City of Harriman v. Roane County Election Commission, et al.
Court of Appeals summary:
This is a contest between two neighboring towns in Roane County over common territory that both have purported to annex. The defendant, Kingston, sought to add the territory through a successful referendum election conducted on February 5, 2008. The plaintiff, Harriman, sought to add the territory through its annexation ordinance No. 200801-1 adopted on first reading January 28, 2008. The disputed territory is outside the “[u]rban growth boundary” of both municipalities; it is within the “[r]ural area” of Roane County as those terms are respectively defined in Tenn. Code Ann. § 6-58-101 (7) and (6) (2005). Harriman’s complaint to void the Kingston referendum asserts that Harriman’s ordinance takes priority because Harriman, as a larger municipality, is granted statutory priority. Kingston argues that the Harriman ordinance was of no effect because Harriman did not first secure an amendment to its urban growth boundary before passing the ordinance. Harriman responded that it did in fact “propose” an amendment and that a proposal was all that was required under Tenn. Code Ann. § 6-58-111(d)(1) (Supp. 2009). The parties tried the case on stipulated facts. The trial court agreed with Kingston and dismissed Harriman’s complaint without reaching the issue of priority. Harriman appeals, asking us to reverse and remand for a determination of the pretermitted issues. We vacate the judgment of the trial court and remand for further proceedings.