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Zoning & Subdivision


Zoning and SubdivisionZoning is the set of rules that govern how land may be used and the development standards for all property within Nashville. Zoning is necessary to protect the community health, safety and welfare. The Planning Commission makes recommendations to the Metropolitan Council on all zone changes within Nashville and Davidson County, and the Council has final approval. Community members have opportunities for input on the underlying land use policies as those policies are being set during the community planning process; both the Planning Commission and the Metropolitan Council hold public hearings on individual zone changes. Land development and planning requirements are included in Title 17 of the Metropolitan Code.

Restrictions outline how land can be used. The basic zoning categories are:

  • Agricultural
  • Residential
  • Institutional
  • Mixed use
  • Office
  • Commercial
  • Shopping center
  • Industrial

Those restrictions also control the types of buildings allowed on the property, how tall they can be, how far they must be setback from the street, and other development standards. If your property isn't zoned for your intended use, you may file a rezoning application at the Planning Department on the 2nd floor of the Metro Office Building located at 800 Second Ave South and we will guide you through the rezoning process.

Specific Plan (SP) Zoning and Overlays

In October 2005, the Metropolitan Council adopted a resolution establishing “Specific Plan District,” generally known as “SP,” zoning. SP refers to a new type of base zoning district, not an overlay, which is not subject to traditional zoning districts’ development standards. Under an SP zoning, design standards are established for that specific development and are written into the zone change ordinance. Developers who use SP zoning must still follow historic and redevelopment guidelines, subdivision and storm water regulations, and the goals and objectives of the General Plan.

  • The Urban Design Overlay, or “UDO,” defines a specific area and sets design standards for its development.
  • The Institutional Overlay provides development rules for specific areas but, unlike UDOs, institutional overlays work in cooperation with that area’s existing residential zoning.

Subdivision Regulations

The Subdivision Regulations apply throughout Nashville and Davidson County, excepting the cities of Belle Meade, Berry Hill, Forest Hills, Goodlettsville, and Oak Hill.  

Details of the subdivision process, including applications, fees, permits, and zone changes are posted on our Land Development page.