What is Planning?

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The Planning Division reviews development applications such as Site Plans, Subdivision Plats, Planned Unit Developments, Rezoning Requests, Variances and Conditional Use Permits. Additional day-to-day duties include review of certain permits and verification of zoning for business licenses.

The Planning Division has responsibility for design review of building elevations, signage, lighting, and landscaping plans for consistency with the Town's adopted guidelines. The desired end results of the Town's planning process and adopted guidelines are aesthetically pleasing architecture, tree-lined streets, buffers between different land uses, screening of objectionable views, preservation of green space, and maintaining the Town's historical character.

The Planning Division is also responsible for updates and revisions to the Town's Land Use Plan and land development regulations. Planning staff makes advisory recommendations on development applications for projects located in Collierville's annexation reserve areas and monitors the Town and neighboring jurisdictions relative to growth trends and development issues. Staff represents the Town on Shelby County Development Community Block Grant (CDBG) Board and plays an integral role in coordinating Town projects funded with CDBG assistance.

The Planning Division develops and maintains statistical information, including demographics and population estimates. The Division serves as an information resource to other Town departments, the general public, developers, design professionals, and real estate agencies. Planning staff routinely responds to inquiries regarding the proposed development of vacant land, the zoning classifications of specific properties, permitted uses, and the development review process. 

GIS staff conducts day-to-day maintenance and updates to the Town's Geographic Information System, including the Town's Map Gallery. GIS functions include addressing and street names and processing requests from the Town and general public for paper and electronic data and maps. GIS databases include Tax Parcels, Zoning, Land Use, Historic District boundaries, existing Subdivisions, Street Centerlines, and Sewer and Water infrastructure.


Helping to plan for the future of Collierville, Tennessee, is our charge. We are blessed here with many historic, natural, economic, and cultural resources, all of which work together to create the intangible, but unmistakable, "quality of life" that we are known for in this region. Winston Churchill once said that "we shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us," and the same is true of everything that towns and cities do in the built environment, such as buildings or roads. This is especially true of how towns are built as a whole, as these are the places where we live our lives, work, and play. We are fortunate in Collierville that our elected and appointed officials understand the importance of having a quality built environment, and have put into place measures to protect our quality of life. Having clear  and predictable standards and processes, based on a clearly articulate plan, are important to the effective preservation and enhancement of quality of life, and the Planning Division strives for this every day.

How do we go about doing this? First, it is first important for a Town to determine its goals and values. Collierville, through its 2013 Comprehensive Plan developed in 2003, determined that its vision is to be a "community for family living" where:

  • people feel safe and secure
  • neighborhoods are desirable
  • leisure/recreational opportunities are available for all generations
  • businesses continue to grow; and
  • Collierville's unique charm and character lives throughout our Town

Everything we do in the planning process (zoning, design standards, land use plans, etc.) in Collierville should tie back to that vision. This vision was revisited in 2012 and incorporated into the Collierville 2040 Land Use Plan Update.

It is also important for a Town to understand itself within the context of the "urban form," or how the built environment is shaping it, or has previously shaped it. There are two separate and distinct characteristics of the built environment in Collierville, which make it similar to other "new south" cities emerging at the beginning of the twenty-first century:

  • areas of high-quality suburban/conventional development
  • areas of more historical/traditional urban fabric, like Collierville's downtown

To properly address these two different urban forms, Collierville has adopted the Collierville Design Guidelines (established 1994, major update 2007) to apply to the non-historic areas of Town and the Historic District Design Guidelines. The Planning Division helps the Town interpret, maintain, and refine these two important planning documents, as well as the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Regulations, and Land Use Plan. Our charge is also to keep up with local and regional trends, nest practices for addressing growth pressures, and changing community circumstances, and make sure that the Town's planning policies and regulations are current.

Sustainability issues (economic, environmental, energy) will also be facing towns like ours in the decades to come, and it is the Planning Division's charge to help Collierville monitor these trends and be with or ahead of them.

Planning for a Town like Collierville is never done, as it constantly changes and evolves based on many factors and needs (property ownership, economic forces, new roads, environmental factors, etc.). The Town's vision has been developed in an environment of respectful debate and public discourse. With the vision adopted, its land use policies are constantly tested on a project-by-project basis, and are upheld or refined as needed along the way. The Planning Division helps to facilitate this discussion as the Town makes decisions or ponders policies such as rezonings, planned unit developments, zoning regulations and design guidelines, development processes, the major road plan, the capital improvements plan, and even the individual site plans, inspections for permits, and construction.