Knoxville’s zoning ordinance hasn’t undergone a thorough review in half a century, and many of the current provisions are so obsolete that they hinder quality sustainable development.

Zoning Update Overview

In early 2016, Mayor Madeline Rogero proposed that the Metropolitan Planning Commission conduct a complete review and update of the City’s zoning ordinance. In May, 2016, City Council unanimously voted to amend the City’s budget to fund the update and asked MPC to hire and direct a consultant to start the review.

Our zoning ordinance was written decades ago, for land-use patterns of a very different era – the post-World War II suburban model,” Mayor Rogero said. “The ordinance may have made sense then. But as we’ve grown, and lifestyle choices have changed, the ordinance no longer fits our needs in 2016.

Our current zoning ordinance is very rigid and in some cases prevents neighborhoods from achieving their full potential. An updated ordinance can protect the things we value about our neighborhoods and commercial areas while allowing the kinds of smart, sustainable growth that will move Knoxville forward.

Project Goals

A New Code Can:

Support Investment

Some parts of our city need clear guidelines and requirement that provide the stability needed to attract investment. Former industrial sites, need standards that address twenty-first century development trends and will encourage redevelopment of these areas. Older commercial centers, from an enclosed mall to neighborhood commercial areas, need standards that will direct their redevelopment as dynamic areas that serve the community.

Protect things uniquely Knoxville

We can encourage investment in our City's corridors and neighborhoods while protecting the characteristics that define these areas and provide for a sense of place in the community. Our resources, history and icons that are uniquely Knoxville are things we must protect.

Connect our community

During the past 10 to 15 years, Knoxville has experienced a resurgence of its downtown and historic neighborhoods, with significant redevelopment and new development in these areas. An opportunity exists to extend this resurgence to the corridors leading to downtown and to adjacent neighborhoods. There is also an opportunity to connect these areas with the city’s natural amenities – the river, parks, and other green spaces.

Our New Code Will:

Be simple and easy to use

Knoxville is experiencing growth and investment. Clear, well-defined standards will allow this to continue.

Recognize that Knoxville’s population is growing, aging and becoming more diverse

Demographic and cultural shifts within the city have altered the way in which public and private spaces, both residential and commercial, are used. Demographic shifts and changing preferences will continue to have an impact on the growth and development of the City.

Promote and balance our mobility options

Travel by bus, car, bicycle and walking must all be accommodated in an urban community like Knoxville. The desire to increase connections between neighborhoods and destinations, by all modes of travel, continues to grow.