Throughout the project, we’ll post questions and comments that have been submitted on comment cards collected at community meetings, sent via email or submitted via the website.

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Zoning

I am a property owner living in fountain city. My wife and I personally love the idea of being able to attach a handicap assessible unit to our garage to help our aging, disabled parents and friend. My father-in-law is getting to point where he can't walk anymore and our close friend is already wheelchair limited. Them living near friends and family is extremely important to all of us. That's why we hope the city council would not only consider but approve of the zoning that would make this possible.
Staff Reply:

Recode Fourh & Gill

Hello. I have lived in Knoxville for 8 years and in the 4th and Gill neighborhood for the last 6. I rent a house currently with my young family, and even though we don't own a house here, I still feel a part of the neighborhood community. I love the small close feeling I get living in this neighborhood, and it is definitely the best part of its charm. It's not just the architecture but the people who live inside it, and make it home. I know that if we recode our neighborhood to have more townhomes etc, we will loose our connectedness to the people we live around. I don't want that. My neighbors don't want that either. I have lived all around in my life, from metropolitan inner city to rural small towns and the suberbs. What we have here in this neighborhood and the surrounding Old North is unique, and should be preserved for future families and individuals. It keeps Knoxville feeling small while it grows, while still being connected to the city. We need more of this, not less.



The breakdown of community itself has lead to many problems in cities around our country, and will continue here in Knoxville unless this is stopped. Please do NOT vote to recode our neighborhood!
Staff Reply:

Rv's And Trailers

My comment is in regard to trailers/RV's.

The current code, Article V, Section 8 C, states that:
"On each lot, a total of two (2) (one (1) from any two (2) of the subsections listed below) of the following vehicles may be parked or stored per household living on the premises, and said trailer, or recreational vehicle, shall not exceed forty-five (45) feet in length or nine (9) feet in width; and further provided that said trailer, or recreational vehicle, shall not be parked or stored for more than forty-eight (48) hours unless it is located behind the front yard building line:

1.Recreational vehicle.
2.Hauling trailer.
3.Boat trailer."

In the proposed code 11.12 B
"Recreational vehicles must be located within the interior side yard behind the front building line or in the rear yard. If stored in the interior side or rear yard, the recreational vehicle must be located at least ten feet from any lot line and screened from view from any public right-of-way by a solid fence or wall. If the recreational vehicle is screened by an existing structure or landscape so that it is not visible from the public right-of-way, it is considered to meet these requirements. Temporary storage tents and tarps for recreational vehicles are not considered screening and do not meet these requirements."

I have a few concerns about the new code:
1. There appears to be no limit to the number, or size, of RV permitted, as long as it/they are properly screened from the public ROW.
2. What about trailers that do not meet the Recode definition of a RV? Cargo trailers, utility trailers, equipment trailers, etc.
3. Why is parking behind the front building line no longer considered adequate, the new screening requirements seem excessively restrictive?
Staff Reply:

Center City Neighborhoods

I would like Parkridge to get whatever zoning more affluent, less diverse historic center city neighborhoods seem to be allowed to lobby the city for without being accused of being racist or classist.

I'm all for increased density but do not understand why we have to sacrifice our historic districts for it? Aren't there plenty of other places "orange" could go that are still convenient to transit and jobs and yet perhaps just on the borders of our national registered historic districts? A very small percentage of the total area of Knoxville is taken up by these districts. I also think people who live in these neighborhoods and professional planners should be the ones to make these decisions, not whatever political group or developer thinks they have the best solution for neighborhoods they may not even live in (that may be based on extremely biased information). There are already much smaller lots here and quite a lot of multifamily housing as well as outbuildings that could be converted into ADUs, probably more than a lot of other neighborhoods in Knoxville. I do not believe opening up these center city historic neighborhoods to even more multi-family will allow for more affordable housing, but more luxury type apartments, which I'm not sure anyone but the developers want to see. I chose to live where I live because after decades of renting I wanted a historic home in a diverse historic neighborhood with the ability to walk and bike more and drive less and not contribute to more urban sprawl. Yet I wanted to be able to have a garden but not waste fossil fuels on a huge and pointless lawn. I am sure a lot of my neighbors were also motivated to buy or rent where they did for a a lot of these reasons and I think it is pretty sad to change the zoning in a way that could change the character of their street, the lighting in their yard, their parking and traffic situations all because other folks think East Knoxville should "do as we say and not as we do." But I guess it's the wealthier less diverse less dense neighborhoods that get to tell the other neighborhoods that they are the ones responsible for our housing crisis.

It's easy to be dismissive and call someone a "NIMBY" but I'm fairly sure most everyone has opinions of what goes into their backyard, whether it's a luxury apartment complex or a sewage treatment plant etc.

That happens when you invest your time and money into your home and neighborhood and actually have to live with the consequences of other people's decisions. I trust that our leaders and professional planners can come up with solutions that can preserve our nationally significant historic districts AND increase density and offer more affordability.
Staff Reply:

Recode Draft Oct

Main items that concern us the most in our neighborhood are

1. ADUs in ALL residential zones and the sizes of ADUs allowed, as well as the fact that neither home ust be owner occupied. We've been told in meetings with MPC that people for and against ADUs are equally divided, but after talking with many (over 10) large neighborhood groups across the city- I have yet to find one neighborhood group in support of ADUs. Please let us know which neighborhoods like this idea and then let's see what kind of compromise could be reached. We think ADUs destroy the fabric of established neighborhoods, increasing the density and defeats the purpose you are trying to achieve. Homes will be more expensive with a second home on the property and it is doubtful those homes will be rented to the people who you are trying to help. In essence, with property values raised- the people will be forever renters. From our research ADUs tend to work better in walkable neighborhoods with reliable close transit. Neither one of those criteria are met in many of our neighborhoods. Also, by opening it up to ALL residential districts, you have nop idea how many ADUs will be built- we can't write an ordinance on "I don't think that many people will actually build an ADU"- which is what we have heard at at least 2 meetings. Additionally, most cities have quite a few restrictions regarding ADUS, they are limited to certain zones, and especially the largest size (1200 square feet) is a much smaller requirement in other cities.

2. Home occupation definition-"any commercial activity carried out for economic gain..." and (10-9 P) the removal of standards and permitted and prohibited uses from existing ordinance.

3. Removal and changes in wording in MANY definitions

4. We were told that "RN-1 and RN-2 are EXACTLY alike except for lot size" but that isn't accurate. RN-1 for 2-family home -requirement of 15,000 sq ft in lot size and in RN-2 for 2-family home-requirement is 10,000 sq ft. In a lot of neighborhoods homes with 10,000 sq ft are being lumped together with 5,000 sq ft lots. By right, the 10,000 sq ft lot could be subdivided and then a second home plus 2 ADUs could be built and all four homes could be rentals with no requirement for homes to be owner occupied.

submitted for Tazewell Pike-Beverly Station Neighborhood (presently R-1 NC-1 overlay)
Staff Reply:

Support For Adu's And More Multi-family Housing

Knoxville needs more affordable housing! I think there is a myth that multi-family housing units bring down property values (a racist/classist belief to begin with) and the assumption is people in expensive neighborhoods will somehow rise up if an apartment building or a duplex is too close to their fancy house. I live in a fancy neighborhood in the Rocky Hill area and I want other families to be able to afford to live here too and send their kids to our excellent elementary school. I support multi-family units in this area, I support ADU's, I support duplexes built on a single lot, I support allowing developers to use vinyl siding to lower costs. My $300,000 house has vinyl siding on three sides - it looks very nice it would be fine on the whole thing.

When a multi-family unit was proposed a 2-3 years ago on Wallace there was backlash and complaints of how terrible the traffic would be. Those units went in and traffic is fine but those units are still outside the price range of most families. We need options.

I am a homeowner and I want to live in a city that supports all citizens and provides opportunities for lower income families to have options. Give Knoxville more orange!
Staff Reply:

Draft 3

Can a variance apply to definitions?

Table 14.1 Application Submittals
Add Infill, Downtown Design

Table 14.2 Notice
Variance - include mailed notice.

Administrative Modification- include posting a sign and mailing notice to contiguous property owners.
- This provides transparency,
- Allows the Zoning Administrator to knowledgeably decide compliance with Section 15.4.E.3. "without substantial detriment to public health, safety, and welfare, and without substantially impairing the intent and purpose of the Zoning Map and this Code." How can there be a decision regarding public welfare without notifying the public?
- If there is strong concern by the neighbors, then the application should be forwarded to a hearing body.
And remaining Zoning Approvals that should require notice are:
- Infill Housing -
- Downtown Design -
- Site Plan Review (when applicable)-

Signs posted for a hearing- should be clearly visible to the adjacent right-of-way and by both directions of traffic. Signs should be posted on each right-of-way. I have a photo of a sign posted directly behind a light pole and of a sign posted amidst similarly sized campaign signs.

163.F Extension of Walls for Nonconforming Single-Family and Two-Family Dwellings
Allowing a building wall of the principle structure to be extended horizontally or vertically when it encroaches in a minimum setback is unfair to the adjacent neighbor and should require a variance hearing. Such expansion creates a sense of crowding and loss of privacy, denigrating the purpose of light, air and open space inherent in requiring setbacks. It also attacks the purpose and foundation of the variance process as it: 1) fails to establish whether the existing intrusion is legally nonconforming, 2) fails to provide any evaluation standard and public process 3) potentially exacerbates an existing annoyance with no recourse to the impacted party, and 4) does not provide an appeal process. It also contravenes Section 16.3.D Nonconforming Structure.

Accessory Dwelling Units- per today's joint MPC/CC work shop discussion there are at least two ways to provide notice alerting second generation owners of property with an ADU: 1) file notice on the property title that the Accessory Dwelling Unit may have specific ownership regulations which need to be checked in the Knoxville Zoning Code and 2) property owners are supposed to declare known encumbrances in a declaration when listing the property.

Why are kennels limited to Agricultural Districts? They should also be included in some of the Industrial and possibly commercial zones if they do not directly abut residential.

Home Occupation and Day Care- why is limited Day Care not considered a home occupation? Child Care, tutorial lessons, and accountants/taxes are classic home occupations involving visitation. Visits to Home Occupations should be controlled to protect the neighborhoods sense of place. However, garage sales should be limited to avoid a constant "flea marker" commercial use. The restriction of 25% floor area is easily enforced through a simple code check.

Cell Towers should not be permitted in Neighborhood Commercial Use as the NC purpose is to serve and blend with residential. And Burlington commercial area should be zoned neighborhood commercial.
Staff Reply:

725 Sterchi Ridge Way

The new zoning proposed in the areas surrounding Sterchi Elementary School will negatively impact our north Knoxville community. The school is already over crowded and students are attending classes in portables. The last portable taking the place of the basketball court. The influx of this multi family housing units will also create more traffic and commuting issues in the already backed up areas of merchants and cedar lane. It's important for our community to grow and flourish but also take care of it's already established residents and their children. By adding these multi family units and bringing in a possible 700 housing units it would change the Sterchi community and school for the worse. People move to this area to have a sense of community and I hope the city of Knoxville and MPC will understand the importance of listening to established residents on how these changes will impact them.
Staff Reply:

Overall Views On Recode

I am happy that the city has embarked on this endeavor. The country is beginning to move away from the outdated development patterns of the last 70 years. We need to plan and work for an increase in residents over the next several decades. As population increases so does median income, productivity, and economic opportunity. We should hitch our sails to urbanization and a return to city living. But we must do this in an equitable, inclusive, and sustainable fashion. I think Recode is one of the best opportunities to achieve these goals. I am happy to see the goal of increased density across the city and more specifically along our corridors. I am a strong supporter of the ADU's in all zones idea. With strong building and size standards this is a way to add residential units within our constrained borders without having to dramatically change anything. My back window overlooks Magnolia Ave and sadly right now it is all sprawl. I have a proper view of probably 400 parking spaces that sit at average capacity of less than 5% when you consider overnight hours. We need to come up with creative ways to share parking on our corridors in order to support more intense, around the clock activity. Mixed use is another change that I whole heartedly support. The idea of apartments over retail is long-overdue. We have limited acreage in our city and the only way to continue to grow is up. My biggest concern with this whole process is the blanket alteration of neighborhoods like mine on E 5th Ave without the protections that will allow, no force! development to conform to the current aesthetic standards. I am not a stickler for keeping everything exactly how it is now, but I want to see better protections for historic structures and the prevention of demolition of our remaining beautiful housing stock. Lastly, I think that the whole city needs to be more inclusive to increased development. I see large stretches of Kingston Pike that were not upzoned for more intense development. This is and will remain one of the employment centers of the region. We need to allow for more intense development and density along Kingston Pike to attract more residents and use it as an economic springboard to a higher standard of living and upward mobility.
Staff Reply:

Adus

Standards for detached vs attached ADUs should be more stringent.

The primary dwelling should be owner-occupied.

There should be dedicated parking required for ADUs. Many city streets will not handle additional street parking well. On many narrow residential streets, when cars are parked on both sides of the street, it's not possible for a fire truck to pass through, setting up a dangerous situation. Street parking is also unsightly and more dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Minimum lot size for detached ADUs should revert to 7500 sf (or higher) as specified in Draft 1.

The maximum number of bedrooms allowed should be 2.

It's important to determine if the infrastructure can accommodate an additional dwelling before a permit is issued.
Staff Reply:

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