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Planning Department Responsibilities

The Planning Department has three primary areas of responsibility: long range planning, strategic planning, and land use controls.  Long range planning includes the preparation and update of a comprehensive plan for the future development of the city and the planning region.  Strategic planning involves many activities including annexation, maintenance of the official street map, Geographic Information System, street naming, street and right-of-way closures, and disposition of surplus property.  The land use controls prepared and administered by the Planning Department include the Municipal Zoning Code and the Municipal Subdivision Regulations.  The Staff of the Planning Department provide support and technical assistance to the City Council, Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals,  Historic Zoning Commission, and Architectural Design Review Board.


Long Range Planning


Comprehensive Plan


The Cookeville 2030 Plan was approved by the Planning Commission on October 25, 2010 and adopted by the City Council on December 16, 2010.  This Plan serves as a general guide for the physical development of the city and the urban growth area.  It presents goals, objectives and policies for future growth and development.  Major components of the Comprehensive Plan include the Major Street Plan, Street Improvements Plan, Pedestrian Circulation Plan and the Future Land Use Concept Map. The Cookeville 2030 Plan replaced the Cookeville Comprehensive Future Land Use Plan 1999-2010 adopted by the  City Council on October 5, 2000.

Urban Growth Boundary

To comply with the provisions of Public Chapter 1101 the Cookeville Urban Growth Boundary Report was prepared in 1999.  This report identified the Cookeville Urban Growth Boundary.  The growth boundary was approved by the Putnam County Coordinating Committee in October of 1999 and incorporated in the Putnam County Growth Plan.  The Putnam County Growth Plan was ratified by the City Council on March 16, 2000.  This county-wide growth plan was approved by the State Local Government Planning Advisory Committee in April of 2000.


Strategic Planning



The Planning Department prepares feasibility studies for all areas considered for annexation by the city.  Annexations proposals are initiated at the request of property owners or they may be city initiated.  The Planning Staff completes a Plan of Services for all annexation areas.  A Plan of Services specifies when and what services the city will provide to annexed areas.  If an area is annexed, annual reports on the progress of completing Plans of Services are prepared by the Planning Staff and submitted to the City Council.  Once an area is annexed the Planning Department is responsible for completing population certifications which are submitted to the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development.

Annexation Summary
2000 - Present


Effective Date



Old Sparta Rd./Horace Lewis Rd.



165 Certified 2001

Old Bridge Rd./Falling Water River



233 Certified 2001

Buck Mt. Rd./Dry Valley Rd.



90 Certified 2001

Shipley Rd.



22 Certified 2001

East Highway 70N/Interstate 40



632 Certified 2001

Matheney/ Cora Rd. 4/21/02 0.05 NA
West Cookeville/Interstate 40 8/18/02 3.75 907 Certified 2003
O'Neill/West 12th St. 8/31/02 0.01 49 Certified 2003
Presley/West 12th St. 11/3/02 0.08 31 Certified 2003
Putnam Co./ N. Washington Ave. 4/19/03 0.13 N/A
Hall/Salem Rd. 3/5/04 0.10 N/A
Shag Rag Rd. 3/18/06 0.10 37 Certified 2007

Gaw-Dodson Branch Rd.




Rebecca Place-Bunker Hill Rd.



306 Certified 2007

Bunker Hill Rd. -Lovelady Rd.



261 Certified 2008

Free Hill Rd. - Washington Ave. 10/17/09 0.14 123 Estimated
S. Willow Ave.-Lee Seminary Rd. 1/15/2012 0.16 115 Estimated
Bennett Road Extension Area 1/5/2013 2.13 538 Estimated


Special Census


A Special Census is a basic enumeration of population, housing units, and group quarters conducted by the Census Bureau at the request of a governmental unit. The Census Bureau's authority to conduct Special Censuses is specified in Title 13, United States Code, Section 196. Section 54-4-203 of the Tennessee Code Annotated specifies the allocation and distribution of state shared funds based on census population. In addition, the code allows a maximum of four (4) Special Censuses at any time between the regular Decennial Census. When local officials believe there has been a significant population change in their community due to growth or annexation, a Special Census may be in order. A certified official population increase resulting from the Special Census may produce an increase in state revenue sharing or other benefits. Between 2000 and 2010 the City of Cookeville completed a Special Census on the following four occasions.

In May of 2001 the Planning Department and the Police Department completed a Special Census of the five areas annexed by the city between June of 2000 and January of 2001.  A total of 1,142 persons were identified in this census.  The addition of these 1,142 persons to the 2000 Census count of 23,923 placed the population of the city at 25,065

A Special Census of the areas annexed by the city since the 2001 Special Census was completed in April and May of 2003. A total of 987 persons were identified in this census.  The addition of those 987 persons to the 2001 certified population  of 25,065 increased the 2003 certified population of Cookeville to 26,052.

A Special Census of the areas annexed by the city since the 2003 Special Census was completed in May of 2007.  A total of 343 persons were identified in this census increasing the municipality's population to 26,395.

In May of 2008 a Special Census of the areas annexed since 2007 was completed.  A total of 261 persons were identified resulting in a state certified population of 26,656.

The 2010 Decennial Census identified a total of 30,435 persons within the municipality. This represents a 27.2% increase in the population since the previous Decennial Census conducted in 2000. The population of Cookeville at that time was enumerated at 23,923.

In March of 2012 a Special Census was completed for areas annexed by the city since the 2010 Decennial Census. A total of 117 persons were identified in this census increasing the municipality's certified population to 30,552.

In early 2013 a Special Census was conducted for the area annexed into the city effective January 5, 2013. An additional 602 persons were identified in this census increasing the city's certified population to 31,154.


Official Street Map

The Planning Department is responsible for the maintenance and update of the Official Street Map.  The Official Street Map depicts those streets for which the City of Cookeville is responsible for maintenance.  The current Official Street Map was adopted by the City Council through Ordinance No. O12-04-04 on May 17, 2012. Review the Official Street Map Online.


Geographic Information System

The city’s Geographic Information System (GIS) is maintained and updated by the staff of the Planning Department.  GIS is the computerized mapping of information.  A vast array of information is available on the Cookeville Geographic Information System including land use, infrastructure, topography, and aerial photographs.


Street Names

The Planning Department reviews and makes recommendations to the Planning Commission and City Council for the naming or renaming of all public and private streets located within the city. Official street names of all city streets are depicted on the Official Street Map.


Street and Right-of-Way Closures and Abandonment

The Planning Department reviews and makes recommendations to the Planning Commission and City Council on all requests for street and right-of-way closure and abandonment.


Traffic Counts

The Planning Department in conjunction with the Public Works Department compiles average daily traffic counts for most of the major streets within the city.  These traffic counts, in addition to counts obtained by the Tennessee Department of Transportaion, are depicted on the Average Daily Traffic Map that is periodically updated by the GIS Division.


Surplus Property

The Planning Department reviews and makes recommendations to the Planning Commission and City Council regarding the disposition of surplus property.


Land Use Controls


Municipal Zoning Code

The Planning Department is responsible for the preparation and administration of the city’s Zoning Code.  The current Cookeville Municipal Zoning Code was adopted by the City Council on December 20, 2001 through Ordinance No. O01-11-15 and became effective on January 4, 2002.  The new Zoning Code and Map replaced the 1988 Code and Map. The 2002 Zoning Code has been amended a number of times since its adoption, the most recent being on January 17, 2013 through Ordinance No. O12-12-23.

The Zoning Code contains specific requirements for various zoning districts.  Additionally the Zoning Code includes the city requirements for parking, street access, sidewalk construction, signs, landscaping, screening and buffering and floodplain development.

All requests for rezoning and code amendments are submitted to and reviewed by the Planning Department.  The Planning Director presents recommendations on these matters to the Planning Commission and City Council.  The department also reviews and makes recommendations to the Board of Zoning Appeals on all requests for variance, special exception, and administrative review.  Applications for BZA requests must be submitted to the Planning Department.


Historic Zoning

Historic Zoning provisions are contained with the Municipal Zoning Code and were established by the City Council on November 11, 2000 through Ordinance No. O00-10-35.  The first Historic Zoning Commission was appointed by the Council on April 5, 2001.  On August 4, 2005 through Ordinance No. O05-06-09, the membership of the Commission was expanded from 5 to 7 members for the purpose of improving the representation from the established historic districts.  The Planning Department serves as staff for Historic Zoning Commission.  All petitions for Historic Zoning Designation are submitted to and reviewed by the Planning Department.

The city’s first Historic District, the North Dixie Avenue Historic District, was established by the City Council on November 15, 2001 by Ordinance No. O01-10-12.  Design Guidelines for this Historic District were approved by the Historic Zoning Commission on April 9, 2002.  In 2008, through ordinance Nos. O08-08-13 and O08-09-17, 15 additional parcels were placed within the North Dixie Avenue Historic District.

On May 1, 2002 the City of Cookeville was approved as a Certified Local Government by the National Park Service from United States Department of the Interior through the provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act. Cookeville is one of only twenty-five Certified Local Governments in the State of Tennessee.

The city's second Historic District, the East Broad - Freeze Street Historic District, was established by the City Council on May 15, 2003 by Ordinance No. O03-04-06.  Design Guidelines for this district have not been developed.

The city's third Historic District, the Cream City Historic District, was established by the City Council on September 16, 2004 by Ordinance No. O04-08-13.  Design guidelines for this district were approved by the Historic Zoning Commission on June 14, 2005.

A database of all properties within the Historic District was completed by the Planning Department in 2008.  This inventory provides detailed information on each parcel and includes photographs.  The database report may be viewed on this site here.


Sign Regulations

The location, number, and dimensions of on-premise signs and billboards in the City of Cookeville are regulated through Section 207, General Sign Regulations, of the Municipal Zoning Code. These regulations are administered by the Planning and Codes Departments. Sign permits are required for all signs.  Permits for on-premise signs may be obtained from the Sign Inspector with the Codes Department. Billboard permits are obtained through the Planning Department.


Municipal Subdivision Regulations

The Cookeville Subdivision Regulations were adopted on April 24, 2000.  Amendments to the Subdivision Regulations were approved by the Planning Commission on March 25, 2002, May 23, 2005, and on March 23, 2009. The Subdivision Regulations provide the standards and procedures for the subdivision of property in the city.  The Planning Department reviews all subdivision plats to ensure that they comply with regulations and completes inspections of required improvements such as streets and utilities to ensure that they meet required construction standards.

Summary of Approved and Pending Major Subdivisions
1999 - Present

Online Subdivision Map

Eighteen Grand Place 18 Buck Mt. Rd. Final 2-99
Manning Place 14 Flatt Hollow Rd. Final 1-99
Northaven Estates 29 Carolina Ave. Final 9-99
Crown Pointe 38 N. Washington Ave. Final 9-99
J. P. Terry Farm 6 Hillside Dr. Final 9-99
So. Willow Industrial Park 4 Foreman Dr. Final 8-99
Stonebridge 26 Old Walton Rd. Final 4-00
Perimeter Place Phase II 9 Neal St. Final 8-00
Old Kentucky Place 17 Old Kentucky Rd. Final 9-00
Copperfield Phase II 20 Fisk Rd. Final 12-00
Hunters Pointe 14 Tanglewood Dr. Final 4-01
Langford Woods 17 Ferguson Ave. Final 9-01
Copperfield Phase III 46 Fisk Rd. Final 8-02
Avery Place 16 Old Kentucky Rd. Final 8-03
Armand Bussell Division 8 Bill Smith Rd. Final 2-04
Essex Road Division Phase I 10 Essex Rd. Final 4-04
Sam's Club Division 3 Bunker Hill Rd. Final 6-04
Katelyn Place 11 Bayview Dr. Final 1-05
Cypress Creek 5 W. 9th Street Final 1-05
Town Place Phase I 3 Mahler Ave. Final 3-05
Town Place Phase II 10 Mahler Ave. Final 3-05
Milfred Knoll 5 Milfred Ave. Final 3-05
Soard Park 11 Mississippi Ave. Final 11-05
Villas at Maple Point 28 So. Maple Ave. Final 9-05
Spruce Court 5 Spruce Avenue Final 11-05
Williams Division 4 Country Club Rd Final 1-06
Southern Woods 10 Bunker Hill Rd. Final 2-06
Crown View Estates 6 Crescent Dr. Final 2-06
The Meadows 43 White Rd. Final 4-06
Forrest Cove 19 Forrest Rd. Final 5-06
10th & Fisk Properties, LLC 4 E. 10th St. Final 6-06
Deason Division 6 Shag Rag Rd. Final 12-06
Essex Rd. Phase II 5 Essex Rd. Final 2-07
Mack Industrial Park 4 Mill Dr. Final 4-07
St. James Place Condos 34 S. Walnut Ave. Final 6-07
Stone Creek, Phase I 17 Braswell Ave. Final 6-07
S. Jefferson Business Park, PII 7 S. Jefferson Ave. Final 7-08
The Villager Condominiums 16 E. 10th St. Final 7-07
St. James Place West Phase I 19 S. Walnut Ave. Final 8-09
H.V. Lewis 7 Holladay Rd. Final 10-08
Reserve at the Country Club 109 Shag Rag Rd. Final 9-08
Blackwell Park 13 Blackwell Rd. Final 5-09
Ridgecrest Northend Division 5 E. Gate Cir. Final 6-10
University Center Townhomes 25 E. 12th St. Final 5-10
Magnolia on 10th Condos 32 E. 10th St. Final 8-10
Quail Hollow 39 12th St. Final 7-10
The Brownstones Townhomes 8 Stout St. Final 3-11
Richland Mansfield Village 20 12th St. Final 8-11
Leslie Hargis, Redivision Lot 2 5 Ellis Ave. Final 8-11
Fitzpatrick Division 5 Whitson Chapel Rd. Final 8-11
St. James West Phase II 6 S. Walnut Ave. Final 9-11
The Cottages of Cookeville 51 McCulley & Springboro Prelim. 7-11
Laurel Hill Subdivision Phase I 10 Cora Rd. Final 10-11
Sugarleaf Townhomes 10 Sugarhill Place Final 7-12
St. James West Phase III 6 S. Walnut Ave. Final 12-11
St. James West Phase IV 10 S. Walnut Ave. Final 6-12
Old Kentucky Courtyards 19 Old KY & E. Hudgens Final 4-13
University Square Phase I 36 W. 7th & N. Willow Final 8-13
St. James North 5 S. Walnut Ave Final 11-13
Draper Heirs Division 15 Fisk & Winterhill Final 11-13

Flood Information

National Flood Insurance Program

The City of Cookeville is an active participant in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), therefore anyone can purchase a separate flood insurance policy for any property located within the municipality. This insurance is backed by the Federal government and is available to everyone, even for properties that have flooded in the past. To qualify for this coverage you do not have to be located in a designated Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) as Zone A. Policy premiums are based on the location of the property in relationship to the SFHA as shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). Properties outside of a Zone A are shown on the map as Zone X and are considered to be a low to moderate risk. Properties in this zone may qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy which provides inexpensive flood insurance protection. Please note that home owners insurance typically does not cover damage from floods.

The current Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for the City of Cookeville became effective as of May 16, 2007. In conjuction with the map updates, FEMA also prepared a  Flood Insurance Study (FIS) for all of Putnam County, including the City of Cookeville. Although this is not a detailed study, it is the first FIS ever produced for this area. This document can be viewed here.

As of June 5, 2012, the NFIP Community Information System reports that 77 Flood Insurance Policies are in effect for properties located within the City of Cookeville with Flood Insurance Coverage in excess of $17,798,400.00. Cookeville has participated in the regular phase of the NFIP since August 19, 1986.

People often purchase flood insurance because it is required by their lender when they get a mortgage or home equity loan. The Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 requires federally regulated lending institutions to make sure that mortgage loans secured by buildings located in high risk areas are protected by flood insurance. This type of flood insurance only covers the building’s structure and not the contents. During the kind of flooding that typically occurs in Cookeville, there is often more damage to the furniture and contents than there is to the structure. Anyone can purchase separate coverage for contents through the NFIP program, even renters. If you currently have flood insurance, review your policy to see if you also have coverage of contents.

Before most forms of Federal Disaster Assistance can be offered, the President must declare a major disaster. Federal disaster declarations are issued in less than half of flooding events. The most common form of Federal Disaster Assistance is a loan that must be paid back with interest. For example, the monthly payment on a $50,000 disaster home loan at 4% interest is $303 per month for 20 years. The annual payment on this loan is $3636 per year and the total of the 240 payments would be over $72,000. The average premium for federally backed flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program is $550 annually.  The cost of a Preferred Risk Policy starts as low as $119 per year. Flood insurance claims are paid even if a disaster is not declared by the President. Claims are paid promptly to facilitate faster recovery and policy holders may request advance partial payments for immediate needs.

Flooding does occur outside Special Flood Hazard Areas. A number of properties in Cookeville located outside the FEMA identified SFHA’s were inundated in the September 2009 and August 2010 flooding events. Flood insurance covers all surface floods. It is important to know that you should not wait until the next flood to buy insurance. There is a 30 day waiting period before National Flood Insurance coverage takes effect. Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage or contact the Planning Department for additional assistance.

City Flood Services

Under the provisions of the City of Cookeville Floodplain Regulations, the Planning Director and Building Official serve as the administrators of the regulations (Section 230.8A of the Cookeville Zoning Code). The duties and responsibilities of the administrators, as specified by the Floodplain Regulations, include obtaining base flood elevation data from other sources when such data have not been provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Upon request, the Planning Department of the City of Cookeville can help you to evaluate if you are in a mapped floodplain. The Department can also assist in estimating the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) for any property located in the City. This elevation is derived by overlaying the FEMA provided digitized locations of special flood hazard areas with the City of Cookeville’s digitized topographic data. The topographic data in the Cookeville Geographic Information System is based on two (2) foot contours and this topographic data was utilized in the development of the current Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Cookeville/Putnam County, Tennessee (effective date May 16, 2007). There is no charge for this service and it is available by contacting the Planning Department in person, by phone, by fax or by email.

Upon request, the Public Works Department will visit a property to review drainage and or flood problems. To report problems of flooding or maintenance of storm water management systems on public and private property, call Public Works at (931) 520-5249.

Flood Safety

Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive and a mere six inches of water can knock you off your feet. If you must walk in standing water, use a pole or stick to make sure the surface is still there.

Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Do not drive around road barriers. These are commonly erected because roads or bridges are washed out.

Stay away from power lines and electrical wiring. The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution since electrical current can travel through water. Immediately report downed power lines to your electrical power provider or public safety agencies.

Have your electricity turned off by the provider. Some appliances, such as television sets, retain electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Never use appliances that have gotten wet unless they have been serviced by a qualified technician.

Look out for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their habitat may seek shelter in yours. Use a prod such as a pole or stick to turn things over and scare away small animals.

Look for hazards before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris which may include broken glass and nails. Floors and steps that have been covered with mud are very slippery.

Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Do not smoke, use a lighter, candle, lanterns or any other open flames unless you know that gas has been turned off correctly and the area has been properly ventilated.

Additional Information

The following link is directly to the FEMA NFIP publication site.  A wealth of information is provided which can be downloaded from the site or ordered directly from FEMA at no charge.

Special Flood Hazard Area Property Interpretation is available from the staff of the Planning Department. Request for Property Special Flood Hazard Interpretation (PDF)