Under the Agricultural, Forest, and Open Space Land Act of 1976, also known as the Greenbelt Law, owners of property qualifying as agricultural, forest, or open space property may have it specially valued. The act was promulgated to allow for assessment of the land based on current use, not its potential for conversion to another, higher value use.1
No person may place more than 1,500 acres of land within any one taxing jurisdiction under the provisions of the Act.2To be eligible as agricultural land, the property must meet minimum size requirements. The property must consist either of a single tract of at least 15 acres, including woodlands and wastelands, or two noncontiguous tracts within the same county, including woodlands and wastelands, one of which is at least 15 acres and the other being at least 10 acres and together constituting a farm unit.3To be eligible as forest land, the property must constitute a forest unit engaged in the growing of trees under a sound program of sustained yield management or any tract of 15 or more acres having tree growth in such quantity and quality and so managed as to constitute a forest.4Open space land is any area of land, of not less than three acres, characterized principally by open or natural conditions which is not currently in agricultural or forest use. Open space land includes greenbelt lands or lands primarily devoted to recreational use.5The Tennessee Court of Appeals has held that it is constitutionally permissible for the General Assembly to create sub-classes of real property, such as Greenbelt property, provided a constitutional valuation method is used for the sub-class.6The formula for determining the special value is set forth in T.C.A. § 67-5-1008.
1T.C.A. § 67-5-1001 et seq.
2T.C.A. §§ 67-5-1003(3), 67-5-1008(g). See also Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 88-81 (April 7, 1988).
3T.C.A. § 67-5-1004(1)(B).
4T.C.A. § 67-5-1004(4).
5T.C.A. § 67-5-1004(8).
6Marion County v. State Bd. of Equalization, 710 S.W.2d 521 (Tenn.Ct.App. 1986).