Board of Adjustment
- 2:00 PM
- Fourth Wednesday of the month*
- City Council Chambers
125 N. Main
Memphis, TN 38103
- Staffed by the Office of Planning and Development; Secretary: Josh Whitehead
- Click here if you would like to send an email regarding any general zoning inquiries
- Click here to go to the Land Use Control Board page
You can view Board of Adjustment meetings on the Memphis City Council website here (go to the "City Council" tab at the bottom of the homepage, then "Watch Meetings Online" on the right and finally go to the blue "Board of Adjustment" tab in the middle of the page).
Agendas & Minutes
Agendas are available prior to the meetings.
Most Recent Agenda | View All
Most Recent Minutes | View All
Click here to download the fee schedule, upcoming deadlines and application forms for the Board of Adjustment.
Click on this page to view pending applications with the Board.
Click here to view the staff reports for the most recent Board of Adjustment cases.
Function & Authority
The Memphis and Shelby County Board of Adjustment hears five types of requests:
- 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;
- conditional use permits for a select number of uses articulated in Article 2 of the UDC;
- appeals of staff interpretation and administration of the UDC;
- extensions of zoning district boundaries by no more than 25 feet (based on official zoning atlas); and
- 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. Click here to download a memorandum that summarizes the history of the Board, which includes important pieces of legislation, case law and newspaper articles related to the Board. Click here for a history of the five-vote requirement for variance cases.
2014 Annual Report
2015 Annual Report
2016 Annual Report
2017 Annual Report
2018 Annual Report
The Zoning Atlas contains many Board of Adjustment cases, but most of these are dated 2000-present. Click here for a complete index of all 13,000 cases heard by the Board since 1925. Click here for instructions on how to use the case index. Please contact OPD staff to assist in retrieving old cases from the Board of Adjustment files.
Rules of Procedure Click here to download the current Rules of Procedure for the Board of Adjustment. Click here for the Board's original Rules of Procedure, as well as the minutes from the Board's first meeting on June 18, 1925.
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):
- Four members from Shelby County (appointed by the Mayor of Shelby County and confirmed by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners)
- Four members from the City of Memphis (appointed by the Mayor of Memphis and confirmed by the Memphis City Council)
- The following individuals have been approved as alternates, eligible for temporary, 30-day appointments (go to the Land Use Control Board home page for these individuals' email addresses): Robert Norcross, Margaret Pritchard, Mary Sharp, James Toles, Emily Trenholm and Mark Yates. This eligibility list was approved by the Memphis City Council as Agenda Item 33 during their August 24, 2010, meeting.
- Click here to view a table that lists all members of the Board, 1925-present.
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.
Above: Board Members, January, 2017. Seated (from left to right): Portia Scurlock, Joy Doss and Vice Chair Madeleine Savage-Townes. Standing (from left to right): Chair Timothy Rainey, [former member] Daniel Dow, John Jackson III, [former member] Aaron Petree and Carson Claybrook. Not pictured: JT Malasri and Mary Baker.
City Board of Adjustment, 1925-1970
Wassell Randolph: July 16, 1925 - July 13, 1928
Edward B. Klewer: July 13, 1928 - May 27, 1936
David N. Harsh: May 27, 1936 - Dec. 20, 1954
John M. McGregor: Dec. 20, 1954 - Feb. 28, 1962
Perry Pipkin: Feb. 28, 1962 - Feb. 27, 1963; Feb. 24, 1965 - Feb. 23, 1966 and Feb. 12, 1968 - Feb. 26, 1969
Jack Bland: Feb. 27, 1963 - Feb. 26, 1964
John S. Palmer: Feb. 26, 1964 - Feb. 24, 1965; Feb. 22, 1967 - Feb. 12, 1968 and Feb. 25, 1970 - June 25, 1970
Roane Waring, Jr.: Feb. 23, 1966 - Feb. 22, 1967
James B. Adams: Feb. 26, 1969 - Feb. 25, 1970
County Board of Adjustment, 1931-1970
Edward B. Klewer: Sept. 24, 1931 - May 28, 1936
David N. Harsh: May 28, 1936 - Feb. 9, 1956
Walter M. Simmons: Feb. 9, 1956 - Aug. 13, 1959
Charles L. Heckle: Aug. 13, 1959 - June 11, 1970
Joint Board of Adjustment, 1970-present Carl Langschmidt: July 27, 1970 - Jan. 27, 1971
Charles L. Heckle: Jan. 27, 1971 - March 22, 1972
John S. Palmer: March 22, 1972 - Jan. 24, 1973; Feb. 27, 1974 - Jan. 25, 1975; March 26, 1976 - Jan. 26, 1977; Feb. 27, 1980 - March 25, 1981 and Feb. 24, 1982 - May 25, 1983
James W. Campbell, Jr.: Jan. 24, 1973 - Feb. 27, 1974
Rufus Jones: Jan. 25, 1975 - May 26, 1976 and Jan. 26, 1977 - Feb. 27, 1980
W. Richard Hall: March 25, 1981 - Feb. 24, 1982; March 27, 1985 - Feb. 26, 1986; Feb. 25, 1987 - March 23, 1988; Aug. 23, 1989 - Feb. 28, 1990 and April 24, 1991 - Nov. 30, 1994
John S. Shepherd: May 25, 1983 - March 28, 1984 and Feb. 26, 1997 - June 25, 2008
Frank H. Colvett: March 28, 1984 - March 27, 1985; Feb. 26, 1986 - Feb. 25, 1987; March 23, 1988 - Aug. 23, 1989 and Feb. 28, 1990 - April 24, 1991
Lynda Raiford: Dec. 21, 1994 - Jan. 22, 1997 and June 25, 2008 - Jan. 23, 2013
Frank H. Colvett, Jr.: Jan. 23, 2013 - Jan. 1, 2016
Timothy Rainey: Jan. 1, 2016 - present
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 (which was created by this ordinance-resolution). 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. This was the result of a joint ordinance/resolution passed by the Memphis City Council and Shelby County Quarterly Court in 1969. 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 1981. Anita 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.