Powers to Prevent and Abate Nuisances

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In 2002, the General Assembly amended a part of the County Powers Act to authorize counties without zoning to exercise the certain regulatory powers granted to municipalities under T.C.A. § 6-2-201(22) and (23). T.C.A. § 5-1-118.  The powers are described in the law as the ability to:

  • Define, prohibit, abate, suppress, prevent and regulate all acts, practices, conduct, businesses, occupations, callings, trades, uses of property and all other things whatsoever detrimental, or liable to be detrimental, to the health, morals, comfort, safety, convenience or welfare of the inhabitants of the municipality, and exercise general police powers; and
  • Prescribe limits within which business occupations and practices liable to be nuisances or detrimental to the health, morals, security or general welfare of the people may lawfully be established, conducted or maintained.  T.C.A § 6-2- 201(22) and (23).

The next year, the General Assembly revisited the statute and expanded its application to allow all counties the ability to use these powers after adoption of a local resolution by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the county legislative body.

Limitations on the Exercise of Regulatory Authority.  While this new authority is a broad expansion of county regulatory power, the grant of authority came with several restrictions.  The exercise of these powers by counties is limited in a number of ways by both the statute itself and the state and federal constitutions.