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Franklin Historic Zoning Commission

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Historic District Design Guidelines October 25, 2016

What is Historic Zoning?

Historic Zoning is a municipal planning tool used to protect the architectural character of Franklin’s local historic districts by managing growth and change. It is a zoning overlay, meaning that historic zoning applies in addition to the base land-use zoning of an area.

Many property owners desire historic zoning due its ability to maintain property values and a sense of neighborhood identity.

Historic Zoning Commission (HZC)

The Historic Zoning Commission (HZC) is composed of nine (9) citizen appointees who represent the discipline of architecture, history or historic preservation, the local planning commission, and the community in general. The mission of the HZC is to preserve and protect Franklin's historic resources through identification, designation, and design review.

The HZC reviews any proposed exterior alterations within the Historic Preservation Overlay (HPO) for both material and design compliance with the Franklin Historic District Design Guidelines before any project work may begin. This includes any exterior work requiring a building permit as well as other items, such as the following:

• Alteration/repair of existing buildings or structures that require a Building Permit
(not routine maintenance)
• New construction or addition to primary or accessory buildings
• Relocation
• Demolition of some or all of existing primary/accessory buildings or structures
• Signs and awnings
• Fences and walls
• Window replacement
• Siding (not routine maintenance or replacement in-kind)
• Roofing (not routine maintenance or replacement in-kind)

Once work is approved, a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is issued. A COA is a document approving work on local landmarks or properties in Franklin’s Historic Preservation Overlay based on consistency with the Franklin Historic District Design Guidelines. If you are considering exterior alterations to structures and/or lots within the HPO, please contact Amanda Rose, City of Franklin Preservation Planner, at 615.550.6737 or

The Franklin HZC meets in regular session on the second Monday of each month at 5:00 PM in the City Hall Boardroom.  For a list of the current commissioners as well as the previous HZC meeting agendas and meeting minutes, please refer to our Historic Zoning Commission page.

Administrative Review COA Option

The Preservation Planner shall have the authority to exclude from the Franklin Historic Zoning Commission consideration of minor alterations and installations not substantially affecting the exterior appearance of the property. Minor exterior alterations considered for administrative review include the following:

  • Signage meeting the provisions of the Franklin Zoning Ordinance;
  • Awning installation and replacement;
  • HVAC mechanical installation and related mechanical equipment screening;
  • Fences meeting the provisions of the Franklin Zoning Ordinance.

The Preservation Planner shall have the discretion to approve such installations administratively or to refer the proposed project to the Franklin Historic Zoning Commission for its consideration. Please contact the Preservation Planner to determine if the Administrative Review option is best for your proposal.

Design Review Committee (DRC)

All major project proposals within the HPO are strongly encouraged to attend a Design Review Committee (DRC) meeting. DRC has been established to guide applicants through the COA process and answer questions about projects and/or potential projects in relation to the City of Franklin Design Review Guidelines. The DRC consists of three (3) representatives from the Historic Zoning Commission and meets once a month. Please contact the Preservation Planner to make an appointment and be scheduled on an agenda.

About the Design Review Committee (DRC):

  • The DRC meeting is informal;
  • Applicant participation in the Design Review Meeting is strictly voluntary, but highly recommended for complex renovations, additions, or new construction;
  • Purpose is to discuss projects and/or potential projects in light of the City of Franklin Historic District Design Guidelines;
  • All discussion is for the aid of the applicant only and is non-binding on the DRC or on the
  • Historic Zoning Commission;
  • Any changes made or suggestions taken by the applicant based on discussion from the
  • DRC is the applicant’s choice and the DRC makes no representation as to whether any changes or suggestions made during the Design Review Meeting will be approved by the
  • Historic Zoning Commission; and
  • The Historic Zoning Commission retains the responsibility and duty to approve all applications.

Important Links and Materials

Please refer to the Historic Zoning Commission and Design Review Committee links below for the Franklin Historic District Design Guidelines, the HZC & DRC meeting dates schedule, COA application deadlines, and COA application materials.

HZC and DRC Meeting Information:

*Historic Overlay Address Map

*(Does Not Work Well With Internet Explorer)

2019 HZC Meetings and Deadlines & Schedule

Current Historic Zoning Commissioners


Design Guidelines:

Franklin Historic District Design Guidelines - Updated 10/25/2016

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation

Franklin Zoning Ordinance