Rep. Carter pushes bill to keep Chattanooga from 'cherry picking' areas to annex

Rep. Carter pushes bill to keep Chattanooga from 'cherry picking' areas to annex

February 14th, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

Mike Carter talks with reporters outside the Hamilton County Commission room in this file photo.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - State Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, is pressing legislation aimed at blocking what he calls efforts by Chattanooga to "cherry pick" affluent suburbs outside its current urban growth boundary plan.

"I call it the Ryan's buffet rule," Carter told House Local Government Subcommittee Wednesday, alluding to the all-you-can-eat restaurant chain. "We don't care how much you eat. Just eat all that's on your plate before you go back and get another plate."

The bill would affect all cities. The panel, despite reservations voiced by one member about its impact in his district, moved the bill to full committee.

Under a 1998 Tennessee law, cities are required to create urban growth boundaries where they expect to extend as a solution to urban sprawl.

"We're finding, particularly in my district, the city of Chattanooga has an enormous urban growth area that they're allowed to annex," Carter said. "Yet they're selecting not to annex those areas which they agreed to annex when they first came to annex under the urban growth plan."

Chattanooga wants "to open their urban growth plan and go out into what has turned into more wealthy areas and cherry-pick areas and create or expand urban growth boundaries," Carter said. "This bill would say that before you can open your urban growth plan you must annex all areas within your currently existing urban growth area."

Officials with the Tennessee Municipal League, which represents cities' interests, are looking at the legislation.

For complete details, see Friday's Chattanooga Times Free Press.