Lenoir City Council gave city attorney Gregg Harrison the authority Monday to file a letter of intent and possible lawsuit against the former Harrison Glen developer for not constructing a turn lane into the subdivision.
Councilmen James Brandon and Eddie Simpson motioned and seconded, respectively, to give the authority, which passed 5-0. Councilman Bobby Johnson Sr., was absent.
Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens added the item to the agenda.
“Obviously, he’s going to do some research and he’ll talk to their attorney if they have an attorney and hopefully it can be worked out,” Aikens said. “We’re not playing hard-nosed with it. We want to work it out with them, but they need to belly up and pay it because that’s what they promised they would do and it shouldn’t be left up to the taxpayers to foot the bill. If he says that we have a case — if they don’t work it out — we’re going to end up in court. City council gave him that authority tonight to file a lawsuit, and we don’t want that.”
City council in late February voted to request bids for a left turn lane on Harrison Road onto Glenfield Drive.
Amber Scott, Lenoir City administrator, said one bid came back Thursday from B&B Contracting Inc. A turn lane could cost $104,000, but Scott said additional work, including a sidewalk, would boost the project to about $296,000. The bid has not been accepted by the city, she said.
“Of course, we bid out for the Harrison Glen turn lane and we called on that letter of credit that they had, but we believe that they had agreed to make the turn lane,” Scott said. “When the bids went out and they came in higher than expected, then we’re going to see what we need to do to gain that.”
“They came to us back at the first of the year or late December and said, ‘Hey, we’re wanting to put this turn lane in’,” Aikens added. “They had a letter of credit, a bond that we had for $100,000. Keep in mind this was going on in ‘03.”
Aikens said discussions for a turn lane date back to 2003.
“We’re not trying to make it hard on them, but we don’t think that the taxpayers of Lenoir City should have to suffer from their mistakes,” he said. “So I fully support litigation if it can’t be worked out.”
City council in September approved $2,500 for a traffic analysis along Harrison Road at Harrison Glen. Aikens said the study showed a turn lane was “warranted.”
In other news, Lenoir City Council:
• Passed the second and final reading to establish Martel Water Department and an advisory committee for its service area.
• Passed the second and final reading adopting an ordinance transferring Martel Utility District from the city to Lenoir City Utilities Board.
• Approved an interdepartmental transfer agreement between Martel and LCUB.
• Approved a motion ratifying the mayor’s execution of a revised consolidation agreement and proceeding with filing a joint petition.
• Passed the second and final reading for annexation of 2.68 acres at 12329 U.S. Highway 321 North.
• Approved the first reading to rezone property off Cotton Mill Boulevard from C-3 Highway Commercial District to R-2 Medium Density Residential District.
• Denied for lack of a second to vacate a portion of right of way of Pike and South Grand streets and return the property to adjoining property owner Darter Steel Inc.