City Hall
200 North Castle Heights Ave.
Lebanon, Tennessee 37087
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Phone - 615-443-2839
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Frequently Asked Questions of the Planning Staff

Planning Department
200 North Castle Heights Ave. Suite 300
Lebanon, TN 37087
Phone: (615) 444-3647
Fax: (615) 444-1515
Frequently Asked Questions of the Planning Staff

Where can I get a schedule of the Planning Commission or Board of Zoning Appeals meetings?
Click here for PC Schedule
Click here for BZA Schedule

Where can I find agendas and minutes for the Planning Commission or Board of Zoning Appeals?
Click here for PC Agenda and Minutes
Click here for BZA Agenda and Minutes
Please note, minutes are available approximately one month after the meeting.

Where can I get an application for the Planning Commission or Board of Zoning Appeals?

Click here for "Applications, Bonds and Fees." Be sure to review the appropriate fees and related materials for your project such as applications, checklists and disclosure forms.

Who is on the Planning Commission?

For a list of who is on the Planning Commission click here.
Who is on the Board of Zoning Appeals?
For a list of who is on the Board of Zoning Appeals Click here

Where can I find parcel information for my property?

The City of Lebanon has an online interactive GIS mapping system. Click on the link below to access the mapping system. This system allows you to search by owner name, property address or Tax ID number. You can also use the tool bar across the top to zoom into a particular parcel and identify the parcel for detailed information.

When the screen opens the following four tabs are shown on the left hand side:
  • Map Layers
  • Search for Property
  • Property Details
  • Quick Zoom
The Search for Property allows you to search by the following information using the drop down box:
  • Owner name
  • Property Address
  • Tax ID number
Once a specific parcel has been selected the system provides detailed information related to that parcel on the left hand side of the screen. The information located there includes:
  • Zoning
  • Council representative
  • Mosquito spraying day (when applicable)
  • Chipper service day
  • Trash pick-up day
  • Additional property information can be found by clicking "Click here for additional property information," which links to the property assessors information.

What is my property zoned and what can I build on it?

Using the GIS mapping system above will allow you to find the zoning of your property.

If you would prefer to print zoning by tax map, that can be found on the "Zoning" page, which is located within the Planning Department page.

For a zoning verification letter, call (615) 444-3647 and be prepared to give the Tax ID number, street address and owner name.

Once you know the zoning of the parcel, you can look in the Zoning Ordinance for a list of uses permitted by right and by Use on Appeal. The Zoning Ordinance also provides information relative to building setbacks, minimum lot size, maximum height, etc. A link to the Zoning Ordinance is available on the Planning Department's Zoning page of the website.

What can a building or property be used for?
Permitted uses differ depending on a property's zoning. A list of zoning districts can be found in the Zoning Ordinance. A link to the Zoning Ordinance is available on the Planning Department's Zoning page of the website. In each district is a list of uses permitted by right. Within some zoning districts there is a list of Uses Permissible on Appeal, which may be allowed upon further review by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Is my property in the floodplain?
The Flood Insurance Rate Map or FIRM, developed and maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are available for viewing on the city's website. The city's online interactive GIS mapping system includes a FEMA flood information data layer and references the map panel. For additional information, contact Lanette Phillips at 444-3647 ext. 242.

What is a Land Use Plan?
The City of Lebanon has developed a Land Use Plan intended to guide development and redevelopment in Lebanon through 2025. The document provides detailed guidance for land use decisions.

The goal of the City of Lebanon's Land Use Plan is to provide a general pattern for the location, distribution and character of the future land uses within Lebanon's city limits and within the Urban Growth Area. The Land Use Plan is not a zoning document. Property is zoned, or rezoned, by ordinance of the City Council.

A copy of the Land Use Plan map can be found on the Maps page of the Planning Department's pages on the website. The map is entitled "Future Land Use".

A copy of the entire Land Use Plan document can be found on the Publications page of the Planning Department's pages of the website.

What is an Urban Growth Boundary?
An Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) is the line that separates rural lands from lands that are planned to be developed to urban levels of density and complexity over a period of time, typically 20 years. Land inside the urban growth boundary supports urban services such as water and sewer systems, parks, schools and fire and police protection that create thriving places to live, work and play. The urban growth boundary is intended to protect farms and forests from urban sprawl and to promote the efficient use of land, public facilities and services inside the boundary.

The City of Lebanon has limited jurisdictional authority outside of our city limits but within our Urban Growth Boundary. The City of Lebanon Planning Commission reviews all subdivisions of property and rezoning applications within the Urban Growth Boundary. The UGB represents the limits of how large the City of Lebanon can grow; property within Lebanon's UGB may one day be within the City of Lebanon. A copy of the Growth Management Plan Map for Wilson County can be found on the Map page of the Planning Department's pages of the website.

The City of Lebanon cannot annex property outside our UGB without first amending the Lebanon UBG.

How do I rezone my property?
The first question that should be asked with a potential rezoning is "What does the Land Use Plan say about the subject property?" The Land Use Plan is described above in "What is a Land Use Plan." An application is required to be submitted to start the rezoning process. An application can be found on the Applications, Bonds and Fees page. The process of rezoning is further described under "What is the process for Annexation or a Rezoning?" For further assistance, you can call the Planning Department at (615) 444-3647.

How do I annex my property into the City?
In order to be annexed into the City of Lebanon, a parcel must be contiguous to existing city limits. Contiguous is defined as next to property in the city limits, along a right of way controlled by the city or across any street or interstate. To start the annexation process, an application must be submitted. An application can be found on the Applications, Bonds and Fees page. As part of the annexation process, the subject property will be zoned in accordance with the City of Lebanon's zoning districts. The process of annexation is described further below under "What is the process for Annexation or a Rezoning?" For further assistance, you can call the Planning Department at (615) 444-3647.

What is the process for annexation or rezoning?
Requesting a rezoning or annexation is approximately a 90-day process. A non-refundable fee is charged for all annexation and rezoning requests. The fee covers costs related to public notices and only a portion of the city staff's time. When a request for annexation or rezoning is submitted, it is first reviewed by the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission makes only a recommendation regarding the annexation or rezoning. City Council has the final say in all annexation and rezoning requests. A positive recommendation will be placed on the next available City Council agenda for consideration. Annexation and rezoning requests are adopted by ordinance and thus require two readings. In junction with the second reading, a public hearing will be held. If City Council votes for the measure at both readings, the property will be rezoned or annexed.

If the Planning Commission provides a negative recommendation to City Council, the application does not proceed to City Council unless the applicant submits a written request to be placed on the City Council agenda and continue forward with the negative recommendation.

Conditions cannot be attached to any annexation or rezoning request. For example, an ordinance rezoning a piece of property cannot eliminate certain uses permitted by right in order to make the rezoning request more acceptable or agreeable.

My house is zoned commercially, what happens if it burns down?
It depends on the specific zoning district. Some commercial districts allow single-family or multi-family housing.

If the zoning district allows residential uses, the structure may be rebuilt as long as it complies with the bulk regulations of that district such as minimum building setback.

If the zoning district does not allow residential uses and the owner wants to rebuild for a residential use, the property will need to be rezoned to a district that allows a residential use.

Upon rezoning any new structure will have to comply with the setbacks of the residential zoning district approved by City Council.

My business does not conform to the current zoning...what should I do?
If the business use was started as a legal use and zoning regulations have since changed, the business is still permitted to operate in its current fashion. The use would be considered a legal nonconforming use. However there are limitations relative to the future such as expansion, rebuilding or otherwise modification of the use.

If you are proposing to locate a business where the use is not supported by the Zoning Ordinance, you may want to consider rezoning the property to a district that accommodates that particular use. Consult the Land Use Plan to verify if the plan supports the proposed rezoning.

The Land Use Plan designates areas as residential, commercial, industrial, or a mix of those uses for all portions of the city and Urban Growth Boundary. You will need to verify what the Land Use Plan calls for in that location. It is possible that the location of your business could be designated for residential use currently or in the future and not suitable for rezoning to a commercial use.

What is a non-conforming use?
A use of a building, structure, or land that does not conform to the uses approved in the current Zoning Ordinance, but that is a lawful use because it was undertaken before the current regulations were adopted. The same non-conforming use may continue with a change of ownership, only if the same non-conforming use is re-established within 30 months. Only incidental alterations are permitted use. A non-conforming use cannot be changed to another non-conforming use.

What is a non-complying structure?
A building or structure that does not comply with bulk regulations (ie. setbacks, height, lot coverage) as outlined in the Zoning Ordinance, but that is lawful because it existed before the current regulations were adopted. A non-complying building or structure can be enlarged, as long as the enlargement does not create a new non-compliance or increase the degree of non-compliance.

What does it mean to be legal non-conforming?
A legal non-conformity is a use, building or land that was legally allowed by the Zoning Ordinance at the time of its inception but the Zoning Ordinance standards changed and no longer allow the use, building or land to be used in the manner as originally approved. The use may continue as long as it complies with the non-conforming use or non-complying structure regulations.

What is the Major Thoroughfare Plan?
The City of Lebanon has adopted a Long Range Transportation Plan, known as the Major Thoroughfare Plan. The Major Thoroughfare Plan is designed to accommodate both current and projected travel demands. By analyzing the existing roadway network, anticipated population and employment growth over the next 30 years, and the roadway network's ability to handle the growing traffic, alternatives for roadway improvements were developed that will result in needed ability and access improvements.

Along with providing the city with an analysis of existing traffic conditions for 2006, the Major Thoroughfare Plan provides an assessment of expected traffic conditions for the year 2030 based upon anticipated growth within the city and the resulting increases in traffic projected in the future. This analysis provides the city with the necessary data to develop and prioritize road improvements to accommodate future increases in traffic.

A copy of the Major Thoroughfare Plan can be found on the Publications page of the Planning Department's pages of the website.

What is the process for subdividing my property?
There are two types of subdivision plats: Preliminary Plat and Final Plat. A Preliminary Plat is required for the subdivision of property into five lots or more. A Final Plat is either for less than four lots or is a phase of a Preliminary Plat. All Preliminary and Final Plats are valid for two years after approval by the Planning Commission, which is generally a 30 day process. Once you are ready to record the lots in a Preliminary Plat, you must submit a Final Plat.

The City of Lebanon is operating under an agreed order with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The agreed order is referred to as our Sewer Capacity Management Plan. As part of this agreed order, the City is improving our wastewater system. In compliance with the Sewer Capacity Management Plan, no individual subdivision shall be approved for sewer connections of more than 15% of the current available capacity. Fore residential subdivisions this equates to approximately twenty residential lots for a single subdivision per month.

If public utilities are being dedicated as part of the Final Plat, Construction Documents shall be submitted to the Engineering Department.

Preliminary Plat and Final Plat applications and checklists can be found on the Applications, Bonds and Fees page of the Planning Department's pages of the website.

What is the process for Site Plan approval?
A Site Plan is required for apartment complexes and commercial and industrial facilities whether it is for an expansion or new construction. The Site Plan process is typically a 30-day process. In addition to a civil site plan, a landscaping plan and architectural building elevations are required as part of the submittal process. Refer to the checklist of required information that is part of the application and can be found on the Applications, Bonds and Fees page of the Planning Department's pages of the website.

What is a Specific Plan District (SP) and what is the process for approval?

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 district is a zoning district, not an overlay district.

A SP district is a zoning district that promotes 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.

Like other rezoning requests, a SP district is approximately a 90-day process. One of the main differences between a request for SP zoning and other zoning districts is that the SP district request includes a unique set of permitted uses, bulk regulations, etc. In essence, the applicant is creating a new zoning district.

If the City Council adopts the proposed SP district, the specific SP district replaces any zoning district regulations previously in effect for the property or land area. All uses, development activity, permits, site plans, subdivision plats, and certificates of occupancy shall conform to the standards that are established in the SP zoning district.

When is Planning Commission approval required?

The Planning Commission must approve a Site Plan for all new buildings and additions, all non-residential manufactured buildings or pre-fabricated buildings; and site alterations including the construction or expansion of driveways, parking areas, and loading areas for development other than single-family and duplex dwellings and their accessory structures.

Planning Commission approval is required for all Preliminary Plats and Final Plats except for what are considered minor adjustments to a property line, combining of lots, dividing a single tract into no more than two lots or which involves adjusting building lines, easements or other similar changes that do not involve any street or public utility construction. Such minor plats may be reviewed and approved at the staff level.

Is there a maximum size for accessory structures?

There is a maximum size for an accessory structure based on the zoning district. Sizes permitted range from 400 square feet to 1,800 square feet. Additional information can be found in the Accessory Structure Ordinance located on the Publications page of the Planning Department's pages of the website.

For more detailed information call (615) 444-3647 and be prepared to give the Tax ID number or street address or owner name.

What is a "setback?"
Each zoning district has established setback requirements. Setbacks are generally defined as a minimum distance of open space expressed in feet, which must be maintained to provide separation between front, side or rear lot lines, and the base building foundation line. Within the setback, no building, structure or portion thereof shall be permitted, erected, constructed or placed unless specifically permitted. Setbacks are established to act as a buffer from noise, to permit the enjoyment of light and air, and to serve as a safety factor in the event of storm, fire, or other catastrophe.

How do I measure the setback?
Minimum building setbacks are measured from the property line to the closest portion of the principal building, including covered porches, and roof overhangs. Therefore, it is necessary to first locate the property line which may be, but not always is, the back of the curb or sidewalk.

Is a permit required to install a fence?

Yes. A permit is issued by the Building Inspection Department.

How long is a Use on Appeal good for?
Use on Appeals (along with all approved plans, conditions, restrictions, and requirements) "run with the land," unless the Board of Zoning Appeals stipulates an expiration date as part of the approval. "Runs with the land" means that the approval would not be denied once the property owner changes, rather the approval passes on to subsequent property owners.

Can the Board of Zoning Appeals grant a variance to allow a use that is not permitted in a particular zone?
No. If a use is not shown as permitted by-right or as a Use on Appeal, it is not permitted within that zoning district.

Can I operate a business from my home?

Businesses operated from homes require a City of Lebanon business license and must comply with the requirements for the zoning district in which the property is located.

A home occupation is defined as an occupation having traditional acceptance as being one customarily carried on in the home, provided that: such occupation is incidental to the residential use; no article or service is sold or offered for sale on the premises except that produced by such occupation; and such occupation does not require internal or external alterations or construction features, equipment or machinery not customary in residential areas.

Does the City enforce restrictive covenants?
No. Even though restrictive covenants may appear on recorded plants, the City does not enforce them. Home Owners Associations enforce restrictive covenants. The City enforces the Municipal Code, the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations.

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