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Building in Forest Hills

Planning and Codes

Planning/Codes Director
Amanda Rhinehart

Building Inspector/
Codes Compliance
Bill Burdette

The Planning Department assists the Planning Commission in development and land use. All requests for development or rezoning are first reviewed by the City Engineer, City Planner, and staff for compliance with the City’s long-range growth and land use plan. Once the plan's form is accepted by the staff, it is placed on the agenda for the Planning Commission.

The Planning Department maintains records of all approved plans for subdivisions and rezoning. Information concerning the use or proposed use of land within the City limits is available through the Office.

The Codes Department issues building permits, inspects construction projects, and enforces all ordinances connected with health and safety codes.

Zoning Map Click to enlarge
Zoning Map

Getting a Building Permit

Construction or alterations to structures or property in the City of Forest Hills may require a permit. The requirement applies not only to new structures but to any work that physically changes structures or land forms already on the property, plus any other work regulated by the City building codes and ordinances.

The application and plans must be approved by the Building Official and the City Manager, who may elect to require further review by the City Engineer or other staff. If no issues are found, the permit may be issued.

If the plans do not comply with City ordinances, the homeowner may seek a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals. Variances may be granted to homeowners in special circumstances where demonstrated hardship is experienced.

Follow the flowchart below to obtain a building permit or a variance.

I Don't Think I Need a Permit

You probably need a permit. Call the Office at 615-372-8677.

Projects Requiring a Permit
  • New residential construction
  • Building additions
  • Building remodeling (Call the Office: Conditions may/may not apply.)
  • Structural alterations
  • Swimming pools
  • Accessory apartments or pool houses
  • Fences
  • Gates, gatehouses, entranceways
  • Steeples/architectural features
  • Decks/porches
  • Attached or detached garages
  • Sheds, storage buildings, or other accessory buildings
  • Retaining walls
  • Signs (only available to developers)
  • Demolition of a structure (Call the Office: Additional requirements may apply.)
  • Transporting or moving any structure, on any street within Forest Hills
  • Impervious surfaces: driveways, patios, sidewalks
  • Excavation/land disturbance
  • Street cut
  • Roof alteration (Call the Office to verify changes.)
  • Temporary buildings: construction office, dumpster, port-a-potty

I Need a Permit

1. Know the Code

Zoning Ordinance

Before considering building in Forest Hills please be familiar with the Zoning Ordinance that provides guidelines for building in Forest Hills. Pay special attention to bulk standards and accessory use rules and restrictions. Additionally, you should be aware of whether your project will be in any of our resource protection zones (ie, Hillside Protection, Flood Plain, etc).

If you live in a planned community, you also should check with the homeowner’s association or architectural control committee for Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC&R) before embarking on a project that changes the exterior of your home or yard. While the City of Forest Hills cannot enforce CC&R, your neighbors can.

2. Compile Information

  1. Complete the Building Permit Checklist.
  2. Complete the Building Permit Application.
  3. Sign the Construction Hours Policy.
  4. Sign the Signage Policy.
checklist application construction hours signage policy

3. Office Review

  1. Submit all information to the City office, 6300 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville TN 37215. Fax it to 615-372-8680.
  2. Partial packets are not accepted.
  3. The Building Inspector and/or the City Engineer will review your packet, which takes 3 to 7 working days. You may be contacted with questions.
  4. The City will contact you when the review is finished.
    If it is approved, bring your permit fee to the Office to receive your permit. One copy of the permit must be present on the property of the project at all times.
  5. Formal inspection of various phases of construction will be made by the Building Official or a designated inspector. Construction must be performed by a Tennessee-licensed contractor, with proof of worker's compensation and liability insurance. A homeowner can pull his/her own building permit as a "self-contracting" permit, making the homeowner the general contractor of the project and thereby responsible for all construction materials and progress for the permit.
  6. If it is denied, you can make alterations to comply with the Ordinance and reapply. OR
  7. If you have a hardship, you may apply to the Board of Zoning Appeals for a variance. See below.

I Need a Zoning Variance

1. Compile Information

  1. Review the Code.
  2. Complete the BZA Application.
  3. Review the calendar for deadline dates.
  4. Compile all applicable information for the project.
  5. Call the City as needed.

2. Discussion and Feedback

Call to set up an informational meeting with the City before the deadline. (at least 5 days).
Review feedback and prepare final submissions

3. Submit Application

  1. Submit full application (and $100 fee) before 2 p.m. on the deadline date.
  2. Partial packets are not accepted.
  3. The sign (from Fastsigns) should be submitted at this time.

4. Resident/BZA Review

Letters notifying neighboring residents will be mailed. Residents are given 30 days to review the plans. Packets are delivered to BZA members 7 days before the meeting.

5. BZA Meeting

The Board of Zoning Appeal meeting is the second Friday of the month at 8 a.m. If the project is approved, you may begin the building permit process. (See above.) If it is not approved, discuss the next steps with staff.