Aug 20 2013

From the Tennessee Supreme Court...

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court held that the Right to Farm Act does not bar a homeowner’s nuisance lawsuit against a farm that hosted amplified music concerts.

Velda Shore retired to a subdivision in rural Blount County in 2003. The subdivision was adjacent to Maple Lane Farms, which was owned and operated by Robert Schmidt. In addition to raising crops and livestock, Mr. Schmidt hosted spring and fall festivals that included a variety of public attractions, including music concerts.

Ms. Shore complained to county officials about the noise and traffic caused by the concerts. In 2008, the Blount County Board of Zoning Appeals decided that Mr. Schmidt could hold only one concert per year at Maple Lane Farms. After Mr. Schmidt ignored the board’s decision, Ms. Shore filed suit alleging that the concerts were a nuisance and violated local zoning regulations.

The Chancery Court for Blount County dismissed Ms. Shore’s suit based on its conclusions that the Tennessee Right to Farm Act shielded Mr. Schmidt from nuisance liability and that all the activities at Maple Lane Farms were exempted from local zoning regulations. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, concluding that the activities on the farm met the state’s legal definition of agritourism and were permitted.

The Supreme Court granted Ms. Shore’s appeal and reversed the dismissal of her case. The Court decided that the Right to Farm Act did not apply to the music concerts at Maple Lane Farms because they were not connected to the production of crops and livestock. The Court also decided that Ms. Shore had presented enough evidence to permit her nuisance claim to proceed. Finally, the Court determined that the concerts were not exempted from the local zoning regulations.

Read the Velda J. Shore v. Maple Lane Farms, LLC Opinion, authored by Justice William C. Koch.


Mike Meares represented Velda

Mike Meares represented Velda Shore in her appeal before the State Supreme Court.

right to farm act

Is the TN legislature proposing legislation to gut the August 19 2013 decision by supreme court to allow local zoning boards to restrict activities on farms to commonsense agriculture and agritainment? Is Farm Bureau involved with this? If bills exist, what are they?

see knoxviews-

(link...) and get an understanding of how this Blount County problem is going to cause bigger problems all over the state. Note, this is not restricted to rural county lands or only parcels in Greenbelt tax reduction. We have farm lands in cities!!! And of course it is a FB issue. It's proudly noted in their newest monthly publication.

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