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FAQs about Edgehill’s Proposed NCZO


  1. Would the Edgehill Neighborhood Conservation Zoning Overlay (NCZO) prevent me from adding a dormer to the front of my house? Under the proposed guidelines for the Edgehill NCZO, dormers can be added to both contributing and non-contributing homes. This language was added to the guidelines specifically due to residents’ concerns. The dormers would need to be reviewed by the metro historic zoning commission (MHZC).
  2. Would the Edgehill NCZO prevent me from raising the roofline of my house?  Under the proposed guidelines for the Edgehill NCZO, the roofline of side-gable historic homes can be raised by 2’.  (See draft design guidelines for ridge raises at Edgehill NCZO Design Guidelines.) Non-contributing buildings can have completely new roof forms if the end result is appropriate for the district overall.  Both types of additions would be reviewed by the MHZC.
  3. Why was the Neighborhood Conservation Overlay (NCZO) selected over other types of Overlays?  The NCZO is designed for preserving historic homes in historic neighborhoods such as Edgehill. Other types of overlays are designed for other purposes, such as the contextual overlay that focuses on infill design.  The contextual overlay uses the two homes on either side to provide parameters for context. So what happens if the homes on either side of your proposed infill home are not typical of the neighborhood? There is no recourse with this a contextual overlay to build what would make sense for the district, but with the NCZO the homeowner can go to the Commission and make a case for anything they want.  There are staff members of the MHZC available to assist with planning projects, in terms of meeting the design guidelines. Another overlay considered was the Urban Design Overlay or UDO.  A UDO is used to either protect the pre-existing character of the area with appropriate infill or to create a character that would not otherwise be ensured by the development standards in the base-zoning district. A UDO could be used in the proposed overlay area, but it is typically written from scratch. Developing an overlay from scratch leaves lots of room for error and many points to be worked out between residents. Once a UDO is written, it is less flexible than an NCZO due to the ability to appeal to the Historical Commission. A historic overlay is the only type of overlay that controls demolition, thereby protecting the historic character of the neighborhood.
  4. Does it cost anything to submit plans to the Historical Commission? There is no charge to submit plans to the Historical Commission.  In addition, the MHZC can make setback determinations that can save an applicant the extra step and expense of applying to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
  5. Will it take forever for my project to be approved?  With the NCZO, the MHZC has created a list of essentially “pre-approved” projects for which staff can issue immediate Preservation Permits.  Other projects and infill projects go to the Commission that meets every month.  To ensure approval and prevent delays, staff recommends that property owners take advantage of their advice and assistance early in the process.
  6. I’m concerned that the MHZC will require me to use expensive materials.  Is that the case?  Simply replacing existing siding, roofing material, windows or doors will not even be reviewed by the MHZC, unless all are being replaced at once.  The MHZC routinely approves typical materials for new construction that you would likely want anyway, such as asphalt shingle roofing, fiber-cement lap siding and a variety of windows in a range of prices.  You will not be required to recreate any missing historic features but you certainly could if desired.  In that case, the staff may be able to find an early photograph to help guide you.
  7. What are the rules concerning outbuildings (such as garages and sheds)? Outbuildings should be situated on a lot as is historically typical for surrounding historic outbuildings, which is usually towards the rear of the lot. Generally, there should be at least twenty feet between the outbuilding and the rear of the home. Attached garages or those that have less than 20 feet of separation are appropriate for those buildings that back up to commercially zoned properties, such as South Street and the west side of Villa Place, due to their lack of traditional rear yard caused by proximity to large buildings. 
  8. Can non-contributing houses be torn down? Yes, non-contributing homes can be torn down under the overlay.
  9. Will my house decrease in market value because of the overlay? The overlay team has found no professional studies that show long-term loss of home value under historical overlays. The overwhelming majority of quality studies show that historic districts lead to increased property values in neighborhoods of all shapes and sizes. For a list of these articles see the Edgehill Coalition website at  The supposed study from Sylvan Park that showed home values dropped 20% is not a professional impact study. It was a collection of comparable sales in 2014 from a realtor in the Sylvan Park. Despite multiple requests, the study has not been made available to the team.
  10. Where can find more information about the overlay? The proposed Edgehill NCZO Guideline can be viewed at Edgehill NCZO Design Guidelines. Members of the Edgehill Neighborhood Coalition who are leading our overlay efforts will be happy to answer your questions. They are as follows: Theo Antoniadis, Rob Benshoof, Joel Dark, Joyce Harris, Karin Kalodimos, Ronnie Miller, Joyce Searcy, Janet Shands, Pearl Sims, Andrea Sullivan, and Rachel Zijlstra. You may also email the Edgehill Coalition at For expert answers, contact Robin Zeigler, Metro Historic Zoning Commission at 615-862-7970 or by email at


Edgehill Neighbors Seek Conservation Overlay to Protect 180 Year Old Neighborhood


The Edgehill Coalition was formed in late 2015 and is comprised of our neighborhoods’ non-profits and some of the churches serving Edgehill. Throughout 2016, Coalition members and other volunteers investigated tools to protect and promote our historic neighborhood. The Edgehill bear signs came about as part of these efforts. With the boundaries better defined, the Coalition led efforts for R6A conversion in early 2017. Responding to continued and frequent community concerns about the loss of historic homes and new development that wasn’t sensitive to existing architecture, a committee was formed. Numerous meetings with various Metro departments (Planning and Historic) and council members) were held, and the team investigated different zoning tools. Ultimately, a conservation overlay was determined to be the best tool. (See the timeline under a different post on this website).

Map area Determined

The Metropolitan Historical Commission created the proposed area for the conservation overlay. The area was determined based on the number of historic (or contributing) structures. All of Villa Place, parts of South Street and parts of 15th Ave South are included within the proposed overlay area.(See the map under a different post on this website).

Neighborhood Input Sought

Metro Historic Commission provided a list of addresses within the proposed boundaries. All houses in the proposed map area were provided information about the conservation overlay. Volunteers sought input from homeowners and renters from September 2017 to early 2018. The Overlay team focused the door-knocking campaign on resident homeowners. Homeowners that were FOR and AGAINST were documented. Additionally, community meetings were held, and feedback was gathered from those meetings as well. Of the 100 houses canvassed, 75% were in favor of the overlay.

Council Members

The Overlay team shared all the results with our Council Members. Additionally, a group of opponents to the overlay organized and also canvassed the neighborhood. Their results were also shared with the Council Members. Lists were consolidated, and one “vote” per household of homeowners within in the proposed overlay area, were counted. After considering all the data collected to date, the Council Members now feel that the community support FOR the overlay is more than enough to move it forward in the legislative process.

Next Steps

There will be a series of public meetings. Everyone in the proposed area will receive official notices in the mail about the meetings.



What is being proposed?

A Neighborhood Conservation Overlay (the least restrictive of all overlays) has been proposed to the area shown below.

Why do many Edgehill residents support an overlay?

Many residents believe it is the best option we have to protect what little is left of a very historic neighborhood (180 years old).  Literally, this space on the map marked above is all that is left of historic Edgehill. On a weekly basis, homes are being purchased by investors and demolished.  Many of them have a historic architectural value that can be saved.  If the proposed overlay expansion does not have the same positive results that overlay in other historic neighborhoods throughout Nashville have had, we can always fine tune or fully repeal it.  However, until we at least try it, we will continue to lose valuable pieces of our history that can never be replaced.

The history of Edgehill listed on the Edgehill Neighborhood Coalition’s website is a great resource to learn why Edgehill’s history is worth preserving.  It can be found at The Edgehill Neighborhood Coalition’s website at

How do other neighborhoods in Nashville protect their historic architecture?

There are 23 districts (and more are in the process) in Nashville that currently use some kind of zoning overlay to protect historic buildings.  The type of overlay being proposed for Edgehill is a “Neighborhood Conservation Zoning Overlay” (the least restrictive type).  The overlay guidelines being proposed are based on national standards and are nearly identical to several of those already in use by other Nashville districts.  These core guidelines are a time-tested approach that has been finely tuned over decades to best serve our Nashville community. Neighbors will collectively define the guidelines being considered for Edgehill. Links to the guidelines for every current historic/conservation overlay in Nashville can be found on the MHZC District Boundaries and Design Guidelines page.

Click here for an article by Belmont-Hillsboro Neighbors describing why a Neighborhood Conservation Overlay overlay was important to them.

How does historic zoning typically affect property values?

The overwhelming majority of quality studies show that historic districts lead to increased property values in neighborhoods of all shapes and sizes. Below are several studies supporting this conclusion. For links to these articles please email

Benefits of Residential Historic District Designation for Property Owners
Historic Districts Are Good for Your Pocketbook: The Impact of Local Historic Districts on House Prices in South Carolina
Profiting From The Past: The Economic Impact of Historic Preservation in Georgia
Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation in Georgia, A Study of Three Communities: Athens, Rome, and Tifton
The Contributions of Historic Preservation to Housing and Economic Development
Gracing the Land of Elvis and Beale Street: Historic Designation and Property Values in Memphis 
The Making of a Historic District and the Economic Impact upon Housing Value: An Empirical Analysis of the Tree Streets Neighborhood in Johnson City, Tennessee
An Impact Study of Local Historic District Overlays on Property Values in Fayette County, KY
The Impacts of Historic District Designation in Washington, D.C
The Impact of Local Historic Designation on Residential Property Values
The Economic Impact of Historic Preservation Districts – A Case Study of Indianapolis Neighborhoods
Connecticut Local Historic Districts and Property Values
Measuring Economic Impacts of Historic Preservation
Historic Preservation and Residential PropertyValues: An Analysis of Texas Cities
The Impact of Historic Districts on Residential Property Values
The Impact of Historic District Designation on Property Values
Historic Preservation Economic Benefits Report in Colorado

How would the overlay limit what I can do with my property?

If your house is within the proposed overlay boundaries the following types of changes would require review by requesting a Preservation Permit from the Metro Historic Zoning Commission (MHZC):

  • New Construction – This includes houses, garages, large storage buildings, carports, etc.
  • Changes to Existing Structures – Only changes that are listed below and are visible from the public right of way require a Preservation Permit.
    • Additions – Increasing the footprint, height, or building envelope.  This also includes dormers, skylights, chimneys, porches, etc.
    • Demolitions – In whole or in part.
    • Relocations – Moving a large/permanent structure.
    • Setback Reductions

The following types of changes would not require review:

  • Changes not visible from the public right of way.
  • Repairs or minor changes to existing structures.  Examples include…
    • Replacing siding, windows, or doors.
    • Painting
    • Adding or replacing exterior lighting.
  • Appurtenances – Fences, walls, paving, streetlights, curb cuts, sidewalks, driveways, gravel, fountains, etc.
  • Storage Sheds – Buildings used primarily for storage that are less that 100 sq. ft., without a permanent foundation, and that are not hooked up to utilities.
  • Temporary structures without a permanent foundation that are erected for 90 days or less.
  • Signage

All the information about neighborhood conservation overlays is available at

As currently proposed, work that requires a permit would be approved based on the guidelines listed on this site. However, that does NOT mean that adhering strictly to every guideline is required.  The MHZC often approves projects that do not strictly meet every guideline, especially in cases where the homeowners’ needs cannot be met within the guidelines.  In fact, the guidelines even explicitly state that demolishing any structure is appropriate when it will prevent an economic hardship (page 23).

The primary factor that determines how guidelines are considered for a specific structure is whether or not it is considered “contributing”.  The MHZC Handbook defines “contributing” and “non-contributing” as follows:

‘contributing’, meaning they contribute to the historic character of the district; or
‘non-contributing,’ which means that they do not contribute because of age,
condition and/or alterations.

In our neighborhood, Craftsman Bungalows and Victorian homes are typically considered “contributing”.  Homes newer than 1945 are typically considered “non-contributing”.  Many of the guidelines do not apply for “non-contributing” structures since they do not have the historical character that the overlay is intended to preserve.

If you would like to know whether or not your home is considered “contributing”, or have any specific questions about the types of changes that would or would not be approved under the overlay, Historic Zoning Administrator Robin Zeigler is always happy to answer specific answer questions via email ( or phone (862-7970).

 Who do I contact for additional information about Edgehill’s pursuit an overlay?

Members of the Edgehill Neighborhood Coalition are working on this project are as follows: Theo Antoniadis, Rob Benshoof, Joel Dark, Joyce Harris, Karin Kalodimos, Ronnie Miller, Joyce Searcy, Janet Shands, Pearl Sims, Andrea Sullivan, and Rachel Zijlstra. You may also email the Edgehill Coalition at


How to get involved in land use policies for Edgehill via the Planning Commission

The Planning Department’s responsibilities include working with local communities to create appropriate land-use policies and transportation priorities in community plans, making recommendations to the Planning Commission on zoning decisions, and providing design services and citywide transportation planning to implement sustainable development and complete streets.

The Planning Department is located at 800 Second Avenue South in downtown Nashville, one block north of the 2nd/4th Avenue exit off I-40.

Planning Commission Meetings, Deadlines and Hearings

The Planning Commission meets at 4 pm on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month in the auditorium of the Howard Office Building, 700 Second Avenue South.

Only one meeting may be held in December.

2018 Planning Commission filing deadlines and meeting schedule

2017 Planning Commission filing deadlines and meeting schedule

2018 Council hearing schedule

2017 Council hearing schedule

Directions to the meeting room and the Planning Department office

The Commission’s meetings are shown live on Comcast cable channel 3 in Davidson County and repeated several times on an irregular Metro Nashville Network broadcast schedule. Meetings are also streamed live on the Metro government access channel’s webpage and posted on the Planning Department’s YouTube channel.

Members of the Planning Commission

Email the Commissioners

Upcoming Meetings

The draft agenda, staff reports, and related documents are posted around midday on the Friday before each meeting.

Please email the Planning Department front counter or call (615) 862-7190 with questions about agenda items.

Rules & Procedures