Nashville axes parking minimums
Nasheville's new zoning code, which mixes traditional land use controls with innovative form-based regulations, may be just what the city needs to achieve a denser, stronger downtown.
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The City of Nashville adopted new zoning for its 600-acre downtown core — the area inside the inner loop of highways that encircle the city — in 2010. Since then, the city has seen the development of 9 new projects and 10 rehabilitations of existing buildings. The code is essentially a form-based code — although the city does not use that language, according to Joni Priest, with the city’s urban design studio.
Key changes include the elimination of minimum off-street parking requirements, a relaxing of use requirements (wide latitude on mixes of uses are allowed throughout downtown), replacing setback requirements with build-to lines, and the establishment of height limits in the form of stories — not feet. (Thanks to the Old Urbanist blog for bringing these changes to our attention.)
Priest notes that the old code was cumbersome and included considerable industrial zoning — even though industry was leaving the downtown core. “Almost every project had to rezone and/or get a variance.” The city decided to implement a single mandatory code — no overlay zones — to eliminate extra steps in the entitlement process. The new code is designed to make it as easy to develop in the downtown core as