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Pinnacle Pointe access an issue with potential new businesses

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One development group came to a Harriman Regional Planning Commission meeting several years ago, but dropped plans to build a sizable shopping complex with a restaurant — because of no access.

By Cindy Simpson

A street in the Pinnacle Pointe shopping development in central Roane County is another step closer to being opened to other parcels.

Pinnacle Drive, which is part of litigation between the city of Harriman and developers over who owes whom for public and private work done at the development, has been a hot topic since the owner of a neighboring parcel has requested help in getting access to the shopping complex.

The city is moving forward with the steps needed to condemn the Midtown-area property between the road and that owner’s land.

Councilman J.D. Sampson said he doesn’t want to wait any longer.

“We need to start investing and getting people in there,” Sampson said.

“We all want stuff to move in down there. If we vote this down here, we’re telling these people we don’t really want nothing down there. We need to invest in the city we got now to try and get commercial business to come in,” Sampson added.

Harriman City Attorney Harold Balcom had a survey and appraisal done for an embankment that would have to be condemned to extend the road.

Balcom said the estimate is about $25,000 if the condemnation would be from the property line across the embankment.

That could increase to $50,000 if the city has to pay for the land where the road is itself.

“All we need to do is get to the property line,” Balcom said.

The property owner has agreed to do the necessary cuts on the other side.

Officials said that medical complexes and other developments have expressed interest in the lot, but stopped short when they could not get direct access to Pinnacle Pointe.

Medical facilities in particular want two exits, one from Hwy. 70 and another into the complex.

One development group even came to a Harriman Regional Planning Commission meeting several years ago, but later dropped plans to build a sizable shopping complex with an area for a restaurant because of no access.

Councilman Kenyon Mee worried about the cost of all the work, and said it would be wiser to approach Pinnacle Pointe owners Steve Kirkham and Jerry Duncan about a compromise or wait until litigation is over.

He’s also worried that the ultimate cost will be much more than $25,000 when a jury makes a decision on the case.

Balcom, however, pointed out the jury might also decide the small strip of land isn’t worth as much because of its geography.

The dispute between Harriman and developers came about after a state investigative audit said the city was owed $234,685.

In turn the developers claim the city owes them approximately $273,685 and should also be reimbursed for the land under the roads the city paved in the complex.

Suits have been filed first by the developers and later the city in the dispute.