Bill halts some city-initiated annexations for year
By Iva Butler | (email@example.com)
The Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation in its latest session that could change the whole approach to annexation that the state has followed for decades
That is the opinion of Maryville assistant city manager and legislative liaison Roger Campbell.
Gov. Bill Haslam has not yet signed the bill, making it law, but Campbell expects him to endorse the bill.
The bill could also have very little effect at all on Maryville.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Mike Carter and Sen. Bo Watson of Chattanooga after an annexation issue there.
The legislature placed a moratorium on certain aspects of annexation for 13 months, Campbell said. The moratorium runs from April 15, 2013, to May 15, 2014.
Before the moratorium, the two ways that property could be annexed was by ordinance, which means a city initiated the action, or petition by the property owners.
The moratorium bans any annexation by ordinance of property being used for residential or agricultural uses all across the state except for those with metropolitan forms of government, Campbell said. Excluded are Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County, Trousdale/Hartsville and Moore County (which includes Lynchburg).
Currently the city of Maryville “has not started any annexation of anything,” he added.
Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor said “it’s too early to tell” what impact the bill will have on Maryville.
“It depends on how they interpret it. It only applies to agricultural and residential property, and most of the property along the major highways is zoned Business/Transportation or Suburbanizing. It doesn’t look like it will have a significant impact on the city at this time. “We’re not panicking yet. We’re waiting to see how the state interprets the act. We should know in a week or so.”The issue could possibly be a problem in the future.
“Generally speaking, any time there is a moratorium you don’t know what will come next,” he said.
The legislature could extend the moratorium or pass legislation prohibiting annexation by ordinance.
There is a clause that circumvents the moratorium.
If annexation was initiated by a municipality before April 15, and if the municipality would suffer substantial or demonstrable financial injury, the municipality can petition the county legislative body by a majority vote of its membership to waive restrictions imposed on such ordinance by subdivision.
The bill also directs that on or before Jan. 14, 2014, the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) must complete a comprehensive review and evaluation of state policies and submit a written report of findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the speakers of the senate and house.
Campbell said the final report will probably not be completed until November or December and to the speakers in January.
The report will then be posted on the Tennessee Legislature website.