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By CHERYL DUNCAN
True to their word, some residents of Park View subdivision have filed a lawsuit in Roane County Chancery Court to fight against Rockwood’s incorporation of their community into the city.
No court date has been set for Chancellor Frank Williams to hear the suit, which was filed against the city by Ronald and Carolyn Taylor, George H. White, Charles Blanton, J.C. and Sandra Morgan, S.J. and Judy Snipes, Ron Hogue, Mary Whitley, Bill W. Capps, M. Reba Scarbrough, Ronnie E. Johnson and Bobby Lang.
Many of the plaintiffs were vocal in their opposition to the annexation, which Rockwood City Council approved in November.
“We do feel that, based on the previous annexation laws, that Rockwood will have a strong case,” Mayor James Watts said. “We feel like we can provide them with every service that is provided under the law.”
At council meetings prior to the annexation, Park View residents asserted that the city would not be able to provide them with services, nor were they in need of city services.
That theme continues in the lawsuit, filed by Knoxville attorney David Buuck.
In the suit, the residents contend the county provides the area with law-enforcement services, fire protection and road maintenance, and private waste disposal is avail-
In his Jan. 12 answer to the suit, Rockwood City Attorney Elmer Rich wrote that Park View is only part of the 360.98 square miles patrolled by the Roane County Sheriff’s Office.
He asserted the city’s police force already patrols the adjoining area, and the response time would be better due to Rockwood officers’ proximity to Park View.
Rich also demands proof of the availability of private waste disposal, and he wrote the city’s staffed fire department would offer better response times than the “unmanned station, based on volunteers, and which requests contributions each year from the residents of the proposed annexation area.”
According to the suit, homes in the area are provided with running water and electricity by Rockwood utilities, and those services will not be hampered if they are not part of the city.
“The citizens and property owners of the proposed annexed area have private sewage disposal systems,” the suit states.
“Rockwood proposes no additional sewer services within a reasonable time after annexation.
“Since Rockwood is providing no services than are otherwise being provided, the health, welfare and safety of the annexed residents will not be materially retarded if they are annexed.”
Rich admitted that the homes are served by private septic tanks “but due to the age of the subdivision, it should be anticipated that septic systems will begin to fail, and in fact one citizen and property owner in the subdivision and proposed annexation area has already had a septic system failure and is on the city’s sewer system.”
He added, “Sewer services are needed and will benefit the health, welfare and safety of the annexed residents.”
Resients contend Rockwood officials neither received a request or approval to annex their property, nor did city representatives ask them “if their health, welfare, safety or prosperity will be materially retarded if the territory is not annexed,” an assertion Rich denies.
The plaintiffs are requesting the court to declare the annexation ordinance null and void.