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Tennessee Growth Policy

The Tennessee General Assembly created a framework for the development of local growth policy in 1998 by enacting Public Chapter 1101, the Growth Policy Act, which has come to be known simply as "PC 1101."  The General Assembly assigned responsibility for monitoring the implementation of PC 1101 to the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR).

The act was a response to Tennessee’s rapid growth in population and land development and resulting conflicts at the local level.  According to the 2000 Census, Tennessee was the 14th fastest growing state in the nation.  Tennessee also had the 4th fastest rate of land development based on data from the 1997 National Resources Inventory.

PC 1101 required local officials within each of the 92 non-metropolitan counties to work together to shape growth policy through the development of 20-year growth plans.  The Act did not impose a single, statewide solution.  It did, however, include five statements of legislative intent:

  • to eliminate annexation or incorporation out of fear;
  • to establish incentives to annex or incorporate where appropriate;
  • to more closely match the timing of development to the provision of public services;
  • to stabilize each county's education funding base and establish an incentive for each county legislative body to be more interested in education matters; and,
  • to minimize urban sprawl.

Tennessee has continued to grow since PC 1101’s passage, although some areas are growing much faster than others.  Overall, the state’s population increased 12% since 2000 to a total of 6,346,105, according to the 2010 Census, and estimates made by the US Census Bureau show a 2017 population of 6,705,339.  The amount of developed land increased 18% from 1997 to 2012, according to the National Resources Inventory of 2012. 

The fastest growing part of the state is in the counties surrounding Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County.  Approximately one million additional people will live in the region by 2035, according to projections made by the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the regional transportation planning agency for seven counties.

PC 1101 is still in effect, although a number of amendments have been made to the original act.  It is codified in the Tennessee Code Annotated primarily under Sections 6-58-101 through 6-58-118, but it amended language in some other code sections as well.