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The Planning Department’s Policies and Procedures Regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus

The Planning Department will continue to serve the public to the best of our ability, while also taking precautions outlined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Much of the Planning Department’s work takes place in neighborhoods and public meeting spaces, which presents unique challenges to the continuance of regular business. Adaptations, postponements, and cancellations will be posted on our website and social media, while we make efforts to communicate directly with all stakeholders.

Public Meetings

The Planning Department will implement the following steps, which will be frequently evaluated as guidance from the CDC evolves.

Metro Planning Commission Meetings to be Held In Person

In light of the end of the Governor’s order allowing electronic public meetings, the Planning Commission will hold regularly scheduled Planning Commission Meetings in person.

In-person Planning Commission meetings will be held at the Sonny West Conference Center at 4 p.m. on the date of the meeting. In compliance with Metro Health guidelines, unvaccinated members of the public attending in person will be encouraged to wear masks inside. The Conference Center will be laid out to ensure social distancing. Because of space limitations, Sonny West may be limited to people with an interest in the case currently being heard. The public will have a waiting room in the first floor lobby of the Howard Office Building. Staff will be available to guide the public to the appropriate location to participate in their public hearing or wait until their public hearing is beginning.

Visit our Public Comment page to send comments before and during the Planning Commission hearing.

The draft agenda will be available in Meeting Documents the Friday before each meeting.

Updates often occur, so please visit this page frequently.

Other Public Meetings

Staff is postponing all Department in-person public meetings and charettes, in line with the CDC’s guidance, until such time as it is safe to meet. In certain cases, some plan amendment community meetings are being held virtually. Others will be scheduled with applicants following the resumption of in-person public meetings. Any rescheduled meetings will be re-noticed per Metro Planning Rules and Procedures. For questions regarding plan amendment meetings, please contact Anita McCaig.

In general, decisions impacting neighborhoods will be deferred until neighborhoods are able to safely meet, consistent with CDC guidelines, to provide feedback and input.

Planning Department Procedures

The Planning Department will update our procedures and precautions regularly to align with the recommendations of public health officials. We will take the following actions to both prevent the spread of COVID-19 and maintain as much continuity to operations as possible:

Remote Work Stations

All Planning staff that are able to work from home are being asked to do so. When necessary, a minimal crew will work during business hours, but engagement with the public will be done by appointment.


In order to provide consistent service and security for important financial documents, all submittals related to Bonds will be by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, please contact Bond Officer Michelle Hollingsworth. Michelle will be monitoring emails daily and will be in touch to set up an appointment.

Do not send by mail or drop off any bond related documents without first coordinating with Michelle.

Front Counter

Pursuant to recommendations from federal, state and local health agencies, effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Metro Planning Department Development Services Center Front Counter will only be available in person to our customers through scheduled appointments. Phone and email consultations are strongly encouraged. To schedule an appointment, email the Planning Department Front Counter. A staff person will be in contact with you as quickly as possible. Every effort will be made to assist you over the phone or email if possible to minimize the need for face-to-face interactions.

Pre-application meetings

Near term pre-application meetings will be shifted to phone conferences or rescheduled as necessary. If you want to set up a pre-application conference, please email Shawn Shepard. Shawn will be monitoring emails daily and will be in touch to set up a phone call. If you have the standard pre-application form, please continue to include it in your email to Shawn and include any necessary attachments.

Submittal of Revisions for Cases Currently Under Review

If you currently have a case under review and you are ready to submit revisions, please reach out directly to the case reviewer for your project by email to arrange a time to drop off revisions. Please note: we will be coordinating with other review agencies to pick up revisions on a limited basis and will send comments as soon as adjusted schedules allow.

Other Submittals

For new submittals, mylar submittals, building permit review, or any other actions requiring payment of a fee, please email the Planning Department Front Counter. A staff person will be in contact to set up an in person meeting.

Administrative Reviews

Staff will continue to accept new submittals for administrative review. To avoid long lines associated with a set submittal deadline, we will only accept new administrative applications on an appointment basis. To schedule an appointment please email the Planning Department Front Counter. A staff person will be in contact with you as quickly as possible.

Staff will review the application to ensure that it is eligible for administrative review and that all necessary items are included before accepting payment or the application. Incomplete applications or applications requiring a public hearing will not be accepted. Administrative cases currently under review will continue to be processed to the best of our ability. Assigned review planners will coordinate with applicants.

Staff will continue to consult with applicants for design reviews, but using electronic methods and by conference call.

Procedures are Subject to Change

The guidelines above are subject to change based on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Metro Nashville Public Health Department, and the Office of the Mayor. Additionally, staff is reviewing additional opportunities to conduct business and public meetings remotely through technology. If workable solutions are found, this guidance may be revised. Staff will make every effort to notify the public and all interested stakeholders.