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Tennessee Heritage Protection Act

Tennessee Historical Commission

The mission of the Tennessee Historical Commission is to protect, preserve, interpret, maintain, and administer historic places, and to encourage the inclusive diverse study of Tennessee's history for the benefit of future generations.

The Tennessee Historical Commission consists of twenty-nine members. Twenty-four members are appointed by the Governor. The twenty-four members appointed by the Governor are equally divided among the three grand divisions of the state. There are five ex officio members: the Governor, the State Historian, the State Archaeologist, the Commissioner of Environment and Conservation, and the State Librarian and Archivist. The Tennessee Historical Commission typically meets each February, June, and October and has purview over policies of the state programs of the agency and approves the budget. The members of the Tennessee Historical Commission are responsible for considering and voting on petitions for  waiver under the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act.

The Tennessee Historical Commission is supported by a professional full-time staff that is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the State Historic Preservation Office and other state and federal programs. The staff cannot vote on petitions for waiver under the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act.

 

Tennessee Heritage Protection Act

The Tennessee Heritage Protection Act was initially enacted in 2013 and amended in 2016 and 2018. Generally, the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act prohibits the removal, relocation, or renaming of a memorial that is, or is located on, public property.

A public entity exercising control of a memorial may petition the Tennessee Historical Commission in writing for a waiver from the prohibition. After consideration of the petition, the Tennessee Historical Commission will vote on whether to grant or deny the waiver.

On and after May 21, 2018, a historic organization may petition the Tennessee Historical Commission to transfer ownership to the historic organization and/or relocate a memorial with the consent of the public entity exercising control of the memorial.

The citation for the Act is Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-1-412.

The Act can be found at http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/ and also at the State Library and Archives or a law library open to the public (for instance the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; the University of Memphis; or Vanderbilt University). Public libraries may also be able to provide copies.

The Tennessee Historical Commission does not have jurisdiction over a petition to remove, relocate, or rename a memorial that is submitted by an individual or entity that does not exercise control of the memorial.

The Tennessee Historical Commission cannot take actions not authorized by the Act to cause the removal, relocation, or renaming of a memorial.

 

Rulemaking and Petitions (Revised 10/8/2018)

Petition for Declaratory Order

Sons of Confederate Veterans Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp # 215 and Descendants of Nathan Bedford Forrest

On February 16, 2018, the Tennessee Historical Commission determined to convene a contested case regarding a petition for declaratory order submitted by the Descendants of Nathan Bedforrest and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp #215 and to refer the petition to be heard by an administrative law judge alone. Petition for Declaratory Order.

On April 5, 2018, an amended petition for declaratory order was submitted by the petitioners. Amended Petition.

On May 18, 2018, the Tennessee Historical Commission held a special meeting in Conference Room C on the 3rd floor of the Tennessee Tower, 312 Rosa L. Parks Ave., Nashville, TN 37243, beginning at 9:00 a.m. CDT. This meeting was held by phone conference. May 18th Agenda

During the May 18, 2018, meeting, the Tennessee Historical Commission determined to convene a contested case regarding the petition for declaratory order and to refer the petition to be heard by an administrative law judge sitting alone.

A hearing will be held on October 15, 2018. The hearing will be held in the Nashville Room located on the third floor of the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower at 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, Nashville, TN 37243, beginning at 10:00 a.m. CDT. Order Setting Hearing.

 

Petition for Waiver 

City of Chattanooga

On November 14, 2018 the Final Determination was filed with the Secretary of State, Administrative Procedures Division. 

Link to Final Determination

On  September 19, 2018 a Notice of Hearing was filed with the Secretary of State, Administrative Procedures Division . 

Link to Notice of Hearing 

The City of Chattanooga has filed a petition for waiver for memorials located on Patten Parkway.

• Link to Petition (Please allow up to 5 minutes for the Petition to load as it is large in size.)

You can also link to the petition in 3 parts: the first is the text and the other 2 parts are images of the memorials and plans for the site (the last two may take a while to load). 

The petition was submitted on April 16, 2018 pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 4-1-412 of the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act of 2016. The City of Chattanooga has requested the Tennessee Historical Commission to include the petition on the June 15, 2018 agenda for an initial hearing. At the initial hearing, the Tennessee Historical Commission will determine which interested entities, groups, or individuals should be given written notice by the City of Chattanooga. 

Organizations that may have an interest in receiving notice of the petition.

October meeting video

Petition for Waiver

Middle Tennessee State University and Tennessee Board of Regents

The Tennessee Historical Commission met on February 16, 2018, at 10:00 am EST / 9:00 am CST.

The meeting was held in the Multimedia Room on the 3rd Floor of the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee, 37243.

Link to Agenda

Link to recording of meeting

On the agenda was the final hearing regarding a petition for waiver filed by Middle Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Board of Regents to change the name of a building located on the Middle Tennessee State University campus from Forrest Hall to Army ROTC Building. The hearing was held in the presence of Administrative Law Judge Thomas G. Stovall and the Tennessee Historical Commission.

A Final Order was issued on March 19, 2018 pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated Section 4-1-412. Tennesse Code Annotated Section 4-1-412(c)(8 ) provides, in relevant part, as follows:

Within thirty (30) calendar days from the final hearing, the final determination of the commission shall be reduced to writing and shall state the commission’s findings and the grounds on which the relief is granted or denied. The effective date of the determination shall be not less than one hundred twenty (120) calendar days after notice of the commission’s determination is posted on the web site of the commission. Copies of the final determination shall be sent to the public entity seeking the waiver and to each interested entity, group, or individual who testified or submitted evidence at the final hearing.

A public entity seeking a waiver or interested entity, group, or individual who testified or submitted evidence at the final hearing who is aggrieved by the final determination of the commission on the petition for a waiver may file a petition for review in the chancery court of Davidson County or, alternatively, in the county in which the memorial is located or, in the case of a memorial that is located in multiple counties, the county in which the memorial is predominantly located. A petition for review shall be filed within sixty (60) calendar days after notice of the commission’s determination is posted on the web site of the commission. The court shall conduct a de novo review on the record of the issues. The review shall be conducted without a presumption that the determinations and findings of the commission are correct. Additional evidence may be introduced and considered by the court.

Final Order – posted March 20, 2018

Link to the Notice of Hearing for the Petition for Waiver

 


Petition for Declaratory Order

City of Memphis and Memphis City Council

The Tennessee Historical Commission met on January 19, 2018, at 10:00 am EST / 9:00 am CST, to determine whether to review the Initial Order issued by Judge Hilliard, APD, dismissing the Petition for Declaratory Order submitted by the City of Memphis and Memphis City Council regarding application of the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act of 2013 to the equestrian statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest located in Memphis. The Commission determined not to review the intial order. The order became final on January 23, 2018.

The Initial Order can be accessed here.

 

Petition for Declaratory Order

Friends of Fort Negley

The Tennessee Historical Commission determined not to review the initial order issued by Judge Hilliard, APD, dismissing the petition at its February 16, 2018, regular meeting.

The Initial Order can be accessed here.

The Tennessee Historical Commission met on November 9, 2017, at 10:00 am EST / 9:00 am CST, to determine whether to convene a contested case hearing as provided in Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-223, regarding the Petition for Declaratory Order submitted by the Friends of Fort Negley, Inc. relative to historic Fort Negley located in Nashville, Tennessee. The Tennessee Historical Commission voted to request an administrative law judge sitting alone to consider the petition. 

The Petition for Declaratory Order requests that the Tennessee Historical Commission issue an order finding that the Fort Negley property, including the land that was previously the location of Greer Stadium, is covered by and included in the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act of 2016 as a memorial.

 The Petition for Declaratory Order can be accessed here.

 

Petition for Waiver

City of Memphis

The petition by the City of Memphis to move the Forrest Statue from Health Sciences Park was submitted under the 2013 Act, prior to the passage of the 2016 Act. It was considered under the provisions of the 2013 Act, and was the only waiver application before the Commission to be considered under the 2013 Act. The Commission denied the petition October 13, 2017.

Rulemaking

The Tennessee Historical Commission held a public hearing on June 13, 2017, regarding rules establishing criteria for consideration of petitions.

The Tennessee Historical Commission discussed and approved the rules at its meeting October 13, 2017 in Athens, Tennessee.

The Government Operations Rule Review Committee recommended approval of the rules December 13, 2017.

The rules will take effect January 17, 2018. 

 

Rulemaking Hearing Rule(s) Filing Form