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Harriman files lawsuit over Kingston referendum

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By The Staff

By CINDY SIMPSON

rccindysimpson@bellsouth.net

Harriman officials filed a lawsuit last week in an attempt to keep Kingston where Harriman thinks it belongs — east of the Hwy. 70 bridge.

Harriman City Attorney Harold Balcom said the city is seeking an injunction to stop the certification of votes from Tuesday’s annexation referendum that could possibly put some Midtown area properties in Kingston’s city limits.

Harriman has a similar annexation referendum for other parcels of Midtown property.

Harriman’s request for a restraining order to stop Kingston’s referendum from going forward was denied last week, according to Balcom.

“I’m not surprised,” Balcom said.

He said the court may want to see what the voting results are before further addressing matters.

If the referendum fails, the lawsuit would be void.

Last month, the Harriman Regional Planning Commission recommended annexing areas between the current city limits to the bridge even though the area is not yet in the city’s urban growth plan.

The area is part of both Harriman and Kingston’s proposed growth areas. A small area just on the west side of the bridge is the area in contention.

The legality of the issue was argued between Balcom and state planner Laura Smith at the January planning commission meeting.

The lawsuit quotes state law, saying that if two municipalities initiate annexation on the same area, the actions of the larger city will have precedence.

At that meeting, Balcom admitted the issue had never before been heard in court.

The suit names the Roane County Election Commission and city of Kingston as defendants.

Kingston Mayor Troy Beets referred any questions to Kingston city attorney Sandy McPherson, but said the issue may come up in future discussions.

A hearing to present the motion for a temporary injunction has been set for Monday, Feb. 11.