Wed
Mar 19 2008
08:39 am
By: WhitesCreek

It's fading away, in reality. This is a sad thing and I don't have the solution. I don't, however, much like the current plan of annexing more and more of Roane County against the wishes of the residents. This looks from the outside like annexing and taxing folks on the "other side of the river".

If this sort of thing is necessary in order to keep a town entity alive...

Your thoughts?

Harriman "jumped the river"

Harriman "jumped the river" and annexed South Harriman 50 years ago and I don't think it hurt South Harriman at all. In fact that portion has flourished, though some of the 60+ aged alumni of South Harriman High School are still holding a grudge.
I don't think Harriman has ever considered any intention of "jumping the river" toward Kingston, but only that the river would be a "natural" boundary between the two cities.

The growth plan is a "projected plan of growth" for all the cities,and with its regulations,is the legitmate way to go about any annexation procedures instead of the old spot, or checker board annexation that was taking place.

I realize this is a

I realize this is a complicated issue with no simple answer, but why should the river be a boundary for Kingston and not Harriman?

...Particularly since the affected residents don't feel any affiliation with Harriman. Why isn't this their choice?

I'm not a fan of forced annexation, I should note. If a municipality is doing a good job and landowners want to be served, that's another thing.

The only property ANNEXED by

The only property ANNEXED by Harriman in the Midtown area has been done "by property owner's choice."
To my understanding, Kingston's plan is to "jump the river" and annex part of what was in Harriman's proposed GROWTH PLAN (a growth plan is far different than a forced annexation).
The suit is to stop Kingston's annexation into property included in another city's GROWTH PLAN.
The courts will decide what will ulitmately happen.

Something to think about... If Kingston is allowed to "jump the river" and infringe on another city's (or county)growth plan, then what's to stop them from going around the back way(Bluff Road and Midtown Heights),and grabbing property from the COUNTY's growth plan and taking in the rest of Midtown?

I don't think Kingston has a

I don't think Kingston has a history of land grab, like what you're talking about. Frankly, I don't think the Midtown folks I've talked to want to be inside any city but they do seem to prefer Kingston if someone is going to annex them. Why don't they get the choice?

It's my understanding that

It's my understanding that Midtown is in the COUNTY Growth plan to protect them from annexation by either of the three cities.
Its a long process to change a growth plan area and seems like an even longer drawn out process to give enough reasons why a city should annex property not in their growth plan,but the property owners CAN request to be annexed.
My senario into what Kingston could possibly do .. on down the road.. was just something t "ponder."

Who would provide better

Who would provide better services to Midtown? Harriman or Kingston?

Harriman already supplies

Harriman already supplies electricity and gas. Doesn't Kingston contract most of theirs?
Could Rockwood "invade" from the West end and get into the mix? Yes, they could, if the growth plan gets changed.
If anyone interested in what's going on hasn't studied the growth plan and its rules and regulations, you should. There's a big misunderstanding about the procedures involved, mostly fueled by people who don't know the difference between a growth plan and annexation.

It doesn't matter to me who's growth plan Midtown is in, nor who, if any city ever gets to annex any of it(which will take quite a bit of paperwork, state approval, citizen approval, etc. before anyone does have the opportunity unless the property owner's requests it).

I wish we could all get

I wish we could all get together and think about what a picture of Roane County should look like in 5, 10, 25, and even 50 years from now. Where we've been is history, but where do we want to go?

I see no good reason for the folks outside of any city limits to be annexed against their wishes. At this point it simply means a duplication of services and higher taxes. Should every bit of land in Roane County be taxed by one city or the other?

Why do we even have the cities anymore anyway?

That's exactly what a GROWTH

That's exactly what a GROWTH PLAN is.... A plan for the future growth of, not only the cities, but the county and rural areas that want to remain rural. The county can and did set aside certain pieces of the area for their COUNTY part of the growth plan.

So exactly what are the

So exactly what are the benefits of being annexed by Harriman?

And how does Harriman have claim to Midtown, anyway? The area we are talking about is less than two miles from downtown Kingston and several times that distance from Harriman's downtown.

Harriman is a beautiful town, particularly when compared to Kingston which needs something like a township personality transplant.

Still, even though Kingston's downtown is rather homely, it is vibrant and growing. new businesses and construction are visible in a multitude of locations.

I don't have the answer but Harriman's future should depend on making it the choice of a place to grow new business, rather than have the town swallow up development that chose to go somewhere else.

The developers asked for the

The developers asked for the property to be annexed before it was developed and it was in the process of beginning the work on being annexed when Midtown incorporated and included them in their borders. The lawsuit was settled when Midtown city ceded those properties back to Harriman.
The Harriman city limits went to the railroad crossing on Pine Ridge for YEARS. The property owner on the right side, going out of Harriman,(Ahler) who owned all the way to the Midtown exit also requested to be annexed by Harriman. So in reality, Harriman's city limits were already touching the area.

I think you are refering to

I think you are refering to the Pinnacle Pointe development, where it is true that the owners ask to be annexed in order to receive financial grants from the City of Harriman. So far that hasn't turned out to be a good deal for Harriman and I predict lawsuits.

I still have to ask what benefit is it to be annexed by Harriman for the folks who own the property much closer to Kingston?

I think this is a mistake for Harriman also. It is a short term solution when much longer term problems with the downtown remain.

Unfortunately, it won't help get anything fixed...

... to merely provide a litany of things that are the wrong solution to Harriman's problems. Yes, Harriman has problems (name me a town that doesn't). If, as I strongly suspect, there is not A SINGLE solution to those problems, then the solution must lie in a combination of smaller solutions.

If I had all the solutions, I'd have already made them public - long ago, in fact. But I wonder if others have the solutions. Saying what won't help is not only not a solution, but is also an assumption that may be correct or incorrect.

Harriman's downtown. Hmmm... needs a solution? Yep. Most small town (and large town) downtowns need solutions. The Princess Theater project - which is talked about in other threads on this forum - could be a big impetus in that direction. A number of other things could be, as well.

For one thing, I do think it encouraging that courageous long-time hangers-on like Adkisson's Flowers and others still insist on doing business in the downtown area. They see something there, some glimmer of hope. But they need hlep.

While I'm not necessarily an advocate of simply throwing money around as a solution to a problem, it is also true that any lasting and effective solution to Harriman's problems - downtown or not - WILL involve money, and significant sums of it. As a tool - not necessarily the end, but a means to an end.

So if you need money, and don't have all you need, how do you get it? I don't think anybody can (or should) expect some industrial sugar-daddy to swoop in and be the economic savior of Harriman. For one thing, the age of industries being the backbone of cities like Harriman is over, and has been for a while. What's happened already in Harriman proves that. One of the reasons why Harriman IS in the shape it's in is its nearly a century of its entire economy being tied to a handful of mills. Hell, there were times when the captains of industry in Harriman actively worked to keep various kinds of growth at nil so the labor force would remain both captive and low-cost. The backlash from that is a big reason why so many employable folks have left Harriman over recent decades as the mill-town era faded into history.

So what to do? Ask private folks to give Harriman the money it needs? From WHAT pockets? You can't get big donations from people that don't have big money. Do we/they just wait for Bill Gates or Warren Buffet to realize Harriman is here and just say, "Shoot! Here's a billion for you to revitalize with. Go for it!"? I'm not holding MY breath!

So what to do... Well, last time I looked, one of the ways to do that, even though it's slowly and won't make sudden increases in available cash, is to do things that increase the tax base. Guess what? Somebody has to pay for improvements some way, and they have to pay with money that comes from somewhere. If we don't wanna give up some money, then let's just say to hell with Harriman and all towns like it.

What else is to be done? What can make a lasting, significant change - a change that can sustain Harriman in a positive way - that doesn't involve influx of money? And how is that money obtained and/or attracted?

How about something positive that will help, rather than simply saying this is a bad way to go or that is a bad way to go. It's EASY to find bad ways to go. If people are smart enough to see the bad ways to go, can't they see any good ways to go?

RB

Exactly, RB, but do you realize what you're saying?

Well, last time I looked, one of the ways to do that, even though it's slowly and won't make sudden increases in available cash, is to do things that increase the tax base.

Harriman hasn't solved its own problems so it annexes people's property who don't want to be in Harriman and then taxes them trying to solve a money crisis they had no part in creating.

It's a short term solution and will not solve the deeper problem of how to save Harriman. It does seem that it will create animosity.

Yeah, kinda, WC

I see what you're saying, at least to an extent. But not completely do I agree.

A) You insist on talking about how bad short term solutions are. Last time I looked short term solutions have two things going for them: 1) They're solutions, and having even short term solutions is better than having zero solutions, 2) Total solutions to big problems by their nature incorporate both short- and long-term solutions in the scheme of things. You use the short-term solutions to kick-start processes necessary for long-term solutions to be conceived and implemented.

B) Although it's possible that it could happen, the recent history now is not that of un-restrained annexation of lots of people who have raised hell about not wanting to be annexed by Harriman. See harrimanite's comments about growth plans vs. annexation, etc.

C) ANY progress, any solution, any movement in any direction is gonna cause animosity in some quarters. So we do nothing and let it die cause somebody's gonna be pissed? How real is that?

D) It's not fair. That's right. LIFE IS NOT FAIR. But the last time I looked, part of what being in community is about is that sometimes total fairness to all individuals takes a back seat to the needs of the community. That's neither new or subversive. It's a fact of living in community. Not every solution to every problem is possible in a way that is either pleasant or fair to all.

Again: We're dancing AROUND solutions to such an extent that we're effectively saying there are no solutions.

If all these solutions - short-term or otherwise - are so bad, what are the good solutions? It's time to start talking about making solutions happen, not just ignoring a solution because it's not ideal. Either that or tell us the ideal solution.

RB

You have to go back a LONG,

You have to go back a LONG, LONG time to find where Harriman annexed ANYONE who didn't REQUEST to be annexed (probably South Harriman, over 40 years ago). Why do you insist on portraying Harriman as grabbing land that doesn't want to be annexed?

The way I see it, the argument concerning Harriman vs Kingston has to do with Harriman's GROWTH PLAN vs Kingston's ANNEXATION plan.

Actually...

In the South Harriman annexation, although there was a vocal and fairly significant faction that didn't want annexation, much of the resistance was centered around the perceived loss of identity because of the closure of the county's South Harriman High School for attendance at the one Harriman High School (the orange & white SH Pirates and the blue & white Harriman Blue Devils had a long-time tremendous rivalry). There were many IN South Harriman who desperately wanted the annexation because of obtaining city services. Many South Harrimanians were asking again and again to be annexed, for a number of years, before it finally happened. That annexation was still - even though, as WC has warned about annexation, it created some animosity - an annexation that followed the will of the majority of people in the annexed area.

I know because my family lived in South Harriman at the time, and was very strongly in favor of annexation. As were all our immediate neighbors.

So the notion of a Harriman just going forth as a land devouring giant, gobbling up acre upon acre of land just to please an avaricious appetite, is myth. Harrimanite has pretty accurately portrayed the Midtown episode.

RB

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