Proposed Building Design Standards Legislation

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The Tennessee General Assembly has proposed legislation that would prohibit cities and counties from enforcing certain design standards on new single-family homes and duplexes.

The legislation is HB O476  and is sponsored by Rep. Marc Gravitt, R-East Ridge, and Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, R-Knoxville.  See the House Bill here

In the Senate the bill is SB0520 and is sponsored by Senator Becky Duncan Massey.  See the Senate Bill here

Contact your Franklin/Williamson County Legislators:

Senator Jack Johnson
425 5th Avenue North
Suite 776 Cordell Hull Bldg.
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 741-2495
Fax: (615) 253-0321

Representative Sam Whitson
425 5th Avenue North
Suite 552 Cordell Hull Bldg. 
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 741-1864
Fax: (615) 253-0228

Representative Glenn Caseda
425 5th Avenue North
Suite 604 Cordell Hull Bldg.
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 741-4389
Fax: (615) 253-0229

HB 476/SB 520: How would it affect local government? 

  • Counties and cities would be prohibited from enforcing certain design elements for one-family and two-family dwellings. 
  • Design elements include features such as building color; type of style of exterior cladding material, style of roof. structures or porches, non-structural architectural ornamentation, location or styling of windows and doors, including garage doors and the number and types of rooms.
  • They do not include the height, bulk, orientation or location of a structure on a lot, the use of buffers to minimize visual impacts.
  • Municipalities could not apply any design standards to new housing permits unless the owner voluntarily consents to them.
  • The bill specifies it doesn't affect the validity of private covenants among homeowners associations pertaining to building design standards.


Exceptions to the bill include: 

  • Structures located in a state-designated historic district
  • Structures located in a district that's listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or individually designated as local, state or national historic landmarks
  • Regulations pertaining to building safety standards
  • Federal regulations applied to manufactured housing structures
  • Regulations adopted as a condition of being in the national flood insurance program

Impacts to quality of life:

•97% of respondents in a community-wide citizen survey indicated the City of Franklin has an excellent or good quality of life
•Maintaining our identity and desirable quality of life is a result of ongoing citizen engagement
•This bill would limit citizens ownership and involvement on how Franklin’s built environment evolves


Development Standards:

  • Are a strategy for investing in our City’s long-term health and vitality
  • Emphasize our City’s distinct community character
  • Protect property values
  • Enhance quality of life through enriched sense of place
  • Increase safety through proven, best design practices
  • Reinforce civic pride
  • Lead to buildings with lasting value
  • Contribute to a vibrant, sustainable economy