TACIR Releases Interim Report on Public Chapter 441, Acts of 2013

Thursday, January 16, 2014 | 1:34am

Nashville, TN– A state commission directed last year to study growth planning and municipal boundary changes in Tennessee has recommended extending the state’s current moratorium on some types of annexations while the group and the legislature continue to study those issues.  The recommendation by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) is included in its interim report to the Tennessee General Assembly.  The report provides a number of options for further consideration and continued research.

The Commission’s report was directed by Public Chapter 441, passed in 2013, the same state law that placed a moratorium effective through May 15, 2014, on city-initiated annexation of land used primarily for residential or agricultural purposes.  That law required the commission to review and evaluate the efficacy of state laws on comprehensive growth plans and on changing municipal boundaries.  The original version of the bill that became Public Chapter 441 would have required residents’ consent, by way of referendum, for all annexations.  Currently, referendums are required only for annexations of land outside cities’ urban growth boundaries.  That bill was just one of several that the General Assembly considered last year that would have changed Tennessee’s laws on annexation and growth planning.  Most of those bills were also sent to the Commission and are included in its study.

As noted in the report, annexation disputes among counties, cities, and affected residents have been a recurring theme in Tennessee’s history.  Tennessee’s Growth Policy Act, passed in 1998, was an effort to resolve these disputes by requiring local governments in each of the state’s 92 non-metropolitan counties to adopt 20-year growth plans limiting where future incorporations and annexations could occur.  It has been fifteen years since the Growth Policy Act was adopted, and it is widely agreed that a thorough review was needed to consider whether that law has served its intended purpose and whether the state’s annexation and growth planning processes can be further improved.  The report provides that review, comparing and contrasting how other states handle similar issues with current and proposed laws in Tennessee.  Completed over the course of the last six months, the report includes feedback from several meetings at which a wide range of viewpoints were presented and discussed.

The full report is available on TACIR’s web site at www.tn.gov/tacir/pubs_by_date.html.  For more information, contact Leah Eldridge at 615-253-4241 or email.

The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) serves as a forum for the discussion and resolution of intergovernmental problems and provides high quality research support to state and local government officials to improve the overall quality of government in Tennessee and to improve the effectiveness of the intergovernmental system to better serve the citizens of Tennessee.

Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations