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Board of Adjustment
Meetings

*The Board meets the third Wednesday of November and December each year.

There are No vacancies at this time.

You can view Board of Adjustment meetings on the Memphis City Council website
here.

Agendas & Minutes
Agendas are available prior to the meetings. 
Most Recent Agenda | View All 
Most Recent Minutes | View All

Staff Reports
Click here to view the staff reports for the most recent Board of Adjustment cases. 


Application Form
Click here to download the fee schedule and application form for the Board of Adjustment.


Function & Authority
The Memphis and Shelby County Board of Adjustment hears five types of requests:

  1. variances from specific provisions of the Unified Development Code (the "UDC," which serves as the zoning code and subdivision regulations for the City of Memphis and unincorporated Shelby County) when exceptional circumstances and practical difficulties or undue hardships are demonstrated by the applicant;
  2. conditional use permits for a select number of uses articulated in Article 2 of the UDC;
  3. appeals of staff interpretation and administration of the UDC;
  4. extensions of zoning district boundaries by no more than 25 feet (based on official zoning atlas); and
  5. nonconforming use permits for grandfathered uses that are changing from a more intensive use to a less intensive use, per Sub-Section 10.2.5B of the UDC.

You can download the UDC here.

Established in 1925 by a Private Act passed by the Tennessee General Assembly, the Board of Adjustment is both the oldest appointed governmental body in Memphis and Shelby County and the oldest administrative zoning board in the State of Tennessee. 

Rules of Procedure
Click here to download the Rules of Procedure for the Board of Adjustment.

Members
The Memphis and Shelby County Board of Adjustment is composed of eight members, each of whom serve three-year terms (click on the member's name to send an email):

Board of Adjustment Staff
Since July of 2001, the Board of Adjustment has been staffed by the Land Use Controls Section of the Office of Planning and Development.  Names and contact information can be found at the bottom of this page.   


Board Chairmen
City Board of Adjustment, 1925-1970
Wassell Randolph                             
E.B. Klewer                                      
David N. Harsh*                                 
John M. McGregor           
Perry Pipkin            


Jack Bland
John S. Palmer

 
Roane Waring, Jr.
James B. Adams

Dates of Chairmanship
July 16, 1925 - July 13, 1928
July 13, 1928 - May 27, 1936
May 27, 1936 - Dec. 20, 1954
Dec. 20, 1954 - Feb. 28, 1962
Feb. 28, 1962 - Feb. 27, 1963
Feb. 24, 1965 - Feb. 23, 1966
Feb. 12, 1968 - Feb. 26, 1969
Feb. 27, 1963 - Feb. 26, 1964
Feb. 26, 1964 - Feb. 24, 1965
Feb. 22, 1967 - Feb. 12, 1968
Feb. 25, 1970 - June 25, 1970
Feb. 23, 1966 - Feb. 22, 1967
Feb. 26, 1969 - Feb. 25, 1970

County Board of Adjustment, 1931-1970
E.B. Klewer
David N. Harsh*
Walter M. Simmons
Charles L. Heckle
Dates of Chairmanship
Sept. 24, 1931 - May 28, 1936
May 28, 1936 - Feb. 9, 1956
Feb. 9, 1956 - Aug. 13, 1959
Aug. 13, 1959 - June 11, 1970

Joint Board of Adjustment, 1970-present
Carl Langschmidt
Charles L. Heckle
John S. Palmer




James W. Campbell, Jr.
Rufus Jones

W. Richard Hall




John S. Shepherd

Frank H. Colvett



Lynda Raiford

Frank H. Colvett, Jr.
Dates of Chairmanship
July 27, 1970 - Jan. 27, 1971
Jan. 27, 1971 - March 22, 1972
March 22, 1972 - Jan. 24, 1973
Feb. 27, 1974 - Jan. 25, 1975
March 26, 1976 - Jan. 26, 1977
Feb. 27, 1980 - March 25, 1981
Feb. 24, 1982 - May 25, 1983
Jan. 24, 1973 - Feb. 27, 1974
Jan. 25, 1975 - May 26, 1976
Jan. 26, 1977 - Feb. 27, 1980
March 25, 1981 - Feb. 24, 1982
March 27, 1985 - Feb. 26, 1986
Feb. 25, 1987 - March 23, 1988
Aug. 23, 1989 - Feb. 28, 1990
April 24, 1991 - Nov. 30, 1994
May 25, 1983 - March 28, 1984
Feb. 26, 1997 - June 25, 2008
March 28, 1984 - March 27, 1985
Feb. 26, 1986 - Feb. 25, 1987
March 23, 1988 - Aug. 23, 1989
Feb. 28, 1990 - April 24, 1991
Dec. 21, 1994 - Jan. 22, 1997
June 25, 2008 - Jan. 23, 2013
Jan. 23, 2013 - present

*Mr. Harsh resigned due to his election to the old Shelby County Commission, a three-member board which served as the executive branch of County government until the creation of the Office of County Mayor.

photo of board 2.27.13.jpg
Board of Adjustment Members, February 27, 2013: Seated: Dan Dow, Madeleine Savage-Townes and Timothy Rainey; Standing: Andre Jones, Frank Colvett, Jr, Jimmy Burditt and John Jackson III. Not pictured: Lynda Raiford.


Board Secretaries
Lawrence P. Cockrill, June 17, 1925 - Sept. 22, 1948
W.M. Perkins, March 28, 1956 - March 14, 1957
Robert Miller, March 27, 1957 - Oct. 23, 1957
Harry F. Higgins, Nov. 14, 1957 - May 23, 1962
Tom Wellman, Nov. 28, 1962 - May 27, 1964
Fred W. Davis, June 11, 1964 - August 8, 1968
Robert Stacey, Sept. 9, 1968 - August 24, 1977
James Springfield, Jr., Sept. 28, 1977 - Sept. 23, 1981
Anita Forrester, Oct. 28, 1981 - June 27, 2001
Mary Baker, July 25, 2001 - July 28, 2010
Chip Saliba, August 25, 2010 - Oct. 27, 2010
Josh Whitehead, Nov. 17, 2010 - present


The Secretary acts as the lead staff person to the Board.  While there were separate City and County Boards up until 1970, the Boards always had a common Secretary and staff.  For many years, L.P. Cockrill served as Secretary.  He was styled alternatively as "Planning-Engineer" and "Engineer-Secretary," reflecting his formal training as an engineer.  He died while in office in 1948.  There were no formal appointments to the position of Secretary until 1956, when the Memphis and Shelby County Planning Commission was created.  From 1956 to 1970, the role of Secretary was filled by various members of the Planning Commission.  As Thomas Wellman's resignation indicates, the Planning Commission was somewhat short-staffed during this time period.  After Fred Davis' retirement in 1968, Robert Stacey was appointed Secretary.  He would serve as the first Secretary of the new Joint Board in 1970.  By the time the Office of Planning and Development was created to replace the Planning Commission, the Board of Adjustment Secretary and staff were no longer in the Planning Commission and instead placed under the Division of Public Service, which also housed the Building Department.  In many communities, the Board of Zoning Appeals is staffed by the Building Department.  Robert Stacey retired in 1977 to focus on a company he had started in his spare time in 1963: Handy Maps.  He was replaced by James Springfield, Jr., who resigned in 1981Anita Forrester served as the Secretary for nearly 20 years until the Board was reunited with the planning department in 2001. As Deputy Director of Land Use Controls at the Office of Planning and Development, Mary Baker took over the role of Secretary until her retirement in 2010.    


Vasco A. Smith, Jr. County Administration Building • (901) 222-2300
160 North Main Street Memphis TN 38103
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