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Downtown Community Plan

About the Plan

The Downtown Community Plan was most recently updated in August 2017 as part of a scheduled review of the NashvilleNext long-range plan.

All of the Planning Department's fourteen Community Plans are guided by the Community Character Manual, a document which provides detailed policy guidance based on the look and feel of neighborhoods, centers, corridors and open spaces.

Subarea 9 map

The Downtown Community Plan

The Downtown Code

The Downtown Code took effect February 10, 2010, and was last amended September 6, 2016. It applies form-based principles to shape growth and development in the city center, and includes the sign standards posted below.

For more information on the Downtown Code and the Gateway UDO, please contact the Planning Department front counter at 615-862-7190 or

Downtown Code Design Review Committee

Meeting schedule and filing deadlines

Downtown Code Design Review Committee agenda archive

Downtown Code Sign Standards

The Planning Commission approved these standards on February 14, 2013, and the Metropolitan Council approved them on March 19, 2013; they took effect upon the adoption of a Council ordinance on April 2.

Applications for sign permits shall be made with and reviewed by the Codes Department.

Downtown Code sign standards

Downtown Code Overall Height Modifications

The Downtown Code outlines a process for requests of additional height above Downtown Code zoning entitlements and heights earned through use of the Bonus Height Program. For Overall Height Modification applications, the Downtown Code Design Review Committee or MDHA Design Review Committee makes a recommendation to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission reviews the height modification request and may grant additional height for exceptional design, including, but not limited to, unique architecture, an exceptionally strong streetscape, and improvement of the project's relationship to surrounding properties.

See upcoming Planning Commission meetings, deadlines, and hearings.

Downtown Code Bonus Height Program

The Bonus Height Program allows additional building height in Downtown in exchange for contribution to specified programs that provide benefits to the public. A list of properties that have used the Downtown Code Bonus Height program is available. Development rights achieved through the Downtown Code Bonus Height Program may be transferred to another site within the Downtown Code one time to one receiving site, provided the transferred height does not exceed the Bonus Height Maximum of the receiving site.

SoBro Master Plan

The South of Broadway Strategic Master Plan was completed in January 2013.

SoBro Master Plan

Gateway Urban Design Overlay

Thumbnail view of downtown Nashville

The Planning Commission adopted the Gateway Urban Design Overlay in June, 2006. An Urban Design Overlay, or UDO, is a zoning tool which requires specific design standards for development in a designated area.

It's used to either protect the pre-existing character of the area or to create a character that would not otherwise be ensured by the current development standards in the base zoning district. UDOs overlay the current base zoning and allow for development standards above and beyond those in the base zoning.

Please contact Eric Hammer, 615-862-7165, for more information about the Gateway UDO.