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Specific Plan District

drawing example of specific plan zoning

A "Specific Plan District,” generally known as “SP” zoning, refers to a new type of base zoning district, not an overlay, which is not subject to traditional zoning districts’ development standards. Under Specific Plan zoning, design standards established for that specific development are written into the zone change ordinance.

Developers who use Specific Plan zoning must still follow historic and redevelopment guidelines, subdivision and stormwater regulations, and the goals and objectives of the General Plan.

Find an Approved Specific Plan

Our Specific Plan Search Page includes records of every Council-approved SP, and can be searched by name or case number.


In recent years, development professionals in Nashville/Davidson County have called for additional flexibility to create developments that meet market demands, address neighborhood concerns and are suitable to the surroundings.

Meanwhile, Metro Council and its constituents have called for greater certainty that the residential, office, commercial, and industrial developments that are built actually match the plans promised to the community.

The Specific Plan District creates a new zoning district that gives developers additional flexibility up front and gives Council members and their constituents greater certainty as to the resulting project.

For the developer, the Specific Plan District has the highest level of flexibility for the design of the development.

  • It is not subject to the traditional zoning districts’ design standards.
  • Instead, urban design elements are determined for the specific development and are written into the zone change ordinance, which becomes law. Some elements that can be written into the zone change include: height and size of buildings, setbacks, buffers, signage, and materials.

For the Council member and their constituents, since the urban design elements are spelled out in the zone change ordinance and become law, there is a greater degree of certainty as to the final product.

  • The Council member can negotiate with the developer to add conditions, requirements or limitations.
  • The Council member can place a timeline on the completion of the entire development and/or phases of the development.

The developer will propose the details of the development plan and then work with the Planning Department, fellow Metro Departments, the Council member(s) and their constituents to reach a workable compromise on the design of the development and the timeline for construction.

Applications and Fees

The Specific Plan Application and Specific Plan Checklist is used for each tier, described below

  • Tier 1: $2,500
    Project is 0-5 residential units and/or less than 10,000 square feet of non-residential uses
  • Tier 2: $4,500
    Project is 6-25 residential units and/or 10,000 - 25,000 square feet of non-residential uses
  • Tier 3: $6,195
    Project is 26 or more residential units and/or greater than 25,000 square feet of non-residential uses

Zoning Letters: $100

Sign and Tenant Finish-Out Permits: No fee

A review of a building permit for interior space improvements or review of a sign permit for an individual tenant space or entire property. No signs reviewed if not visible from public rights-of way.

Building Permit Review: $250