Belle Meade appoints members of Historic Zoning Commission to determine guidelines for historic district

The Belle Meade Board of Commissioners met Aug. 27 in a special-called meeting to appoint members to a newly created Historic Zoning Commission, which will help the city determine what a historic conservation overlay, also referred to a historic zoning, could look like in the city.

Following the teardown of approximately 30 homes within the city limits in the past two years, city commissioners approved two ordinances Aug. 22 to task the commission with establishing one or more historic overlay districts in Belle Meade in an attempt to preserve the community's architectural identity.

The city voted in July to place a 150-day moratorium on demolitions within city limits, which is expected to continue through Dec. 15, giving the new commission time to determine where historic zoning may work for the city and how it would be enforced, according to city officials. The city has not yet approved any historic zoning to date.

"What we're doing is we've passed enabling legislation to try to create this overlay or the ability to create. So that's all that's been done today is we've just enabled our city to to have this zoning overlay," Belle Meade Mayor Jim Hunt said during the meeting. "And then what we'll be doing from there is taking a lot of public comment on what that committee is going to do and what the regulations are. So at this point, we have only done the enabling legislation. And so hopefully, there will be a significant amount of community involvement and input to what we want that to look like."

Members of the new commission are as follows:

  • Bunny Blackman: two-year term

  • Mal Wall: three-year term

  • Ron Farris: four-year term

  • Gavin Duke: five-year term

  • Jeanette Whitson: five-year term

Members on the board will serve staggered terms, according to Hunt.

Hunt said the city has already completed an inventory of all the homes in the city to identify prevalent architectural styles, which the commission will use when determining what recommendations to make. The city is also working with the Tennessee Historical Commission; however, Hunt said the city and commission will have final say on any districts that may be created.

Read more about historic zoning in the city of Belle Meade here. 
By Wendy Sturges

A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


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