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Design Guidelines
The Murfreesboro Historic Zoning Commission (HZC) is the architectural review board that reviews applications for work on properties within the East Main Street Historic Zone. Its nine members, appointed by the mayor, include representatives from the historic zone, although not required, a member from the Planning Commission, a representative of a local patriotic or historic organization, an architect, if available, and the remaining members from the community in general.

The guidelines are criteria and standards, developed and adopted by the HZC after a public hearing by the HZC. The guidelines are used in determining the appropriateness and architectural compatibility of proposed projects in the historic zone. The guidelines provide direction for applicants and ensure the decisions made by the HZC are not arbitrary or based on any particular taste. The guidelines protect the neighborhood from alterations made to historic structures that would lessen their architectural significance and would not be in character with the neighborhood.

Getting Started
If your property is located in the East Main Street Historic Zone and you plan to:
  • Build a new structure (garage, fence, etc.)
  • Add onto an existing building
  • Demolish a building or structure
  • Relocate a structure
  • Alter or Repair the exterior of a structure

You must first obtain a certificate of appropriateness (COA) from the HZC, before you applying for a building permit.

Call the Murfreesboro Planning and Engineering Department at 615-893-6441 to determine if the HZC will review the work being proposed. If so, obtain an application for a COA and make an appointment to meet with the staff. If necessary the staff will meet you at the site to discuss the project and advise you if your plans meet the design guidelines. These FAQs might assist in answering your questions.

Review & Approval
When you submit the completed application along with drawings and/or materials, staff will determine if a COA can be administratively approved immediately or if the project required HZC review and approval.

Regular meetings of the HZC are held on the third Tuesday of every month. Deadlines for submitting applications, drawings, and materials for the meetings usually are two weeks before the meeting.

After the COA is approved by the staff or the HZC, you will take it and any other required plans to the Building and Codes Department. They will review your plans for compliance with the city’s building codes.

Work performed without obtaining a COA, or in conflict of an approved COA, is a violation of the city’s Zoning Ordinance and subject to a $50. Each day’s continuance of a violation is considered a separate offense.

Appeals to decisions of the HZC staff may be made to the HZC. Appeals to the decisions of the HZC may be made to a court of competent jurisdiction as provided by law.