Office of Planning and Development: Land Use Controls

The Land Use Control Section (LUC) of the Office of Planning and Development processes and analyzes applications for zoning changes, subdivision of property and land development actions. LUC serves as the staff to the Land Use Control Board, Board of Adjustment and Landmarks Commission. Click here to view plans and annexation studies performed by OPD in the past.

Contact Information

Names and contact information for members of the Office of Planning and Development are found at the bottom of this page. Send an email for general inquiries about zoning matters, or call the OPD Service Counter at 901-636-6619. Zoning letter applications may be found on this page.

The Zoning Code

(The Unified Development Code)

Download the current Unified Development Code (the "UDC"), which serves as the Zoning Code and Subdivision Regulations for the City of Memphis and unincorporated Shelby County. 

UDC in a Nutshell.  This two-page summary contains an overview of the most commonly used sections of the UDC. 
Quick Guide to the UDC:
  • 2.5.2: This use table indicates which uses are permitted by zoning district (see zoning atlas for district boundaries). Here is a use table that combines permitted uses and building setbacks, lot sizes and other bulk regulations.
  • 2.6: This section contains special regulations for specified uses, including cell towers (see this graphic for cell tower regulations).
  • 2.7: This section deals with accessory uses and accessory structures.
  • 2.9: This section contains an exhaustive list of uses, organized by the categories used in 2.5.2.
  • 3.6.1: This section contains the building setbacks within single-family zoning districts (R-) (see this graphic that contains the building setbacks and other bulk regulations for all zoning districts).*
  • 3.7.2: This section contains the building setbacks within the multi-family zoning districts (RU-) (see this graphic that contains the building setbacks and other bulk regulations for all zoning districts; see map for areas subject to maximum setbacks).
  • 3.9.2: This section contains the contextual infill standards, or those regulations that apply to some residential infill developments and lots (see this graphic to help determine if your property is subject to the contextual infill standards).
  • 3.10.2: This section contains the building setbacks for the commercial and industrial zoning districts (CMU-, etc.) (see this graphic that contains the building setbacks and other bulk regulations for all zoning districts; see map for areas subject to maximum setbacks).
  • 4.1: This table lays out the types of construction that triggers various sections of the UDC.
  • 4.4.4: This section regulates residential driveway width and setbacks from property lines.  See this graphic for width and this graphic for setbacks.
  • 4.5.3: This section contains parking ratios for particular uses (see this document that contains the parking ratio, parking reduction and handicap parking tables).
  • 4.6.7: This section deals with fence height and type (see this graphic for fence regulations in the single-family zoning districts).
  • 4.9: This section contains the sign regulations.** (see this graphic for instructions on landscaping requirements at the base of signs)
  • 7 and 8: These articles deal with the special purpose and overlay district regulations (see this map for boundaries and this map for areas subject to maximum setbacks). This graphic answers frequently asked questions about the historic overlay districts (also known as "Landmarks Districts").
  • 9: This article outlines the various approval processes of the UDC (see this graphic that outlines the timelines for these processes).
  • 9.7: This chapter contains rules related to subdivisions (see this tutorial on frequently asked questions related to lots of record and subdivision requirements).
  • 9.12.3B(3): This sections lays out the types of construction that triggers review by City/County Engineering (see this graphic that may assist on determining whether your project requires Engineering review).***
*Please see this memorandum regarding the addition to antennae to those cell towers approved as flush mount towers.
**Under this written interpretation, any change in technology of a nonconforming billboard is prohibited.
 ***Refer to this page for instructions on submitting plans to City Engineering for its review.

UDC Blog: View the blog that chronicles the history of the amendments to the UDC.

Historic Zoning Codes: View the Zoning Codes and Maps that were adopted prior to the UDC.

Supportive Living Facilities: Federal law permits smaller supportive living facilities, such as halfway houses and drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities, to be located in single-family residences, regardless of local zoning regulations. However, all such facilities must be licensed by the State of Tennessee. This page provides a search tool for all licensed supportive living facilities.

Mobile Food Trucks: Download the mobile food truck ordinance. View the mobile food truck ordinance, as codified (Sec. 9-52-86 of the City of Memphis Code of Ordinances).

Short Term Rental Ordinance: Download the City's short term rental ordinance, also known as the "AirBnB ordinance" that stipulates that certain short term rental properties within the City of Memphis are exempt from the zoning regulations of the UDC.
MHA Urban Renewal Areas: Certain setbacks in Urban Renewal Areas once administered by the Memphis Housing Authority may only be waived by the Authority. This map shows the extent of these Urban Renewal Areas as of 1968. 

Sanitary Sewers: View the City of Memphis' policy and letter from the City Engineer and Public Works Director, both dated August 18, 2017, regarding connections to its sanitary sewer system for properties outside of the Memphis corporate limits. This memo from the Planning Director estimates the number of developments potentially affected by this policy (here is a map of these developments). This revised memo contains more details, including the estimated tax assessment for each development potentially affected by this policy. Here is a powerpoint presentation made to the Public Works Committee on September 20, 2017, that covers the history of the Memphis sewer system.

Here is the City of Memphis policy with regard to sanitary sewer connections in the Fletcher Creek and Johns Creek Basins (see map of these basins here).

Maps and Zoning Atlas

  • View the Zoning Atlas for Memphis and Shelby County.
  • View a map showing the arterial and collector streets throughout Memphis and Shelby County. Various sections of the UDC reference arterial and collector streets. Access the homepage of the Memphis Metropolitan Planning Organization, which contains an interactive map showing these arterial and collector streets.
  • Access the historic zoning atlases that were adopted prior to the UDC.

Overlay Districts

  • View a map of the Overlay and Special Purpose districts throughout Memphis.
  • Go to the "Application Forms" section below, then "Administrative Applications" to download an Overlay District application.
  • For more information on the overlay districts, including materials related to the University District Overlay, go to the Zoning Atlas page.

Pending Applications

View pending applications that have been filed with OPD.

Application Forms, Deadlines and Fees

Download various application forms.



Annexation Page

See the OPD's annexation page, which contains maps and other materials related to annexation in Shelby County. 

Land Use Controls Staff

City Hall
125 N. Main Street, Ste. 468
Memphis, TN 38104

OPD Service Counter, 576-6619

Josh Whitehead, Administrator/Planning Director, 636-6601
Chip Saliba, Manager, Land Use Controls, 636-6601
Brian Bacchus, Municipal Planner, 636-6601
Don Jones, Municipal Planner, 636-6601
Kirstin Kettley, Municipal Planner, 636-6601
Jeffrey Penzes, Municipal Planner, 636-6601
Ayse Tezel, Municipal Planner, 636-6601
Staci Tillman, Municipal Planner, 636-6601

Land Use Controls - East Office

6565 Mullins Station Road
Memphis, TN 38134
Burk Renner, Manager, East Office, 222-8381

Comments or suggestions on the helpfulness of this website should be emailed to Josh Whitehead.

OPD team 8.18.17 2 (1)

Land Use Controls staff, August 18, 2017 (from left to right): Brian Bacchus, Kirstin Kettley, Staci Tillman, Don Jones, Jeffrey Penzes, Ayse Tezel, Josh Whitehead, Marion Jones and Chip Saliba.