A group of residents in rural Sumner County say County Executive Anthony Holt wants to use eminent domain to build a sewer and a sidewalk on their properties, and that puts them in peril.
Even physical peril.
These property owners, in the Upper Station Camp Creek area, say it’s OK for county officials to build a sewer through their properties to connect to a nearby school.
But constructing a concrete sidewalk atop that sewer — that’s unacceptable, property owners told The Tennessee Star this week.
County officials also refer to the sidewalk as part of a greenway.
Instead of paying for these properties, county officials will instead pay for a lifetime lease to use them, property owners said.
“When government decides they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, whether it is theirs’ or not, then they can come knock on your door and turn your farm into public access and you still have to pay taxes on it,” Gallatin resident Deborah Holmes said.
“You have to maintain it, and you are still 100 percent responsible for it. I don’t see how that is good for me or as a homeowner.”
Holmes’ neighbor, Tony Hibbs, said this is a story about government overreach and so much more.
“The way we understand it, if someone falls on the concrete greenway (on our properties) then the county is responsible,” Hibbs said.
“But if they get off that greenway then we are responsible for what happens. It invites lawsuits.”
The Star made repeated efforts this week to contact Holt for comment and to get his side of the story.
We left a message with Holt’s receptionist.
We emailed Holt at his county-issued email address.
We called Holt’s personal cell phone and left a voicemail asking for a call back.
The Star even texted Holt.
Holt responded to none of our messages.
Holmes said she and her family live on 35 acres where they shoot guns, ride four-wheelers, play in a nearby creek, and take care of cows. She said this situation with Holt and the county has made her “emotional and infuriated.”
“There is no other place (like ours’) where there is a greenway down other people’s property. It’s in subdivisions — down Gallatin Road and public areas like ballparks and things like that,” Holmes said.
Meanwhile, Hibbs said this is also a security issue.
““People will be walking in your backyard and maybe walking after dark,” Hibbs said.
“I am concerned about the barriers to separate whomever is walking on this property to our part of the property.”
Holmes told The Star this concrete sidewalk “is a luxury and not a necessity.”
When asked, Holmes had little to say about any legal action she and her neighbors might take.
“I have been told it is more of a political issue than a legal issue,” Holmes said.
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