published Monday, February 27th, 2012

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield, other mayors battle legislative changes on zoning laws

NASHVILLE — Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield and the mayors of Tennessee’s three other largest cities are battling legislative efforts they say threaten to wreck important parts of local zoning powers.

Proponents argue the three bills will “restore” property rights to owners.

But in visits last week with Gov. Bill Haslam and top legislative leaders, Littlefield, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton objected to the legislation as another unwarranted state intrusion on local governments.

“There are three bills that would severely damage communities’ ability to deal with non-conforming uses” of property, Littlefield said.

Non-conforming uses allow the continuation of existing commercial or manufacturing uses that are no longer technically permissible under zoning changes adopted later.

Under current laws, “there are provisions that a non-conforming use over time would be expected to go away. The provisions in the [legislative] hopper would guarantee those uses eternal life,” Littlefield said.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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