Metro Nashville’s fourteen Community Plans are future planning documents adopted by the Metropolitan Planning Commission that describe the role each community plays in realizing the overall vision of the County – what residential, commercial, office, and open space each community will house for the County. Community Plans are prepared by the Metro Planning Department in cooperation with residents, business owners, institutional representatives, developers, and elected officials.
The 2017 NashvilleNext update included all the community plans. Community Plans can also be amended as necessary, with input from community members, private investors, local institutions, and other Metro agencies. The process for updating community plans is open to the public and includes significant community participation. Sometimes a plan amendment is generated by a property owner’s request and application. At other times, an amendment occurs as part of a Local Planning Study.
Community Character (land use) policies are applied to every area. Each plan is guided by the Community Character Manual (“CCM”), a countywide document which provides design details for policies and their direction, in alignment with NashvilleNext, for zoning and development decisions.
Community Character Manual policies, and their transects, have a limited role in subdividing land. Transects determine which section of the Subdivision Regulations apply to a subdivision request to ensure harmonious development in light of a community's long-range vision. Community Character Manual policies are not otherwise referenced during subdivision review.
How are the plans implemented?
The community, the Planning Department, the Metro Planning Commission, and the Metro Council use each plan as a starting point to discuss and guide public and private investment in the area, including proposed zoning changes, and public facilities (streets, sidewalks, parks, greenways, schools, stormwater, etc.)
What is the difference between land use policies and zoning?
Land use (community character) policies are more general. For example, is a particular area residential or commercial? Policies guide decisions when someone seeks to change their legal land use entitlements, such as zoning. Community Plans do not alter the existing zoning on properties.
Zoning classifications outline how you can legally use your property. Zoning is more specific, and is built upon the policy. For example, what do residential lots look like in your neighborhood (acreage; setbacks from the street and from adjacent houses; single-family, two-family or multi-family; density and intensity)?
Both zoning and land use policy represent professional planning principles applied to Nashville/Davidson County and community members' vision of how they want the city to grow.
How can I be involved?
Community members help determine an area's land use policy through the Community Plan process, and by participating in the process as Plans are amended. Community consensus and support are vitally important – work with your neighbors and community members to reach agreement and share your collective vision.
After the Community Plan Update is approved by the Metro Planning Commission, the land use (community character) policy it includes becomes the foundation of zoning choices. Planners then refer to that policy as they review development applications and make recommendations to the Planning Commission. After the plan is established, community groups help ensure proper implementation by staying involved in zone changes and other development coming to the area.