The Commissioner — Fall 2002

Tennessee Mandates Training for Planning Commissioners

In a what may be a developing nationwide trend, Tennessee has created state legislation that requires training for members of planning commissions and zoning boards of appeal. Tennessee's law follows in the footsteps of a similar law passed in Kentucky. The Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals Training and Continuing Education Act of 2002 (Senate Bill 2412, Ch. 862) specifies this requirement:

Each planning commissioner shall, within one year of initial appointment and each calendar year thereafter, attend a minimum of four hours of training and continuing education in one or more of the subjects listed in subdivision (5) of this subsection.

The topics for which planning commissioners must receive training include: land-use planning, zoning, floodplain management, transportation, community parliamentary procedure, public hearing procedure, land-use law, natural resources and agriculture land conservation, economic development, housing, public buildings, land subdivision, and powers and duties of the planning commission.

The act also requires professional planners or other administrative officials whose duties include advising the planning commission to obtain eight hours of training each year. Clearly, both Kentucky and Tennessee see education as an important component of good planning. The legislation allows local legislative bodies to opt out of the provisions "by passage of a resolution or ordinance, as appropriate" and opt back in at a later date.

Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals Training and Continuing Education Act of 2002, Public Chapter 862