2016 Tennessee Code
Title 4 - State Government
Chapter 1 - General Provisions
Part 4 - Miscellaneous
§ 4-1-412. Tennessee heritage protection.
(a) For purposes of this section:
(1) "Commission" means the Tennessee historical commission;
(2) "Historic conflict" means any war, battle, or military conflict in which citizens of the United States or any state or territory of the United States have participated in, including, but not limited to, the French and Indian War, American Revolution, War of 1812, United States-Mexican War, the War Between the States, Spanish American War, the Mexican border period, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada), Operation El Dorado Canyon (Libya), Operation Just Cause (Panama), Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm (Persian Gulf War I), Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Persian Gulf War II);
(3) "Historic entity" means any entity recognized as having state, national, military, or historical significance;
(4) "Historic event" means any event recognized as having state, national, military, or historical significance;
(5) "Historic figure" means any individual who has been recognized as having served in any historic conflict, historic event, historic entity, public office, or in public service;
(6) "Historic organization" means any entity that has as one (1) or more of its material missions as the recognition or preservation of any historic conflict, historic entity, historic event, or historic figure;
(7) "Memorial" means:
(A) Any public real property or park, preserve, or reserve located on public property that has been named or dedicated in honor of any historic conflict, historic entity, historic event, historic figure, or historic organization; or
(B) Any statue, monument, memorial, bust, nameplate, plaque, artwork, flag, historic display, school, street, bridge, or building that has been erected for, named, or dedicated on public property in honor of any historic conflict, historic entity, historic event, historic figure, or historic organization; and
(8) "Public property" means all property owned, leased, rented, managed, or maintained by or under the authority of this state, any county, municipality, metropolitan government, or any other public entity that is created by act of the general assembly to perform any public function.
(b) (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, no memorial regarding a historic conflict, historic entity, historic event, historic figure, or historic organization that is, or is located on, public property, may be removed, renamed, relocated, altered, rededicated, or otherwise disturbed or altered.
(2) Notwithstanding subdivision (b)(1), a public entity having responsibility for maintaining a memorial, or a nonprofit entity acting with permission of the public entity, shall have the authority to take proper and appropriate measures, and exercise proper and appropriate means, for the care, preservation, protection, repair, and restoration of the memorial.
(c) (1) A public entity exercising control of a memorial may petition the commission for a waiver of subdivision (b)(1).
(2) The petition for waiver shall be in writing and shall state the basis upon which the waiver is sought. The petition shall be supported by one (1) or more reports showing that there is a material or substantial need for a waiver based on historical or other compelling public interest. The petition shall also identify by name and address any private entities, groups, or individuals, including, but not limited to, descendants, that may have an interest in receiving notice of the petition. The petition for waiver shall be filed with the commission with proof of public notice as required by subdivision (c)(3).
(3) Prior to filing the petition for waiver, the public entity seeking a waiver shall publish notice of the petition for waiver on the web site of the public entity, if any, and in at least one (1) newspaper of general circulation serving the area of the memorial and one (1) in Davidson County. The notice shall state the basis on which the waiver is sought and shall provide that a copy of the petition and all supporting reports will be provided to any interested party at no cost upon written request submitted to the public entity filing or intending to file the petition for waiver.
(4) An initial hearing before the commission on a petition for waiver shall be scheduled at any regular commission meeting no sooner than sixty (60) calendar days after a petition is filed. At the initial hearing, the commission shall determine which interested entities, groups, or individuals should be given written notice by the public entity, including copies of the petition and supporting reports. The public entity may be directed to provide supplemental notice by publication if deemed necessary by the commission. If an amendment to the petition is filed, the public entity shall provide supplemental notice. If supplemental notice is required either by the commission or as a result of an amendment, notice shall be given in the same manner as notice required pursuant to subdivision (c)(3).
(5) A final hearing before the commission on a petition for waiver shall be scheduled at any regular commission meeting no sooner than one hundred eighty (180) calendar days after a petition is filed; provided, that if an amendment to the petition is filed, then no final hearing shall be scheduled until at least one hundred eighty (180) calendar days have elapsed from the date of the filing of the amendment.
(6) An interested entity, group, or individual shall be afforded an opportunity to offer public comments regarding a petition for waiver at any commission hearing on a petition. An interested entity, group, or individual may file a memorandum, report, study, letter, or other document related to the petition for consideration by the commission prior to the final hearing on the petition. Upon providing written notice at least three (3) business days prior to a final hearing, an interested entity, group, or individual shall be allowed an opportunity to present relevant testimony or evidence at the final hearing on a petition.
(7) All hearings regarding a petition for waiver shall be recorded. Copies of the record and all exhibits shall be available to any interested entity, group, or individual at the cost of the public entity seeking the waiver.
(8) (A) In order for a waiver to be granted, the public entity seeking the waiver shall demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that a material or substantial need for a waiver based on historical or other compelling public interest exists; provided, that if a memorial is designated as a national historic landmark or listed on the national register of historic places, there shall be a presumption in favor of preservation of the memorial.
(B) At the final hearing, the commission may grant a petition for waiver, in whole or in part, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the entire membership of the commission by roll call vote. The commission may include reasonable conditions and instructions to ensure that a memorial is preserved and remains publicly accessible to the greatest extent possible. Any petition for waiver that fails to receive a two-thirds (2/3) vote shall be denied. 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.
(9) 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.
(d) Any person who can demonstrate a real interest in a memorial through aesthetic, architectural, cultural, economic, environmental, or historic injury, or through administrative involvement in the waiver process, has standing to seek injunctive relief in chancery court of Davidson County to enforce this section. To the extent necessary to preserve the status of any memorial prior to a final determination by the commission or the chancery court, the court may issue an injunction to preserve the memorial and any related public property pending a final ruling on any request for injunctive relief. No bond shall be required for any injunction issued.
(e) (1) This section shall apply to any memorial in existence prior to January 1, 1970, and those lawfully created, erected, named, or dedicated on or after January 1, 1970.
(2) This section shall not apply to any memorial located on public property under the control of, or acquired by, the department of transportation which may interfere with the construction, maintenance, or operation of the public transportation system. The department shall strive to ensure that any memorial is preserved to the greatest extent possible.
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