Historic Preservation

The City of Knoxville and Knox County each have a Historic Zoning Commission, made up of individuals appointed to five-year volunteer terms. 

Next Meeting

July 18, 2024 at 8:30 am

What: Historic Zoning Commission
Where: Small Assembly Room, 400 Main St SW, Knoxville, TN 37902, USA

These bodies encourage the preservation of historic sites and areas and the integration of historic facilities into other plans. They review applications for building permits for construction or demolition within designated historic zones.

Meeting Archive
Monthly meeting recap including the agenda, meeting minutes, actions taken, and the recording of the meeting.


National Register

Educational Materials



Design Guidelines


National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places is an inventory of the buildings, sites, structures and objects that are important to understanding local, state and national history.

A listing confirms the historic and architectural significance of buildings. The criteria for listing on the National Register are:

  • That it be fifty years old
  • That it be the work of a master, or part of a collection of buildings that include materials, workmanship or design that reflects an earlier time or sense of place; or
  • That it symbolizes a significant historic event, or be symbolic of broad patterns of history; or
  • That the property has yielded or is likely to yield information important to understanding history or pre-history.

Properties that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places are not subject to any review for privately funded actions.

However, a Federally licensed or funded undertaking that will impact a National Register property will be reviewed to determine if there should be mitigation to reduce any negative impacts of that action.

Listing on the National Register of Historic Places is one of the criteria for being designated as a local historic or neighborhood conservation overlay.

Nomination Forms
Educational Materials


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a "Historic Zoning Commission?"
    A historic zoning commission is a local commission, appointed by the City or County Mayor and confirmed by City Council or County Commission. Members of the Commission have interest or experience in preservation. They are required to represent historical organizations, or have experience in architecture, engineering or law. An effort is also made to appoint one member who also serves on the Planning Commission. Historic Zoning Commissions are responsible for reviewing applications to alter, demolish or move properties within the historic overlay, for reviewing proposed new construction in historic and neighborhood conservation overlay districts, for overseeing the identification and designation of historic properties and for reviewing proposed National Register nominations.
  • How are historic properties identified?
    Historic properties are identified through a survey in which properties over a certain age are identified, photographed and entered into a database. From that data properties that are representative of that theme are listed in the survey. Knoxville and Knox County performed a county-wide survey from 1982 to 1986 and also in 2016.
  • What are "historic districts" and "individual historic landmark buildings?"
    Historic districts are geographically defined areas that contain a concentration of historic properties that share common historic events, architectural features, or physical development. Individual historic landmark designations are typically single buildings with very significant architecture and history.

    Within the boundaries of a historic district, properties are determined to be contributing or non-contributing. Noncontributing properties are those which have been altered from their original appearance, or were not constructed within the period of significance. Proposed changes to non-contributing properties are reviewed, but with more flexibility than changes proposed for contributing properties.
  • What standards of review are used by the historic zoning commission?
    The designation report includes design guidelines that are used by the historic zoning commissions, applicants, and Planning staff to determine if proposed changes to properties are appropriate.