Conservation Zoning
The Richland-West End neighborhood is subject to a Conservation Zoning Overlay.

What does that mean? 
If you are planning any of the following, you must obtain a Preservation Permit from the Metropolitan Historical Zoning Commission (MHZC) in addition to obtaining your building permits from the Metro Nashville Department of Codes:
  • New construction (primary and secondary structures)
  • Additions - increased footprint, height or building envelope of an existing structure
  • Demolition (in whole or in part) 
  • Relocation of structures
  • Setback Determinations
Are there guidelines I have to follow to obtain a Preservation Permit?
Yes. You may view the Richland-West End Neighborhood Conservation Zoning Design Guidelines here or download the PDF at the bottom of this page.

Below are excerpts from the Design Guidelines explaining a conservation zoning overlay in more depth: 
Neighborhoods in more than two thousand towns in the United States use historic zoning as a tool to protect their unique architectural characters. There are quantifiable reasons for historic zoning: it gives neighborhoods greater control over development; it can stabilize property values; it decreases the risk of investing in one’s house; it promotes heritage tourism; it protects viable urban housing stock; it preserves natural resources by conserving building materials. And there are less quantifiable, but equally important, reasons for conservation zoning -- it protects our past for future generations, it nurtures a sense of community, and it provides a sense of place.

Historic zoning overlays are locally designated and administered by the Metropolitan Historic Zoning Commission (MHZC), an agency of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. Historic zoning overlays are applied in addition to the base or land-use zoning of an area. Historic zoning overlays do not impact use.

Like the National Register of Historic Places, neighborhood conservation zoning honors an area’s historical significance. With that recognition, certain exterior work on buildings—new construction, additions, demolition, and relocation—is reviewed to ensure that the neighborhood’s special character is preserved.

The Metropolitan Historic Zoning Commission (MHZC) is the architectural review board that reviews applications for work on properties within historic zoning overlay districts. Its nine members, appointed by the mayor, include representatives from zoning districts, the Metropolitan Planning Commission, the Metropolitan Historical Commission, architect(s) and others. Design review is administered according to a set of design guidelines. The guidelines are criteria and standards, developed jointly by the MHZC and the residents of the neighborhood, which are used in determining the architectural compatibility of proposed projects. The guidelines provide direction for project applicants and ensure that the decisions of the MHZC are not arbitrary or based on anyone's personal taste.

The guidelines protect the neighborhood from new construction or additions not in character with the neighborhood and from the loss of architecturally or historically important buildings.

By state and local legislation, design guidelines for historic overlays must be in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties—criteria developed by the National Park Service and used by private and public preservation organizations throughout the country. 

In the Richland-West End Conservation Overlay, what is reviewed by MHZC?
  • New construction (primary and secondary structures)
  • Additions - increased footprint, height or building envelope of an existing structure
  • Demolition (in whole or in part) 
  • Relocation of structures
  • Setback Determinations
In the Richland-West End Conservation Overlay, what is NOT reviewed by MHZC?
  • Work that cannot be seen from the public right-of-way (not including alleys). To avoid a possible violation, the project should be evaluated by staff for assurance that a Preservation Permit is not necessary.
  • Temporary Structures are ones that are erected for a period of 90 days or less and does not have permanent foundations.
  • Portable buildings are those that are no larger than 10’ x 10’, do not have permanent foundations, designed and used primarily for the storage of household goods, personal items and other materials, are used on a limited basis and are not hooked up to utilities.
  • Temporary banners/signage
  • Temporary construction trailers
  • Painting of wood

For questions or to apply for a Preservation Permit, contact MHZC here.