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Accessory Dwelling Units in Historic Overlays

Detached Accessory Dwelling Units are allowed in certain zones within some historic zoning overlays. For more details please review Ordinance No. BL2011-900.

Restrictive Covenant. Before Preservation or Building Permits may be issued, the applicant shall record with the register’s office a covenant that the detached accessory dwelling is being established accessory to a principal structure and may only be used under the conditions required in the ordinance. The Covenant Instrument Number should be included on the Preservation Permit Application to prevent delays in permit issuance. For information about recording a Restrictive Covenant visit the website of the Davidson County Register of Deeds.


“Accessory apartment” means a secondary dwelling unit, attached to a single-family residence, the principal dwelling unit on a lot. The accessory apartment dwelling shall be subordinate in size, height, and purpose to the principal dwelling.

“Accessory dwelling, detached”, also referred to as Detached Accessory Dwelling, means a detached dwelling unit separate from the principal structure on a lot located within a Historic Overlay District. The dwelling shall be clearly subordinate in size, height, and purpose to the principal structure, it shall be located on the same lot as the principal structure, but may be served by separate utility meter(s) and is detached from the principal structure. A detached accessory dwelling can be an independent structure or it can be a dwelling unit above a garage, or it can be attached to a workshop or other accessory structure on the same lot as the principal structure.


Properties that are zoned R80-R6, RM2-RM20-A, RM40-RM100A, OR20-OR40A and ORI and ORI-A AND in an historic overlay are eligible. To find out how your property is zoned, search Nashville property maps information.


An accessory dwelling unit should follow the design guidelines for the historic overlay and Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit standards.

Restrictive Covenant Form for Detached Accessory Dwelling Units