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Sidewalk Requirements

Sidewalk Ordinance

In July, 2019, the Metro Council approved Substitute Ordinance No. BL2019-1659. This ordinance updated Metro Nashville's Sidewalks Requirements in the Metro Zoning Code effective September 1, 2019. This ordinance improves the implementation process and affords greater flexibility than sidewalk regulations passed in April, 2017. Additionally, it reiterates the standards in the Zoning Code but creates an administrative review process in limited circumstances for Metro departments to consider a sidewalk waiver based upon technical criteria.

Sidewalk Requirements for Design and Construction

The Sidewalk Requirements Frequently Asked Questions explains the ordinance and sidewalk requirements.

To find out if sidewalk construction is required on a property, use the Sidewalks Requirement Map and enter the address, parcel number, or current owner along with the development type.

sidewalk requirements map

Attention builders developing two-family residential horizontal property regimes: You must enter the parcel number of the common area to get an accurate result. You will not get an accurate result if you enter the address or parcel number of the individual unit(s).

The Codes Department makes the final determination on sidewalk requirements in all building and renovation permit reviews.

Design Standards

Sidewalk design standards (grass strip and sidewalk widths) are based on the functional class and location within the city. To view sidewalk design standards:

  1. Enter the address in the Major and Collector Street Plan Map.
  2. Click on the adjacent street segment. You will see an information box indicating the widths. If the street is not in the Major and Collector Street Plan or is shown in gray on the map, the Metro Local Street standard is a four feet of grass strip and five feet of sidewalk.
  3. For multi-family and nonresidential development or redevelopment, street trees shall be required within the grass strip/green zone or frontage zone for any sidewalk constructed within a center designated in the general plan.

Construction Plans

Use the Construction Plans for Sidewalk Design Worksheet to ensure information is adequate for Public Works to review sidewalk design.


To dedicate right-of-way when it is required for sidewalk construction or future sidewalk construction, use one of the following agreements:

In-Lieu of Fund Contribution

Metro Public Works has completed the annual assessment of average sidewalk costs required by Ordinance BL2016-493 and has set the in-lieu contribution amount for fiscal year 2021 at $186 per linear foot. This calculation is based on a three-year rolling average of Metro’s contracted sidewalk construction costs and Public Works engineering costs.

To pay In-Lieu or request a waiver, please email a waiver request form to and

Payments can be made by either using Metro Nashville’s ePermits website.

Alternative Sidewalk Designs and Administrative Sidewalk Waivers

The Sidewalk Waiver Tracker is now available for applicants and the public to track the decision-making process. Generally, Metro staff follow these steps:

  1. Permit applicants seeking sidewalk waivers will submit the waiver request with the Zoning Examiners in the Metro Codes Department.
  2. Metro Codes Department will post the waiver request on Metro's Sidewalk Tracker website. (The website currently is under development, and it will be able to track waiver requests by property address and/or map and parcel number.)
  3. Metro Codes Department will notify the District Councilmember by way of the Council Office of each waiver request. No sidewalk waiver will be granted for at least five business days from the date the notification was sent to the Councilmember, per the Metro Code.
  4. Metro Codes Department will forward the waiver request to Metro Planning Department, which will coordinate the review and recommendations of various agencies.
  5. Anyone with concerns or comments about the waiver email Planning Department staff will review all comments prior to making a recommendation. The Zoning Administrator will review all comments prior to granting or denying a waiver request.
  6. The Planning Department will review all comments, then in conjunction with the departments of Public Works and Stormwater will write a recommendation to the Zoning Administrator.
  7. Anyone can view the recommendation on Metro's Sidewalk Waiver Tracker website, and send comments about the recommendation to
  8. The Zoning Administrator will review all comments prior to granting or denying a waiver request. If new information is provided that was not previously considered, Planning staff reserves the right to issue a new recommendation to the Zoning Administrator.
  9. After at least five days have passed from the date of the recommendation, the Zoning Administrator will make a final decision on the waiver request. The decision will be posted on the Sidewalk Waiver Tracker website. Waiver requests may be approved, approved with conditions, or denied.
  10. Applicants unsatisfied with a decision can file a sidewalk variance request with the Board of Zoning Appeals. Dissatisfied neighbors or other parties can file an Item A Appeal of the Zoning Administrator's Decision with the Board of Zoning Appeals.