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Preservation | Historic Overlays


Historic Overlays

The Preservation Society of Nashville values historic overlays and what an increased focus on strengthening and adding to the city’s overlays could do to help save our valuable historic resources. 


According to the Metro Historical Commission, historic overlays are “planning tools to protect the architectural and historic character of Nashville’s historic sites and neighborhoods by managing growth and change through the public design reviews.” Most property owners desire overlays because they can protect property values and stabilize neighborhoods. 


Changes for locally designated properties are guided by the ordinance and design guidelines. The guidelines are based on national standards and customized for specific neighborhood. They provide direction for project applicants and ensure that all applicants are treated fairly. 


There are (6) types of Historic Overlays that provide different levels of protection: 


  • Historic Landmark Overlay:  A landmark overlay is an individual property or “campus” of special significance and is the most restrictive of the historic zoning overlays. Many landmark properties are owned by Metro or the State. There are currently nearly 70 historic landmarks that are protected. Click here to see full list. 


  • Historic Preservation Zoning Overlay: A historic preservation zoning overlay provides for a great deal of protection for a neighborhood by regulating the majority of exterior alterations. Current overlays include: 

    • Broadway

    • Downtown

    • Edgefield

    • Germantown

    • Marathon Village

    • Second Avenue

    • Tanglewood

    • Woodland-in-Waverly


  • Historic Bed and Breakfast:  This type of overlay allows for a use that might not otherwise be available. Alterations follow the neighborhood conservation zoning overlay guidelines. 


  • Neighborhood Conservation Zoning Overlay:  A neighborhood conservation zoning overlay is the least restrictive type and only guides change for new construction, additions, demolitions or moving of structures. Current overlays include: 


  • Belle Meade Links Triangle

  • Belmont-Hillsboro

  • Blakemore PUD

  • Bowling House District

  • Cherokee Park

  • Eastdale

  • Eastwood

  • Edgehill

  • Elmington

  • Greenwood

  • Haynes Heights

  • Hillsboro-West End

  • Inglewood Place

  • Kenner

  • Lockland Springs-East End

  • Maxwell

  • Park & Elkins

  • Richland-West End Extension

  • Salemtown

  • South Music Row

  • Waverly-Belmont

  • Whitland

  • Woodlawn West



Learn More at:

Overlay Webinar
Historic Preservation Overlay 101 with Robin Zeigler, Metropolitan Historic Zoning Commission
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