NASHVILLE - Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, has placed one controversial anti-annexation measure on hold but is moving ahead with another in a House subcommittee next week.
The bill requires a local referendum vote first be held and a proposed annexation be approved before any city can annex territory within its existing urban growth plan. Carter's measure is scheduled to be heard in the Local Government Subcommittee on Wednesday.
Other legislation Carter has requires a municipality provide all promised public services to areas that it is already supposed to serve before attempting annex more property.
Meanwhile, Carter has taken off notice - at least for now - another bill requiring mayors first annex all territory in their existing urban growth plan before trying to amend the plan. The bill remains in the House Calendar and Rules Committee, its last stop before going to the House floor for a final vote. Cities have objected to the legislation.
Carter, an attorney, said he has been involved in annexation procedures for 25 years and has "filed this legislation to make the overall process more fair and efficient for all interested parties. I believe in responsible growth and that mutual respect should be afforded to all citizens, both city and county, with regard to the annexation process."
He said his legislative package "is a definite step in that direction and is why I have decided to move forward with these bills."
Carter, also a former top Hamilton County mayoral aide, said Tennessee is "one of only three states in the nation that allows a city to seize the private property of an individual without that individual having any say in the process.
"Even California is more conservative on this issue as they require a referendum vote in order for a municipality to annex property," Carter added. "In all my life, I never would have thought our state would have to look to California for leadership on fair property rights legislation."