NASHVILLE – Today, the Beacon Center of Tennessee and the Southeastern Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit against the city of Nashville regarding its so-called “affordable housing” mandate. The Beacon Center believes that the recent ordinance passed by the city council is both unconstitutional and against state law.

Nashville’s “affordable housing” law requires builders to sell a certain percentage of units as “affordable,” meaning selling the properties below market value. The only alternative is to pay a fee to get out of the mandate, which goes to the city’s affordable housing fund.

Braden Boucek, Director of Litigation for the Beacon Center, noted, ” We are filing this lawsuit not just because we disagree with this ‘affordable housing’ plan, but because Nashville is acting unconstitutionally and in defiance of state law. Nashville has limits to its powers and cannot act as its own autonomous government.”

“Tennessee has expressly told cities they cannot pass these sorts of laws, which makes Nashville’s mandate on ‘affordable housing’ both illegal and unconstitutional,” said Boucek. “Cities are not independent and cannot pick and choose what laws they want to follow. They derive all of their authority from the state and cannot choose to ignore state law.”

Justin Owen, CEO of the Beacon Center weighed on in Nashville’s so-called affordable housing mandate by saying, “This is the Obamacare of housing. It is unfair and illegal to make private parties do the government’s job of addressing a public problem. We don’t tell grocers to take care of hunger by losing money on the food they sell. This will only drive up the cost of housing for middle-class Nashville residents. This is just another example of a liberal city pushing for unpopular and irresponsible policies in an otherwise fiscally responsible state.”

You can read the full complaint here.