Mutual Boundary Adjustment: Informing Residents and Landowners

Currently, Tennessee allows adjacent cities to adjust their mutually shared boundaries by contract without giving notice or holding a public hearing.  These boundary adjustments are permitted to avoid boundary lines that do not align with streets, lot lines, or rights-of-way but may have important consequences for those being shifted from one city to another, for example, a change in tax regime, change in school district, or a change in level of services provided.

Ten other states allow mutual adjustments outside the normal annexation and deannexation processes.  Four, like Tennessee, have no notice or hearing requirements.  Six require notice; four of those also require a hearing.  Because these boundary adjustments may have significant consequences for residents and landowners, cities should be required to give notice and hold a public hearing before finalizing them.