The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Vesting Rights and Periods

Reference Number: MTAS-1992
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: July 21, 2016

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Vested property rights are established for any preliminary development plan, final development plan (where no preliminary development plan is required), or building permit issued to allow construction of a building to commence where there is no local requirement for prior approval of a preliminary development plan.

During the vesting period, the locally adopted development standards in effect on the date of approval remain the development standards applicable to that property or building during the vesting period as follows:

  • Building permit projects (no preliminary plan approval) - The vesting period commences on the date of building permit issuance and remains in effect for the period authorized by the building permit.
  • Development plan project - The vesting period applicable to a development plan is three years, beginning on the date of approval of the preliminary development plan; provided the applicant obtains final development plan approval, secure permits, and commences site preparation within the three-year vesting period.
  • If the applicant obtains approval of a final development plan, secures permits, and commences site preparation within the three-year vesting period, then the vesting period is extended an additional two years (to a total of five years) to commence construction from the date of preliminary plan approval. During the two year period, the applicant shall commence construction and maintain any necessary permits to remain vested.
  • If construction commences within the five-year vesting period following preliminary development plan approval, the development standards in effect on the date of approval remain in effect until final completion of the project, provided however, that the vesting period shall not exceed 10 years unless the city grants an extension through an ordinance or resolution; and provided further that the applicant maintain all necessary permits during the 10-year period.
  • Multi-phase projects – A separate vesting period applies for projects proceeding in two or more sections or phases (as set forth in the development plan). The development standards in effect on the date of approval of the preliminary development plan for the first section or phase remain in effect for all subsequent sections or phases; provided the total vesting period does not exceed 15 years unless the city grants an extension through an ordinance or resolution; and provided that the applicant maintain all necessary permits during the 15-year period.

A vested property right attaches to and runs with the applicable property and confers upon the applicant the right to undertake and complete the development and use such property under the terms and conditions of a development plan, including any amendments thereto or under the terms and conditions of any building permit that has been issued with respect to the property.

Responsible: