Jun 5, 2023 - Real Estate

Nashville zoning limits multi-family developments, report finds

Illustration of a door with multiple door knockers.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Most properties in Davidson County are not zoned to allow for multi-family housing, a hurdle that exacerbates Nashville's affordability crisis, according to a new study.

Driving the news: The Beacon Center, a nonprofit organization that scrutinizes government spending and advocates for the rights of property owners, studied zoning regulations throughout Middle Tennessee.

  • The group created a zoning atlas, which details the percentage of zoned land that allows two or more units per parcel.
  • Housing advocates argue more density is needed to accommodate affordable units.

By the numbers: Just 10.9% of zoned land in Davidson County allows three or more units. Two units are allowed on 57.2% of the zoned land.

  • The dynamic is even more pronounced in the suburban counties surrounding Nashville. For instance, Williamson County allows three or more units on only 4.5% of its zoned land.

What they're saying: "Both state and local policymakers should enact pro-housing reforms to make Tennessee cities a more welcoming and affordable place for low and middle-income residents," Beacon Center policy director Ron Shultis says.


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