We will continue to update the FAQ based upon comments and questions that are received, both through the website comment form and through our public engagements.

Project Overview

No, the project is a comprehensive update of the City of Knoxville zoning ordinance and it is not related to the building codes, The City of Knoxville Plans Review and Inspections department maintains a list of the international building codes that are in effect in City of Knoxville.

Zoning regulates what structures and land can be used for, where a structure may locate on a lot, and how big that structure can be. It also regulates other elements of site development, such as accessory structures, parking, and landscape. Zoning regulations are divided into zoning districts, so that use, bulk, yard and development regulations are tailored to the character of the particular zoning district.

Some sections of the City’s zoning and development code have been updated recently and will not be part of the project.

  • Sign regulations: amendments to the City’s sign ordinance were adopted by City Council in July 2015
  • Off-street parking: amendments regarding off-street parking, access, driveway and landscaping requirements are currently under consideration by MPC and City Council.
  • Subdivision regulations: MPC is currently updating the Minimum Subdivision Regulations for the City of Knoxville and Knox County. Learn more about the project.

Many of the current requirements and standards of Knoxville’s Zoning Ordinance are antiquated and in need of extensive changes. The original ordinance was written over fifty years ago, at which time there was an emphasis on suburban development. The result has been a sprawled, less efficient pattern that left some parts of Knoxville behind.

While the ordinance as a whole needs to be modernized, recent amendments such as the South Waterfront and Cumberland Avenue redevelopment, have been successful. This has fueled demand for increased flexibility in future standards.