Tennessee State Capitol. (Photo: John Partipilo)
In Tennessee local governments have long required developers to dedicate portions of their land for public use — to widen roads or add sidewalks, for example — often over the developers’ objections.
Last year, Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta, and Rep. Ryan Williams, D-Cookeville, introduced a bill to try and limit local government’s authority over such developments.
But a 65-page study issued by the Tennessee Advisory Committee on Intergovernmental Relations is recommending against the measure —which would have halted a longstanding practice of local governments in Tennessee requiring property owners to dedicate land for public use in exchange for approval of their projects.
The report noted that courts have found so-called “dedications” of private land for public use are a constitutional way for governments to regulate land when new developments add to a community’s infrastructure needs and incur other public costs.
Disputes over the extent of local government’s authority in development have multiplied in rapidly growing areas in Tennessee. The bill proposed by Bailey and Williams is backed by development interests seeking less burdensome restrictions.
The TACIR study came at the request of the House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, after continuing debate of the measure.
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