Regular and Text Only Specific Plan Districts

SP – Regular and Text Only Specific Plan Districts

This section establishes a legislative procedure for context sensitive development. Compatibility with the land uses described in the most currently adopted Land Use Plan shall be considered by the City Council. The zoning districts promote flexibility in the location, integration, and arrangement of land uses, buildings, structures, utilities, access, transit, parking, and streets. While providing additional flexibility for the developer, the zoning district also provides greater certainty as to the resulting development. The SP district is a zoning district, not an overlay district. 

 A.       Applicability. 

A Regular Specific Plan (SP) zoning district may be applied to any property that is 1 acre or more. 

A Text Only Specific Plan may be applied to a property of any size.

  1. Procedure. 

The procedure for creating or modifying an SP zoning district is the text and map amendment procedure established in Chapter 12, Section 14.1209, Amendments, and this Section. This includes City Council approval for all amendments to all SPs after the Planning Commission has made a recommendation. For this purpose, any change of more than 25% on the Master Plan Drawing (measured by the proposed area of any building or road segment being shown where more than 25% of its area is outside the previously approved bounds for that feature) or any text change is considered an amendment. Nothing stated here is intended to prevent the Public Services, Fire, Police, or any Public Utility from requiring adjustments to the SP. If the change is required by the City Staff to comply any other City regulations or is a life and safety issue, it is not an amendment to the original SP. 

  1. Initiation

Any City of Lebanon public official or any other person or entity with ownership interest in the subject property, may file an application to create an SP zoning district.  

  2. Application

An application to create an SP zoning district must be filed with the Planning Director. Prior to submitting an application to create a Regular or Text Only SP zoning district, the applicant and their design professional are required to attend a pre-application conference with members of the Planning, Economic Development, Utilities, and Engineering Staff. The pre-application conference must be pre-scheduled and the councilperson for the ward in which the property is located shall be invited to attend the pre-application conference. Other staff may also be invited to the pre-application conference as requested by the applicant or design professional or as determined to be appropriate by the City Staff. The applicant shall hold a neighborhood meeting. They shall invite all property owners in subdivisions within 100 feet of the SP or any property owner within 100 feet that is not in a subdivision. A letter of invitation shall be sent with a brief description of the SP proposal, the date, time, and location of the neighborhood meeting. A copy of the invitation shall also be provided to staff.  The neighborhood meeting shall be held prior to the Preliminary Planning Commission meeting.

  A complete application must include the following:

    a.  A draft SP ordinance that includes zoning district text that addresses the elements of subsection (4), below. 

    b.  A map of the land area within which the SP ordinance will apply. (This will be adopted as part of the Official Zoning Map pursuant to Section 14.1209).

    c.  A draft amendment to Chapter 4, Section 14.401 (Establishment of Districts) that lists the proposed SP district. 

    d.  A written document describing the existing conditions on the property and how the proposed use(s) will be reasonably consistent with the principles and objectives of the adopted Land Use Plan. Uses in a Regular or Text Only SP are limited to only the uses allowed in a zoning district that corresponds to the Future Land Use Plan.

    e.  Copy of current letter indicating water and sewer availability from the appropriate water and/or sewer provider. 

    f.   A statement that the applicant agrees to be bound by the standards and procedures in the draft ordinance or, if the draft ordinance is altered during the Text Amendment Procedure, any standards, and procedures that the applicant consents to during the process.

    g.  A narrative explaining the benefit this SP brings to the City beyond what would otherwise be required of and be achieved by a similar development under an existing zoning district in the City.

    h.  A mailing list of property owners notified of the public hearing and a copy of the mailed letter.

    i.   A complete submittal does not constitute or guarantee approval.

    g.  Nothing in this section is intended to limit the City Council’s authority to rezone property.  

C.       Processing 

  1. The Planning Director will refer a complete application to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission will then process the application using the Amendment Procedure outlined in Chapter 12, Section 14.1209.

  2. The Planning Director will return an incomplete application to the applicant along with an explanation of the deficiencies.

  3. If the Planning Commission alters or modifies the draft SP zoning district, the applicant may agree to the changes, withdraw the application, or state its disagreement with the changes. Nothing in this section requires the Planning Commission to recommend approval to City Council of an application if they disagree with the draft SP zoning district. 


  1. All applications given a positive recommendation by the Planning Commission are then forwarded to the City Council for consideration.
  2. All applications given a negative recommendation by the Planning Commission will not progress without written notice from the applicant to the Planning Director stating their desire to be heard at City Council with a negative recommendation from the Planning Commission.

  5. Upon City Council rezoning property to SP by proper ordinance, a follow-up meeting is required before the ordinance is signed if any items had been amended to ensure that the correct version goes into the record. Development plans such as site plans shall follow the review and approval procedure as outlined in the Zoning Ordinance. Development plans for subdivision plats shall follow the review and approval procedure as outlined in the Subdivision Regulations. 

D.        SP Zoning District Text.  

  1. Contents. While there is no set “type” of SP zoning district, as each one is unique, there will be different levels of detail required, depending on what is to be accomplished by the SP zoning district and any distinctive site characteristics of the property for which the SP zoning district is proposed. The SP zoning districts shall substantially conform to the layout and format of the zoning district regulations established in Chapters 5 through 7 of this Title 14. The SP zoning district shall be labeled “SP- “followed by a use classifier (R- Residential, C- Commercial, I- Industrial/Manufacturing or MU- Mixed Use), and a unique suffix (e.g., “SP-MU-Lebanon Acres”). The Regular SP zoning district shall include details regarding the following elements, either as written text, illustrations, tables, or exhibits: 

Regular Specific Plan

  1. A list or table of land uses that will be permitted. This list is limited to the uses allowed in the Future Land Use Plan. Based on the uniqueness of the SP zoning district there shall be no allowances for uses permissible on appeal.
  2. A zoning district that is closest to the SP.
  3. A list of changes from the closest zoning district.
  4. Required lot area, lot widths, yards, and bulk regulations.
  5. Dimensional and massing standards such as building coverage, height, and façade length.
  6. Sign standards.
  7. Accessory building standards.
  8. Building material and architectural design standards.
  9. Detailed development plan showing the proposed layout of the entire property with respect to uses, potential road, lot and/or building configurations.
  10. Detailed development for the entire property.
  11. Digital data file registered to the TN State Plane Coordinate System, North American Datum 1983 (NAD83).
  12. Any other standards deemed necessary and/or appropriate by the Planning, Engineering, Traffic Engineering, Utilities, Cross-Connection, and/or Fire Departments, Planning Commission and/or City Council included but not limited to:
  • Landscaping standards including proposed open space screening and buffering standards.
  • Parking standards.
  • Parks and open space standards.
  • Street, water, sewer, stormwater management, including natural gas, electric, streetlights and other infrastructure standards.
  • Preliminary Traffic Study to the satisfaction of the City Traffic Engineer.
  • Information related to drainage patterns and preliminary plan for drainage, including preliminary detention calculation.
  • Detailed phasing plan.
    1. Nothing in this section is intended to limit the City Council’s authority to rezone property. 

Proposed SP amendments from a landowner or developer shall include a table identifying standards related to landscaping, parking, building materials, architectural design standards, parks and open space, street, streetlights, and other infrastructure items. The table shall also include the standards of the closest existing zoning district in the City to the proposed SP.  

E.       Text Only 

  1. The Text Only SP worksheet. (See Example A.)
  2. A zoning district that is closest to the Specific Plan.
  3. A list of changes from the closest zoning district.
  4. A complete list of any additional standards or conditions not already included in the Text Only SP Worksheet.

Example A.

SP Determination Form Page 1.

Page 2