Archive for April, 2013

WDEF Chattanooga News Coverage – Annexation Bill HB475/SB279


Reported by: Webb Wright

“I thought this would be the simplest, easiest bill that I’ve every filed.” That’s House Bill 475, which state representative Mike Carter says is not against annexation, but for the people’s right to vote.
“47 states in the nation soon to be Tennessee being the only state in the nation that allows people’s property to be taken without a vote. We are one of the three non referendum states left in America. There have been four referendum on annexation across the state over the past three years, three have been successful by wide margins. Only one failed. ”
Some local organizations say, city governments have too much power under the current system.
“As a city wanting to expand their borders through the urban growth boundry, they don’t have to vote, they can just take over the land and the residents are stuck with it,” says Chris Matthews with Right to Vote TN.
A similar version of the bill currently in the Senate would put an 18 month moratorium on any annexation in the state of Tennessee.
Carter says he would amend his bill to add that if asked, but says he just looking to put the power in the voters hands.
“This bill only requires the public to approve what their officials are doing. When the city comes to you and they incorporate you, they double your regulation, most of the time they double your taxes, they bring the debt of that entity on to your private property and they have to stand good for it. A person who is about to have that to be done to should have a right to vote.”
Carter says he wants those who favor annexation to take their case to the people.
“They don’t have to sell me on annexation, they have to sell the people that are going to have to vote on it.”
Carter hopes to present his bill to the House finance committee for a vote on Tuesday. The senate version of the bill with the moratorium is expected to the senate floor next week.
The house version is expected to go for a vote on the house floor the following week.

Hamilton County Commission Unanimously Supports “Right To Vote”

Seal of Hamilton County, Tennessee

Hamilton County, Tennessee
(Chattanooga and surrounding areas)

Hamilton County commissioners unanimously support Tennessee State House Bill 475 and Senate Bill 279 and the citizens “Right to Vote” on annexation. The commission created a resolution on this right in Hamilton County. To hear transcript of commission meeting click link below (minutes not published yet).

Listen to Hamilton County Commission Meeting

(Right To Vote is index 0:59 -Mark West)

Bradley County officials back law on annexation vote


by Paul Leach

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County officials would like to see changes in state law to require any annexation be approved in a referendum vote by a majority of residents of the affected area.

Earlier this week, the county commission voted 13-0 on a resolution in support of proposed state legislation that would require referendum votes for any annexations. The change would eliminate the current option of processing an annexation through passage of ordinances, according to House Bill 230 and Senate Bill 731.

“[Tennessee is] one of only three states that do not do this as of now,” said Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones, a developer who was elected to the county commission last August.

“I think people should always have some input in what’s happening to property they own,” said Commissioner Terry Caywood, who asked that state legislators seriously consider similar sentiments from other counties and not table the issue for study and, eventually, bury it.

The county’s stance was announced in the wake of recent Cleveland planning discussions about the proposed annexation of eight areas around the county that would incorporate 2.41 square miles and more than 500 residents within city limits. If the annexation process goes according to schedule, it will be completed by June 13 and result in an estimated $152,755 in additional city property tax revenue annually.

The Bradley County Commission also voted 13-0 to formally request that the city accept any developer plats already approved by county inspectors within the proposed annexation areas.

Two developments within those areas — the Silver Springs subdivision near Freewill Road and a townhome development on Urbane Road — have come under scrutiny by members of the Ocoee Regional Building Association, who are concerned work will have to be redone to meet city standards.

City standards require 24-foot road widths, compared to the 22 feet required by the county, said Lake Mantooth, president of the building association. Cleveland also has more stringent setback standards.

Cleveland officials are working to address developers’ concerns, said Corey Divel, senior planner for the city’s Development and Engineering Department.

“We’ve all but got something hammered out,” Divel said of an attempt to accept development approvals previously given by the county.

The Planning Commission will meet at the municipal building at noon Thursday to discuss plans of service for the Silver Springs subdivision and the Urbane Road townhome development.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at

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BREAKING NEWS! Senate Bil 279 Clears Committee Moves to Finance Subcommittee

BREAKING NEWS! Senate Bill 279 Clears Committee Moves to Finance Subcommittee

The committee representatives clear bill 9-0 in favor to move the bill to a TACIR summer study program with a 2 year freeze on all annexations starting April 2, 2013. If any annexations are in progress they must stop until study is complete and additional legislation is recommended.

We need support for HB475 to move out of finance.

Watch Video on SB279 on floor

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