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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Recode Suggestions

I looked over the draft, and have the following suggestions:

1. Define “Blank Wall” There are several great buildings with blank walls, that have designed texture and material patterns, etc., but no windows.
2. Define if an alley or highway (i.e. other than roadway) is a ROW. This has to do with the portion of the code that indicates if a façade is visible from a ROW, then ……
3. Define how far such a ROW view would be. Example, if I can view a building from a higher grade 5 blocks away, while I am in an alley, then is that “visible from ROW”?
4. In DK-H district, set a minimum first floor to second floor dimension. Traditional buildings ranged in 18’ to 20’ +/-
5. If a building is on a sloped street, then does the ground level regulations apply to the entire area of the sloped street, or only the very bottom portion of it?

I will review in more detail in the next few days and will share anything else that I can think of.

New Knoxville Zoning

Has there been any dialogue with Knox County officials about adopting a unified zoning ordinance? This would greatly simplify development document preparation within both Knoxville and Knox County and could still be administered separately as they are now. Also, has there been any talk of expanding the MPC to be a one-stop-shop for development submittals, with the particulars still farmed out to their respective county or city authorities? One of the things we have noticed as design professionals is that the Knox County ordinance generally does not 1) have enough districts, 2) is still written assuming a mostly rural county and 3) is just enough different from the city to be confusing. We have noticed that the City's ordinance 1) seems to assume 1950s and 1960s approaches to development in terms of parking, 2) has too many districts, 3) is not applied uniformly and 4) is not flexible enough to encourage the kind of mixed use and higher density development which would be more environmentally sustainable. Thanks!

Sw-1

Concern is that SW-1 is not listed under the general list of residential. SW-1 is residential (low density). Should It fall under or with the EN, RN, list?

Noise

I respectfully disagree that existing noise ordinances are sufficient to address the needs of mixed use development, and I strongly believe that you must include certain noise issues as part of your conversation.

I am writing to you after contacting at least 20 others, from codes enforcement to the police department to the mayor’s office to every city council candidate. The noise ordinances as they are written have an exemption for HVAC units. The Tennessee Theater runs theirs at all hours of the day and night at a volume that is twice as loud as a construction site with heavy machinery running (I have video with decibel readings to show this.) The volume is at a threshold identified in federal standards as causing hearing damage, and yet it is allowed to run at any time of day for any amount of time. This would not be allowed in New York City or in other places I checked.

I needed to get a hearing test due to tinnitus and headaches caused by this noise, and the only way to sleep is to use earplugs and a sound machine at the same time (plus a vibrating alarm clock so I don’t oversleep.) After a few days of earplugs, my ear canals will be raw and near-bleeding. I have invested $3k on sound blocking shutters and will still have to invest another $15k in acoustic retrofitting with no guarantees. I have impact statements from numerous neighbors regarding their own stress levels/health, their inability to use expensive balcony retrofits ordered at purchase, and their need to make expensive architectural changes to their windows.

I’ve lived in urban environments for over 20 years, including large cities. I have many nice things to saying about moving to Knoxville, but I cannot recommend living downtown when people ask because of a general failure to control noise and light pollution here. Knoxville needs to take these seriously in mixed use development if it wants to be successful. My neighbors and I would be happy to discuss these issues with you, and other challenges that have arisen in our building, which is part residential and part commercial.

I realize my email is quite long, and I appreciate your time in reading it.

Noise?

Is there anything in the new planning regarding noise in residential districts? I don't believe current ordinances are adequate.
Staff Reply:
It is typically not within the purview of zoning ordinances to address noise, as this issue is usually handled through a separate noise ordinance. This is the case in Knoxville and you may want to contact City staff and your City Council member to advocate for enhancements to the City's noise ordinance. The draft zoning ordinance does propose a requirement for a landscape buffer between non-residential and residential development, which may help mitigate the impact of noise.

Mixed Use Development In C-h Highway Commercial Zoning District

Hi,

I have a question related to the C-H Highway Commercial Zones.

As currently drafted, would a mixed-use development with residential multifamily above a commercial ground floor be permitted in a C-H zone? I see in the Use Matrix that "Dwelling - Above the Ground Floor" is permitted in a C-H zone, but I don't understand whether that implies, multifamily, single family, etc.

Thanks for the help!
Staff Reply:
The intent is to permit either a single dwelling or multiple dwellings on the upper floor(s) of a building in the C-H zone. We will clarify this so there is no confusion.

Drive-through Facility

Consider allowing Drive-Through Facilities in C-N as a Permitted (P) or at least Special (S) use. Given that restaurants, financial institutions, and personal service establishments (I'm thinking of dry cleaners) are allowed in C-N there will certainly be instances when a drive through could make sense.

Comments - Draft Zoning Code

I am a commercial / industrial real estate broker. Below are my comments on the DRAFT Code.

PAGE 1-3

Pending Application
Can you remove the words "was deemed complete by the City". There is a significant investment of time and due diligence made on a property before an application.

Page 5-4; Table 5-2

Commercial Site Design requires all surface parking to be on side or rear unless in CH2 or CR2. Front door parking is a highly desirable feature for most commercial properties. Front door parking should be allowed in C G.

Table 9-1 Use Matrix
For the sake of completeness please add . . .
-Add "Heavy Retail, Rental, and Service"
-Add "Concrete Batch Plant"
-Add "Cement Plant" which is quite different from the Concrete Batch Plant above
-Add "Call Center"
-Add "Truck Stop and Refueling Facility"
-Add "Truck Terminal"
-Add "Construction Office with Outside Storage"
-Add "Landscaper and Lawn Mowing Office with outside Storage"

Page 10-1
Please add to Site Development Standards requirements for eighteen wheel vehicles and semi trucks in regards to building access and turnarounds.
Please add requirements for loading docks
Please add requirements for drive in doors

Concern Over Impact To Residential Housing Values...

I live in Sequoyah Hills. There are currently large commercial developments occurring on the north side of Kingston Pike, which I'm fine with. I think they are doing a good job of providing more affordable housing in the area and creating attractive (physically and financially) symbiotic venues for commercial activity. However, there are rumors of a land grab in the works for the south side of Kingston Pike, west of the intersection with Noelton Dr. If these residential areas are zoned for commercial or multi-family housing, I fear (with good reason) the housing values of all the homes in Sequoyah Hills will take a large hit (10% - 30% based on some bank of the envelope calculations). I would strongly oppose any Knoxville politician/administrator that would approve these areas for anything other than single family dwellings.

Sidewalks - School Zones

Thank you for allowing us to actively participate in offering comments and feedback. I live in Fountain City. We are .50 miles from Fountain City Elementary and Gresham Middle School on Grove Drive, which means that we are in what is called "parent responsiblity zone". Our daughter would like very much to walk to school, however the sidewalks stop less than halfway to our home from the schools. The road is narrow with a ditches and many use it as a cutthrough from Rifle Range to Broadway. People drive fast through the stretch were we live and it is dangerous to walk. We walk as a family and it is not a comfortable walk until we get to a sidewalk. There are children living in Grove Park Subdivision who would benefit from a sidewalk as well.

Please consider ensuring there are sidewalks within the parent responsibility zones throughout the city. This would be a blessing for those of us who have students as well as the general community who enjoy walking without fear of launching into a ditch to avoid the oncoming traffic.

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