The county legislative body is authorized to regulate land areas outside incorporated municipalities in such matters as the location and size of buildings; the percentage of a lot that may be occupied; the size of yards, courts, and other open spaces; the density and distribution of population; and the uses of buildings and land. T.C.A. § 13-7-101. To carry out this authority the county legislative body may implement the zoning plans created by the regional planning commission.
After a planning commission certifies a zoning plan, including both the text of a zoning ordinance and a zoning map, then the county legislative body must hold a public hearing on the plan. Statutory requirements regarding notice, publication, and amendment procedures must be observed before the zoning ordinance can take effect. T.C.A. §§ 13-7-104, 13-3-105.
In formulating a zoning scheme, the regional planning commission may develop a single plan or successive plans for parts of the county it deems appropriate for development. These plans divide the territory of a county lying outside incorporated municipalities into zoning districts. All regulations must be uniform for each class of building throughout the district, but the regulations in one district may differ from those in another. The zoning plan may also provide for the transfer of development rights. T.C.A. § 13-7-101(a)(2). If the county legislative body chooses to enact the zoning plan for more or less territory than that encompassed in the plan certified by the planning commission, then it must resubmit the plan to the commission for approval. If the revised plan is disapproved by the commission, then at least two-thirds (2/3) of the entire county legislative body membership must vote for its approval for the revision to pass. T.C.A. § 13-7-102.