TACIR makes recommends changes to TN annexation laws

A state policy study group recommends further changes in Tennessee’s municipal annexation laws after last year’s landmark passage of a law requiring approval by impacted residents before towns and cities can annex new territory, reports the Commercial Appeal.

The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR), headed by a board of state and local officials, issued its report Friday. Its recommendations to the state legislature include:

* Allowing cities to annex land not adjacent to the city, to support economic development, without annexing those in between who don’t want to be taken into the city.

* Developing a less costly alternative to public referendums, while preserving the 2014 law’s mandate requiring consent of residents of the proposed annexation area, such as petitions.

* Allowing nonresidents who own land in the area proposed for annexation to participate in the decision.

* Requiring the state-mandated county-wide growth plans to be reviewed and updated. The plans were required by another landmark law, the 1998 growth planning act, and are now more than ten years old.

* Clarifying what constitutes agricultural land for purposes of annexation. The 2014 annexation law prohibits cities from annexing “property used primarily for agricultural purposes” without written consent of owners but doesn’t define the meaning precisely.

* Legislative consideration of other issues, including cities’ plans of services for annexed areas.

Note: The full report is HERE.