starting until just this year, 23 years after approval, and there’s no significant review in terms of safety in today’s environment is completely unacceptable,” Pawlick said. “... This isn’t something to be dismissed.”
He asked for “common sense and due diligence.”
“I’m not asking for one to be built 400 feet in the air with balloons lifting cars up out of the way. This isn’t anything impractical,” Pawlick said. “It’s reasonable and prudent. It’s a safety issue.”
Residents questioned what would happen if an emergency occurred inside the subdivision and a first responder could not get inside.
Aikens said the city had its “hands sort of tied” with a plan approved by a former council and mayor.
“This is almost 2020,” Ron Allen, Harrison Glen resident, said. “You’re talking 24 years ago and you can’t do anything as a city council to change this builder and make him put in another road? I just can’t believe that. You are elected by the people and you’re supposed to be working for the people, and right now I’m telling you it doesn’t look like you’re working for the people.”
Aikens asked Allen what the city should do.
“Take him to court? Spend thousands and thousands and thousands?” Aikens said. “... Let me ask you this, on plans that were approved by city council and a mayor 23-plus years ago, approved — and because I mean I just don’t understand where you’re getting that we’re working for the developer.”
Councilman Eddie Simpson pointed out the current developer did not start the subdivision.
“I have different thoughts I guess on the safety and security,” he said.
“The security because you only have one entrance is fantastic because once someone gets in there and robs a house or whatever and then they can’t get out before an officer arrives or whatever, I think that’s a big plus. ... If you’ve got 10 ways in and out of there, you cannot catch the bad guys.”
However, Simpson said he was in favor of an entrance if that is what the public wanted.
Residents noted they felt the current developer was not maintaining obligations.
Two items discussed were street lights and sidewalks.
City attorney Gregg Harrison hopes to meet with city planner Beth Collins next week.
He cautioned residents to focus less on the “foreseeability standpoint” and more on the developer’s obligations.
“So, just caution it’s something to think about in those lines,” Harrison said. “‘We didn’t foresee all this going to happen,’ but what you could run into is, ‘Well, you should have been able to see that there was a high school right across the street,’ No. 1. No. 2, when you buy a house ... you’re going to invest and that’s where your family’s going to be placed for at least a period of time, someone may bring up the fact that you knew when you purchased that house, or you should have known or should have reasonably known, there was only one entrance into that subdivision and one exit.”
In other news, Lenoir City Council:
• Donated property at 377 Rock Springs Road to Loudon County Habitat for Humanity that will be used to construct a house.
• Passed a one-time increase of Good Samaritan Center of Loudon County’s donation from $10,000 to $12,500.
• Closed South A Street for the purpose of a parklet and event space.
• Went into an executive session for about an hour pertaining to a Lenoir City Utilities Board and Martel Utility District consolidation.