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.

Reflecting Roofs

Increasing the Reflectivity of Structures Could Reduce High Temperatures in Cities

I've been wondering whether it is feasible to include within the zoning codes requirements for reflective roofs. It certainly would help with urban heat island effects. See below.

Recent research has shown that cities, which absorb drastically more solar radiation than the countryside, would benefit from coloring dark surfaces with light gray or white materials. For instance, black asphalt reflects only four percent of the sunlight that strikes it, while grassland and white snow can reflect up to 25 and 90 percent, respectively. In New York City, this "urban heat island" effect can increase temperatures 1-3 degrees Celsius warmer relative to rural areas. Research by the National Center for Atmospheric Research found that by raising the reflectivity of a city's roofs from 32 percent to 90 percent, the urban heat island effect would decrease by a third, reducing maximum daytime temperatures by an average of 0.6 degrees C. Additional studies have found that "cool roofs" could reduce temperatures by 1.8 degrees C in other cities. Urban heat islands can also cause nighttime temperatures to remain high, placing stress on vulnerable populations in need of a recovery period from blistering daytime conditions.

For more information see
Yale Environment 360
https://e360.yale.edu/features/urban-heat-can-white-roofs-help-cool-the-worlds-warming-cities

Noise/dogs/drunken Parties

There seems to be a popular trend to getting dogs and locking them up either in the house for longs hours or in a fenced yard with no care, exercise, or training. Who do I call when I am surrounded by barking dogs almost non-stop while folks are away and many times home leaving them unattended? I have two on one side, one on the other and four behind me-these are put out around 5:30AM and bark for sometime till they calm down and start up again anytime I am in my own back yard garden trying to work or enjoy it. While one set of neighbors has owned and adapted to stop theirs the other two won't respond to pleas or any amount of talking.

And the one with one dog also has drunken parties on the screened in porch right outside my bedroom window along with dog running back and forth underneath it.

Help!

I have lived downtown all my adult life and until now everyone understood how to get along and be considerate of close living with neighbors. I do not know who to call and how to get anything done about this.Animal control came and they just lied and begged off and nothing changed.

My quality of life as well as lack of sleep has lead me to almost sell and leave many times but who would buy a house when they come to look at it and hear all this noise!?

Mixed Use (living Above The Store)

Support residential over businesses for live-work or condo ownership, in downtown as well as surrounding areas such as Broadway and Central Avenue, especially including areas around Happy Holler.

Reduce parking requirements in areas well-served by public transit and with bike lanes. Reduce the need for surface parking lots by supporting shared parking areas.

Input And Suggestion For Recode Knoxville

In recent years the continued growth in Knoxville has reduced the distances between commercial and residential areas. This has resulted in unreasonably loud, unusual and unnecessary noise from refuse collection (from dumpsters) in commercial areas that impact residential areas. The attached proposed change seeks to limit this refuse collection to times that will minimize significant impact to families and children while allowing collection in more commercial areas.

If you would have questions about this proposed change or need examples of where and how this will improve the quality of life in Knoxville please contact me.

Proposed Change to Knoxville Tennessee Code of Ordinances
Staff Reply:
The update of the City of Knoxville zoning ordinance will not include revisions to the City's noise ordinance as that is freestanding ordinance. The update to the City zoning code will propose landscape buffers between residential and non-residential development. The proposed landscape buffers will aid in addressing the issue with noise generated by abutting commercial uses.

Progressive Ideals And Recommendations For Recode Knoxville

Mr. Green,
On behalf of the Knox County Democratic Party Progressive Action Committee, we would like to submit the attached comments on ReCode Knoxville.
Please let us know if you or your team members have any questions on our submission.
Thank you,
Progressive Action Committee
Knox County Democratic Party

Progressive Ideals and Recommendations for ReCode Knoxville

? Regarding Zoning Ordinance Update

Will the update include any new sections using form based code?
Staff Reply:
Draft 1 incorporates the existing the form cords for South Waterfront and Cumberland Avenue, but does not propose additional form districts.

Yard Definitions

I seem to remember a graphic that was used in one of the presentations I saw that showed how the city defines the space in a residential yard. The graphic showed the front and back yard as well as side and standoffs etc. I can't seem to find that graphic now. If it is no trouble and you can find it easily, could you send that to me.

Is that going to change in the recode? If so what will the new definitions be?

Chicken Coops

What is going to happen with chicken coop rules. Has anything been decided?
Staff Reply:
The staff recommendation at this time is to leave the standards for chicken coops as they are now. Please let us know if you fell the standards should be revised in any way.

Zoning Lots

Can you clariify: Does a zoning lot only include connecting lots that are within the same zone? Will this apply to commercial and office zones also, not just residential?

Furthermore, the section addressing zoning lots, you mention that the City has an original ward map and a parcel map. Can you clarify what that means?

Racial Equity

Hello,

I'm concerned about how Black and Latinx stakeholders are engaged in this process. Is engagement equitable at this point? Also, I hope there is some serious social impact consulting seriously measuring along lines of difference pertaining to race, income, ability, etc. Transportation often widens inequity so I expect that to be a topic of public discussion and addressed in the plan as well. Thus far, I see buzz words about being green but nothing about social impact and explicitly measuring perhaps unintended negative consequences to what we're doing here.

Thank you for your consideration,

C-3

One concern I have coming out of the recent presentation is the recommendation for keep the general commercial code for both suburban and urban development. I am not exactly sure how to do it, but I think we need an urban commercial code for places like Central, potentially MLK, Sevier, Sutherland, parts of Kingston Pike and Broadway, which would be significantly different than the traditional C3 suburban code. I would appreciate your thoughts.

This article highlights the problem.
http://insideofknoxville.com/2017/09/a-plea-for-preservation-of-a-building-and-a-struggle-for-the-soul-of-central/

An historic overlay probably would not be appropriate for Central, but we need some type of guidelines to keep it developing in an urban style, rather than suburban. How can a one size fits all approach work?

Marshall Stair
Council Member
I am an urban farmer in East Knoxville

URBANAG: The current permit is $100 for a farmstand for a 9-month season. We have food access issues in Knoxville, and in order to make food more accessible ? lay farmers/backyard farmers should be able to set up a stand to sell for free. Wave a profit requirement ? if you gross> $500(?) you have to pay, but let hobby farmers provide food to their neighbors. Consider incentives for food production in urban neighborhoods. Not just community gardens, but market gardens. Consider property tax breaks for people growing food in the city, similar to how rural areas have agricultural designations. Particularly on empty lots that are purchased from the city.

H1 (historic overly and design guide) My neighborhood is in this process of approval by MPC/City Council. Should the process be suspended until this Recode is complete? They seem very duplicative. We are spending great amounts of time, money, & energy resources to create/debate something that may be changed significantly. I have a lot of questions about the AG special purpose district! ?Farmland? is now inside residential areas in urban settings!
Shouldn?t use categories be separated by impact not type: retail establishment & convenience store (with gas) has a very diff visual & traffic impact than book stores.

PUD ? consider formal approval of concept plan so developer has some certainty before committing $ to prelim plan.

Very glad code is being reworked. It?s impossible to figure out! Re-subdivided lots vs tax parcels. See past Planning magazine article.
The presentation demonstrates a strong move in the right direction. Thank you for your time. I will be keeping up to date with further updates and I look forward to the change. If I think of any ideas or if I see any potential issues, then I will contact your organization and let you know. Thanks again!
Thank you for working to make the zoning & code easier to understand. The presentation was very helpful & clear. Good work! I am particularly interested in protecting residential areas from industrial buildings (maybe with more than just buffer green spaces) & revising buildings. I hope the new zoning code can help with fragmentation in the cityl. I am also concerned with what it would look like if the community wanted to fight a PUD. How easy would that be? I hope easy. Thank you!

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