Tag Archives: jefferson

Lawsuit Challenges Renaming of Memphis Parks

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Several plaintiffs have filed suit against the renaming of Confederate-themed city parks in Memphis, asserting only the mayor can change park names.
According to The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/18AUpUg ), nine individuals and a group calling itself Citizens to Save Our Parks filed the petition Wednesday against the city and members of the Memphis City Council.
On Feb. 5, the council approved a resolution renaming Forrest Park, Confederate Park and Jefferson Davis Park.
They were given generic names, awaiting a committee recommendation. That panel has recommended Civil War Park, Promenade Park and Harbor Park. The council has not acted on the recommendation.
The lawsuit asks Chancery Court to void the renaming of the parks.
City Attorney Herman Morris said Wednesday he had not yet seen the lawsuit.

Walnut Trees Under Quarantine in Jefferson County

News release from state Department of Agriculture:
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has announced the discovery of a walnut tree killing disease, Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD), in Jefferson County. The county is now under quarantine. Hamblen County is now considered a buffer regulated county because it is adjacent to a quarantined county. Rhea County is also being placed in the buffer regulated category because Walnut Twig Beetles have been caught in the county but no TCD fungus has been found.
“We will continue to survey our forests and work to help slow the spread of the disease.” said TDA Plant Certification Administrator Gray Haun. “We are working with stakeholders to help educate citizens on the symptoms of TCD and how they can help.”
TCD is a progressive disease that may kill a tree within two to three years after initial symptoms are detected. The disease-causing fungus, Geosmithia morbida, is transmitted by the Walnut Twig Beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis. Branches and trunk tissue are killed by multiple infections of the fungus as the beetles carry the fungus from one area to the next.
TDA plant inspectors and foresters will continue to conduct a thorough survey of trees in these areas to assess the extent of the infestation and to see if more areas need to be quarantined. Counties already under quarantine for TCD include Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon, Sevier and Union. Adjacent counties to the quarantined areas are also restricted for movement of walnut products and hardwood firewood.

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TN Supreme Court Lets Rock Quarry Operate Despite Zoning Ordinance

News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
Nashville, Tenn. – In a unanimous decision, the Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated a ruling by Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood that a New Market company’s mining activities may continue under the “grandfather clause” despite the enactment of a county zoning ordinance which purported to limit the land use to agriculture.
From the 1880s until 1967, a variety of owners intermittently conducted mining activities on a property in Jefferson County. American Limestone, which sold its interest to Ready Mix, USA, LLC during the lengthy proceedings in the trial court, had re-initiated mining operations only weeks before the county enacted a comprehensive zoning ordinance, which would have prevented use of the land for quarrying gravel or crushed stone. The county issued a stop work order once the ordinance was enacted.
Today, the Tennessee Supreme Court decided that the quarry owned by Ready Mix is protected by the “grandfather clause,” a statute that permits a business to continue if “in operation” at a time a zoning ordinance, which would otherwise prohibit the activity, takes effect. In a unanimous opinion, which included a separate concurrence by Justice William C. Koch, Jr., the Court reversed a ruling by the Court of Appeals, which had dismissed the claim on procedural grounds.
To read the Ready Mix, USA, LLC v. Jefferson County, Tennessee opinion authored by Justice Gary R. Wade visit . https://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/ready_mix_opn.pdf
To read the concurring opinion by Justice William C. Koch, Jr., visit https://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/readymix_con.pdf.

TN Supreme Court Upholds City’s Ban on Fireworks in Annexed Area

News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Supreme Court today upheld previous rulings by the trial court and the Court of Appeals that a city ordinance prohibiting the sale of fireworks inside city limits did apply to businesses incorporated into the city even though the business had been selling fireworks since 2006.
In Nov. 2003, Jefferson City passed an ordinance prohibiting the sale of fireworks within its city limits. Five years later, the city annexed neighboring property which included several businesses. Salvage Unlimited (SNPCO, Inc.) was one of those businesses.
Salvage Unlimited had been selling fireworks since 2006. After annexation, it asked the city for permission to continue selling fireworks despite the ban. Jefferson City denied the request. Salvage Unlimited then sued the city basing its argument on the “Grandfather Statute” (Tenn. Code Ann. ยง 13-7-208 (b)). The statute permits businesses to continue operating after their property is rezoned, even though the particular business being conducted on the property would be prohibited by newly-enacted zoning restrictions.
The Circuit Court for Jefferson County ruled that the city’s ban on the sale of fireworks was not a zoning ordinance and therefore did not fall under the grandfather provision in the zoning laws. The Court of Appeals affirmed this decision.
In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court agreed with the trial court and the Court of Appeals. The Court ruled that Salvage Unlimited could not rely on the grandfather provision in the zoning laws as justification for continuing to sell fireworks within the city limits of Jefferson City.
To read the SNPCO, Inc. v. City of Jefferson City opinion authored by Justice William C. Koch, Jr., visit http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/snpcoopn.pdf

A Stud Horse License, a Fox Pelt Receipt & Davy Crockett’s Marriage License

In an opinion released this week, the state Court of Appeals is rejecting an elderly Tampa, Fla., woman’s claim that she is the rightful owner of a marriage license issued to Davy Crockett in Jefferson County in 1805 — long before the Greene County native’s death at the Alamo made him a hero.
More from Jamie Satterfield’s story:
Margaret Vance Smith, who is in her 90s, has been locked in a years-long battle with Jefferson County officials over the document, which has been in her family’s possession since at least the 1940s. She contends that either her uncle, who then was Jefferson County court clerk, or her father essentially rescued the document from the trash bin at a time when county officials were tossing out unwanted filings.
After all, she argued in her appeal, by the early 19th century Crockett was, historically speaking, all washed up, and Jefferson County officials saw no value in hanging onto a document that memorialized the frontiersman being dumped at the altar. He didn’t become the stuff of legend, she insisted, until Walt Disney made a popular television series about him.
Jefferson County officials countered the marriage license was a valued historical document purloined by the Vance brothers. In a 2010 trial, Jefferson County officials trotted out a slew of historically insignificant documents that the county maintains in its archives to this day.
“(It) defies logic that Jefferson County would keep and store a stud horse license (issued in 1859) and fox pelt receipt (logged in 1860) but not the marriage license of David Crockett, hero of the Alamo and arguably the greatest frontiersman in United States history,” the appellate court opinion quotes the county’s legal counsel as arguing.
In its opinion, authored by Appellate Judge John W. McClarty, the court agreed.

Note: the full opinion is HERE.