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Community Planning

Nashville uses Community Plans to guide future preservation and development decisions from zone changes to capital improvement projects like new roads and parks. Community planning in Nashville is a collaborative process where Planning Department staff work with the public to develop long range plans, neighborhoods, center, and corridors. The community planning process attempts to balance the competing needs of a variety of stakeholders and goals for the city. The process forges compromises to create a plan that improves quality of life and fosters sustainable development.

The General Plan

Tennessee law requires each municipality to create a master, or "general," plan for future growth and development. In Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County, community planning has been guided by Concept 2010: A General Plan for Nashville and Davidson County, which covers a twenty-year planning horizon.

A new General Plan will take effect in 2015. NashvilleNext, the process for generating that plan, is based on the community's vision and involvement; work so far has centered on reaching out to as many constituencies as possible, listening to community members' thoughts on Metro Nashville's potential growth and progress, and using that guidance to shape the preparation of three alternative futures.

Community Plans

Davidson County is divided into 14 communities for planning purposes. By dividing the county into smaller portions, Metro Planning staff can engage more stakeholders in each community and plan for smaller areas, achieving a greater level of detail in planning. Each of Nashville's communities has a Community Plan that is updated every 7 to 10 years through a process that engages all its community members. The plan creates a vision for the community's future preservation, growth, development, guiding land uses, urban design, streets, parks, and civic uses. These policies are then used to judge future preservation and development decisions.

Click on any of the community links to learn more about each of the fourteen communities and their local plans.

Subarea map

The Community Character Manual

After several community meetings and discussion, a unanimous vote by the Planning Commission on April 10, 2014 brought all of Nashville and Davidson County under the same land use policies. Community Character policies listed in the Community Character Manual now apply countywide.
This was a direct translation with no changes in substance, which allows all communities to be guided by the same policy language for daily development review and as the NashvilleNext process moves forward.

From 2009 through 2012, five Community Plans were updated from the older Land Use Policy Application Manual (LUPA) to the new Community Character Manual (CCM) policies. The Madison, West Nashville, North Nashville, Bellevue, and Antioch/Priest Lake plans are already using CCM policies but have been updated to reflect any adopted policy amendments.

With Planning staff working on NashvilleNext (the update to the city’s General Plan) since 2012, nine Community Plans were left using the older policies. With the adoption of the CCM translation, now those plans can take advantage of CCM’s detailed policy guidance for the built environment (these design principles include access, building form, connectivity, density/intensity, landscaping, lighting, parking, and signage). Each policy in the older plans has been translated to its corresponding CCM policy. Any existing Special Policies or Detailed Land Use Policies were carried forward for the nine community plans that were translated in April.

The Joelton, Parkwood-Union Hill, Bordeaux-Whites Creek, East Nashville, Downtown, Green Hills-Midtown, South Nashville, Southeast, and Donelson-Hermitage-Old Hickory community plans are now using CCM policies.

For purposes of these plans, when looking for land use policy, please refer to the on-ine property maps and not the maps inside the document.

Those online maps are located here; after accepting the disclaimer, expand the “Layers” box to check both the “Land Use Policy” and “Conservation” layers so that you can see any sensitive environmental features. Check the box “Adopted Special Policy Areas” to see if there are any Special Policies or Detailed Policies that affect the site you are interested in. You can find out more about any of these additional policies on the individual community plan page for the community where your site is located.

During summer and fall 2014, Planning staff will be working with communities as part of NashvilleNext to decide future areas of growth and preservation and update policies within each Community Plan as needed. Our NashvilleNext page includes details of that process and schedules of community meetings.