The editor has a smart entity collision mode for tile placement.
There does not seem to be any way to do this for items, and no way to prevent entities from being destroyed if the tile is changed.
This request is to add a flag to the item's place_as_tile property:
The flag, if set to true, would check if any entities would be destroyed by placing the tile, and if any are found it would not place the tile.
For players it would mean that there is a gap in the area they placed. For robots they'd hover over the area for the tile until the area is clear (as they do when trying to place an entity where the location is blocked).
Suggested name for the flag:
.disabled_by_entity_collision = true
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