What's New in DPD

May 2024

Message from the Director

In the recent state legislative session, a bill allowing local governments to adopt building code amendments for three- and four-family homes passed the General Assembly, paving the way for local building code amendments made by Memphis and Shelby County in 2022 to move forward. This is significant legislation for reforms recommended by the Joint City-County Housing Policy Plan to help ease the cost of construction for triplexes and quadplexes. Thanks to the bill’s sponsors and supporters in helping make this possible.

Beginning July 1, 2024, DPD will again allow three- and four-family homes to be permitted as residential construction and will enforce the local amendment to the extent allowed by state law. This means builders can trade out sprinklers for increased fire-rated separations between units as a means of compliance. For builders interested in learning more, please contact the Building Plan Review section of DPD at (901) 636-7384 for information.

These changes complement amendments to the Unified Development Code (UDC) adopted in April 2023 that allow for more housing options recommended by the Housing Policy Plan. The following changes—in conjunction with the newly passed state legislation—will help to unlock more housing opportunities in Memphis:

  • Cottage-style homes now allowed in the R-6 Single Family district on lots of 30-35’ width and 3,000 square feet and reduced minimum lot size and width for cottage-style homes in the Residential Urban districts.
  • Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) now allowed on residential lots as small as 7,000 square feet.
  • Townhouses now allowed along major roads in the RU-1 (duplex) district.
  • Stacked townhouses and small multifamily (3-6 units) eligible for special use permit at corners and on major roads in the RU-1 (duplex) district.

In addition to creating more opportunities for housing diversity in the RU-1 district by adding options for townhouses, stacked townhouses, and small multifamily, these changes represent a 117% increase in lots where cottage houses are now allowed and 79% increase in lots where ADUs are now allowed. For more information about zoning changes made last year, please view our webinar on YouTube.

Featured Openings

We are looking for candidates who would like to join our team and support the Division mission. Please share the below postings with anyone who might be interested.

Planner I - Comprehensive Planning

Planner III - Comprehensive Planning

South Cypress Creek Groundbreaking Ceremony

On Monday, May 13, the Office of Sustainability and Resilience (OSR) is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony for their South Cypress Creek Watershed and Neighborhood Resiliency project at Alonzo Weaver Park. This activity will provide flood control and community support for a Southwest Memphis community faced with high levels of flood risk, vacancy, and blight.

The project will create wetlands, stormwater lots, protective berms, and stream restoration. These open space and infrastructure activities will make the neighborhood more resilient in future disaster and flooding events, create wildlife habitats, and increase green space.

The Building Beat: New Episode!

A new episode of our division podcast, The Building Beat, is available now! This month’s episode is about the Shelby County Department of Housing’s Lead Hazard Control Program and features host Housing Administrator Scott Walkup and guest Program Manager Anita Tate. Scott and Anita discuss the impact of this program for residents and incentives available to contractors interested in getting certified with the state to perform lead remediation.

Episodes are released the first Monday of each month and are available wherever you listen to podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, and our division YouTube channel.

Develop 901 Citizen Portal Training Academy

Need some assistance in more effectively using the Develop 901 Citizen Portal? Want to train your team on the most relevant sections of the Portal? The Citizen Portal Training Academy features recorded training videos and printable quick reference guides for your convenience, allowing for portal training on your time and within your schedule.

The Citizen Portal Training Academy is accessible from the Develop 901 website

Lead Hazard Reduction Program

If you or someone you know lives in a home built before 1978 and also has a child or children (6 years or younger) who spend time in the home, then contact the SCDH Lead Hazard Control Program about a free lead inspection at (901) 222-LEAD. Eligible residents may receive free lead paint removal services. For more information about the program, visit this site.

Applications are now accepted online via the website Neighborly. Use this site to register and create a new account before beginning an application.

Program Manager Anita Tate was interviewed for a recent FOX13 investigation concerning the hazardous effects of lead found in older homes and how this phenomenon affects children’s growth and development. The interview and article can be found here.

Staff Announcements

Last month, Mechanical Inspectors James Dodson and Jorge Apantenco along with Plans Examiner Mario Moton attended the 2024 Tennessee Building Officials Association (TBOA) Conference in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Here, attendees were met with 24 exhibitors, allowing for continuing education units for all members and attendees. During the conference, James and Jorge were sworn in as board members by the ICC Board Liaison Ron Hampton, with James taking on the role of Second Vice President and Jorge stepping into the role of Treasurer. In a show of recognition, Jorge was honored by TBOA President Chuck Martin for his outstanding service as a board member and his exemplary capacity for going above and beyond. A letter of gratitude regarding Jorge’s service was also sent to Interim Building Official Rita Anderson

Upcoming Public Meetings

The Division has returned to holding in-person meetings. Meetings will still be broadcast live on the Division’s YouTube channel.

Subscribe to Watch Meetings!

May 9, 2024 – Land Use Control Board

May 22, 2024 – Board of Adjustment

May 23, 2024 – Landmarks Commission

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