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Lawsuit may delay town annexation plan

The town of Farragut’s plan to annex a portion of Knox County at the corner of Kingston Pike and Canton Hollow Road may have derailed based on two lawsuits filed in Knox County Court.

David Buuck, a Knoxville attorney representing plaintiffs Michael N. Schaad and John H. Schaad, et al, said the area in question is located between Thornton Heights and Canton Hollow Road.

The area is within the urban growth area for Farragut adopted by Knox County, Knoxville and Farragut in 2001.

Buuck said the suit was filed in Knox County Chancery Court and alleges that the town of Farragut has failed to meet the requirements put forth in the new annexation laws.

“There’s no grounds for the annexation of the property,” Buuck said. “It just doesn’t meet the requirements for annexation, which is that the territory must be in dire need, the health and welfare would be materially retarded if it is not annexed. And that is just not the case.”

Buuck added, “And there is a flip side to that, too, and that is it has to be annexed in order for the health, welfare and safety of the municipality will be materially retarded. If you look at how many years Farragut has been in business, obviously they didn’t need the property for their health, welfare and safety up to this point, and that’s what’s set out in the complaint. It just didn’t meet the threshold criteria for annexation under the law.”

Included in a story posted in the News Sentinel’s Saturday edition, Matlock Tire was named as one of the plaintiffs in the suit.

Jimmy Matlock, owner of Matlock Tire, said, “I am a member of a partnership, of which there are three individuals involved, all three of us are good friends. On that partnership there are two businesses, Matlock Tire, which I own, Precision Tune, which is a build-to-suit that is not owned by any of the three of us, it’s a franchise that is located in the building owned by the partnership.

“When the discussion came up in the last six weeks regarding individuals who are going to be incorporated into the town of Farragut, we were approached as a partnership and I, as Matlock Tire, about joining this lawsuit against the town. Our store manager Tim Williams had been attending the town’s meetings where the annexation was discussed. We never intended to be a part of a lawsuit.”

Matlock added, “How embarrassing it is to wake up Saturday morning and I open the News Sentinel and there is my business named a part of this suit, which we (never intended to be a part of). … We never have been, never will be a part of this lawsuit.”

Matlock said that he is in favor of the annexation.

“Not only are we in favor,” Matlock said, “but Tim, the store manager, attended the meetings to make sure that we were represented as one of those businesses (who welcomed the annexation). Everybody wants to be in business in the town of Farragut. Some will argue that there are requirements and restrictions that will cause a little indigestion with that, but we were a part of the town (in the beginning). It’s embarrassing.”

Regina Owens, owner of Gina’s Bernia Sewing Center, said, “I’m not really part of the lawsuit. I’m just joining the home rule because (the owner of the property that Gina’s Bernia Sewing Center is located in).

“Jack Houston is the owner of the property,” she added. “He’s the owner, not me. I’m listed because my business is located in his property.”

Owens said she has never had contact with the attorney for the plaintiff.

“I don’t really know anything about it,” she said. “I’m not the one doing it. I don’t know anything about it really.”

Owens added that Houston lives in Florida during the wintertime and she didn’t know how to get in touch with him.

Buuck countered, “(Owens) told me to put her name on there, so I did. She called me and said she was going to contest it.”

Dan Olson, Farragut town administrator, said the Board of Mayor and Aldermen would have to take up the issue at its March 25 meeting in closed session. The town has 30 days to answer the complaint.

“How quick it comes to trial is up to the board of mayor and aldermen,” Buuck said.

Other plaintiffs in the suits are Michael N. Schaad and John H. Schaad. Plaintiffs in the second identical suit are the Houston Family Limited Partnership, LDJ Partnership, Franklin D. and Sandra G. Key, Don Maddox, Jerry Wheeler, Leeds Realty Partnership LP, Neil and Clara Shanks, Shanks Land and Leasing.

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