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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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?

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


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,


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.

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!
I think these changes will make everything easier and more clear. I wish I had some constructive criticism, but everything looks great.

Community Project Maintenance Funding

RE: 6th street underpass mural project

Apparently, although the original grant attempts to incorporate maintenance/cleaning...there are also appear to be restrictions as to water runoff which effectively prevents maintenance. I would propose that "blight projects" or other art/murals/etc. specifically address annual/ongoing cleaning and maintenance. The underpass is getting dirtier by the day and some are now becoming bolder with their "camping-out" scenarios.

Solar Power

Recode Knoxville Since your favorite word is "sustainability," how about you implement the total opposite of what FPL is doing in Florida with Solar. FPL is not allowing homeowners to own their own solar power. Homeowners have to connect it to FPL. This is a bunch of hog wash. You nor anyone else owns the power of sun. Since the City of Knoxville and KUB are really the same org. You have the power to do this. I'll see what you guys have come up with at your next public meeting.

South Knoxville Sidewalk

Are their any plans to put sidewalk/bike path on Sevier Ave? There is a huge need from SoKno Taco corner up to Red Bud crossing. People frequently walk this area and it is very difficult to see them at night...with no shoulder. I get frustrated at lack of services for an area that the home owners pay city and county taxes, but we get forgotten or left out of improvements. Thanks!


I am just now finding out about recode Knoxville. I saw it on my kub bill. Why did they not send out letters to every postal address about this subject and the survey? I am watching the video of the stakeholder advisory committee and hearing them say they sent out e-mails and posted it on there web site.They said they wanted better response from people. How many peoples e-mails do you have and how do you expect to get them? How many people are going to know about your web site? What about people that don't have internet? So again I ask,Why did they not send out letters to every postal address about this subject and the survey? Or did they and I missed it? Thank You for your time.


So as a cyclist in Knoxville I notice that it's very unfriendly mainly due to there is nowhere to park a bicycle at basically any business. If they do the bicycle racks are in horrible places like the bicycle racks at Walgreens in Bearden where it's literally 10 feet from Kingston pike. Either that or I have to literally walk my bicycle into the store and leave it somewhere at the front while I shop or walk it with me.

I would love to see a building code that required a bike rack up against the building for Knoxville.

Walgreens bicycle parking


I would like to see a sidewalk from the Rocky Hill shopping center to Rocky Hill School. There is so much school traffic on that road and the road is not very wide. I think a sidewalk would be very helpful and make the road a lot safer.

Street Trees

I walk anywhere I can from my house in Old North, and I often have my kids with me in a stroller. Lately I've noticed a lot of urban development and repurposing of defunct businesses, which I applaud. Efforts like this make the city more livable and enjoyable. I've also noticed that in many projects (such as the construction on Depot at the Regas site), huge mature street trees that I came to appreciate and love for their shade have been cut down. I think incentives to work around existing trees are a great idea, as it will easily take 50-100 years to replace a tree that may have been in the way for a short-term project. Seeing a long, hot sunny stretch where there were once spreading old limbs is discouraging. And sweaty. Trees also lend an established, well-cared for feeling to cities, and we lose a lot when we lose mature trees. Thank you for your time.

Walkability/public Transit And Mixed Use

It is extremely important to my sense of wellbeing as a Knoxville resident that we emphasize different modes of transport, including facilities for pedestrian, bicycle, scooters, busses and potentially other public transport.i fully support the COKs sidewalk investments and moves towards mixed use neighborhoods.


My son will be starting Kindergarten this year. I love being active and it makes me sad that I live so close to the school, but I can't walk because there are no sidewalks! The area is growing and there is not a lot of parking. If there were sidewalks throughout the community I think there would be a lot more people walking and biking and leaving their cars at home. Thanks for your time!


The sidewalks in Fort Sanders, especially on Clinch and Laurel are cracked and crumbling. Cars are parked at yellow curbs, bus stops on Clinch.

More Info After Taking Survey

I got this email after taking a survey about zoning. I wanted to comment that I live near kingston pike and moved to my neighborhood because there was a bus stop nearby. However, about 6 months after moving into my house, the bus route changed. I now have to walk a little farther to catch the bus, but that's not really the issue. The big issue here is that I live in a residential area very close to businesses on kingston pike, one of Knoxville's busiest roads, that I cannot get to safely because there are no sidewalks. There are some areas that barely even have shoulder to walk in. I have to walk though someone's yard to get to Kingston pike because someone's house along kingston pike has so much foliage on the ground that you have to walk IN kingston pike around the foliage. It is very unsafe and discouraging.

I do not drive, and I think it isn't good to require people to drive in this city. It creates more traffic and accidents because people who should not be driving are, because there are no other options. It is not fair to those who cannot afford cars or those unable to drive.

I walk to my dentist appointments on S Peters Rd., just a 20 minute walk from my house, but it's a little nerve wracking because there are many spots where I barely have any space to walk safely.

More sidewalks make the city safer and healthier. I have lost weight by exercising and walking more. I think it's kind of sad that many people have to first drive to greenways to walk. There is a greenway near where I live, but I cannot get there safely due to lack of sidewalks and pedestrian crossings. I have biked there, but being near an interstate ramp also makes me nervous when I try. Is also like to be able to bike to the greenway safely.

I can understand not having sidewalks in residential areas, but it is necessary in mixed residential and business areas to connect the two safely with sidewalks.

Fortunately I work downtown and I'm very happy that there's plenty of sidewalk there.

Sorry if this was long, but I wanted to voice my opinion and frustrations. I hope there are others like me wanting safer ways to walk in the city. Thanks for reading.

Official Questions For The Boards And Committees For Recode Knoxville

Official questions for the boards and committees for Recode Knoxville

1. What kind of Input, consulting, training, email or other documents, regarding RecodeKnoxville (rezoning), are coming from the ICLEI global network?

2. How will you prevent mis-identification of wetlands?

3. Have you looked to New York where there is high density living, but no affordable housing?

4. Which outside entities may possibly provide credits, tax breaks or any funding to the city and its citizens for following the new code.

5. Does the city of Knoxville get any credits or any type of funding for creating high density living?

6. Does the city of Knoxville get any credits or any type of funding for creating high density living for lower income levels.

7. Will Knoxville have complete control over building or will any outside entities (government or NGO's outside of Knoxville) have a say?

8.? What is the current percentage of open space in Knoxville?

9.? Will the City of Knoxville have to meet the requirements of a sustainable community??

10.? Does the city of Knoxville have to meet any rezoning codes for any reason?

Residential House Freedom

I strongly believe house owners should be able to use their houses as they see fit. It is not government's business to regulate who lives in your house. I think ordinances restricting occupancy would prove unconstitutional if challenged. I also think short term rental such as Air B&B should not be restricted.

Zoning: Commercial Corridors & Building Height

Regarding the Commercial Corridors question: single family housing should not be encouraged in the corridor but commercial with residential above is a great way to keep neighborhoods safe and convenient for multifamily dwellings.

Regarding height increases: 45' does seem a bit low but I would not want to see the heights increased by very much - the human scale is very important to maintain when attempting to encourage pedestrian friendliness (which is a form of equal opportunity design).

Additional Comments

Thank you for providing a space for additional comments. I strongly encourage more sidewalks, especially in the gap areas where sidewalks appear for a distance, then stop, or there is a gap between existing sidewalks. I'm sure others may have a similar situation, but my neighborhood is located within a short distance to the a) sidewalk on Francis Rd in one direction, and b) in the other direction, the sidewalk on Middlebrook Pike. However, I am trapped because the roads to get to those sidewalks are extremely curvy and narrow, and are hazardous for cars at times, much less a pedestrian or cyclist. If only the gap were filled, the residents in my area could travel by sidewalk in one direction to Cedar Bluff and beyond, and in the other direction, utilizing sidewalks and greenways, all the way to Volunteer Landing and beyond. The possibilities really excite me, except for the gap which completely changes the picture. Also, the closest bus stop is at Amherst/Middlebrook or Francis/Middlbrook and I have seen walkers risk their lives walking on the road until they reached a sidewalk leading to the bus stop.

I know there are many priorities, thank for allowing me to voice my opinions. Thank you also for looking to the future and helping to make Knoxville an even more wonderful city.

Sustainability Incentives

I'm not sure if this fits in the purview of the zoning work you're doing...but I'd love to see the city offer incentives/take actions to encourage adoption of more sustainable behaviors. I'm thinking:

- Make the 20 best parking spots in all city-owned garages EV only parking spots
- Create a PACE financing program
- Work with KUB to implement an excellent net metering program with highly favorable rates for Knoxvillians who add solar to their roofs over a designated period of time. In other words, if I add solar to my roof between now and, say, the end of 2021, KUB buys my excess power production or production at peak demand times for $.20/KwH.

And then some personal peeves/requests:
- Somehow make it so I could actually walk easily from Sequoyah to shopping centers on Kingston Pike without feeling like I'm putting my life at risk! Getting from the Sequoyah side of the street to the opposite side of Kingston Pike is really a hair raising experience. And then walking on the sidewalk beside Kingston Pike always makes me feel like I could get plowed over by a driver at any minute (no barrier between the traffic and me).
- Find a way to encourage/incentivize homeowners to turn OFF their programmed lawn sprinklers/irrigation systems when it's raining!
- Bring back curb-side glass recycling
- Find a way to encourage/incentivize composting


Develop code that is more than "minimal"- let code reflect tougher standards so that variances are more difficult to ask for and have approved

Also, don't make all neighborhoods alike- as in the survey- there are distinct areas that need to be cherished and preserved.

Great ideas about landscaping- but after the initial build- who checks to make sure the landscaping is still in tact and being taken care of.

Owners of apartment buildings should have specific requirements that must be adhered to- so neighborhoods don't have to complain and complain in order for things to change- for example- apartments on Jacksboro near Kesterwood, Oak Park, and Woodrush. An eyesore like that devalues the beautiful homes in the area.


We do not need anymore apartments / condos in Inskip. We need more traffic calming and more police presence.


it is difficult to answer some questions because, like many things, it's a matter of degree. the devil is in the details.

for instance, do i favor design controls? it depends on the degree. i certainly favor some, as long as they establish guidelines and allow flexibility, but i do not favor controls if they specifically tell me that i have to plant an oak tree, for instance, or i have to use red brick.

it's okay, in my opinion, to say you must have so many trees, that they be native species, and a min. size, but it is not all right to tell me i have to plant a white oak and nothing but a white oak.

anyway, i took a chance and said 'yes', but others with the same feelings might just as easily say 'no'.

Use Of Existing Trees As Credit Toward Landscaping

I wish to amend my previous statement.

This credit should be allowed only for tree species that are native to Knox County or non-natives specimens that have an established history of use over many decades without any demonstration of colonization, reproduction or invasive tendencies. Non-natives should only be allowed when passing this very high hurdle. An example of a tree that should be allowed for the credit would be a bald cypress, a weeping willow, or a white cedar. Examples of non-natives that should not be allowed are any of the non-native mulberries, princess tree, and those terrible little European hornbeams that are popping up everywhere (they are showing invasive tendencies!!).

Knoxville should get its house together in regard to being a "real" tree city and start focusing on native species of trees, flowers and grasses, reclaiming roadsides and small woodlot spaces to promote pollinator and wildlife habitat. We have serious invasives problems and need to get real about it. In 40 years, the precious "urban wilderness" is going to be a deadscape of non-native vines and shrubs. Your forest is dying all around you and you don't notice, because everything is green. Deal with the kudzu patches, the wintercreeper, the privet and bush honeysuckle, the English ivy, etc, etc., or watch your forests die.

Use Of Existing Trees As Credit Toward Landscaping Requirements

This allowance should only be for species native to Knox County.


There's no public transportation past Cedar Bluff and it's difficult if you live out there and have a job in town. I would love to see it expanded and/or a commuter system for high volumn times from West and North to downtown.

Side Walks And No Ditches

Would like sidewalks in neighborhoods other than downtown to promote security and community. Also, get rid of the ditches that line almost all of the streets in south Knoxville. Either that or annex us so we don't have to pay taxes to pay for the rest of the city's sidewalks and proper water management (no more ditches dug in people's front yards). Put it in the code to require city neighborhoods to have sidewalks.

Ensuring Affordability

Knoxville is a scruffy city, and part of what's kept it that way are the many locally-born, grown, and owned businesses. An updated zoning code will spur increased development in Knoxville and, inevitably, will raise rent and property prices. The new code should set standards for ensuring that a reasonable percent of rents and properties remain affordable for the small-scale folks who've made this city unique. I grew up around Greenville, SC and watched as it transformed into the tourist destination it is today. However, one of the biggest complaints about Greenville from locals and tourists alike is that it is too "corporate." Unless we plan ahead to keep rents and properties affordable, both for retail and for housing, Knoxville will make the same mistake. Let's keep it scruffy, even while we work to make it a livelier place for all of us to live.


Need to work on roads rather than making bike lanes and sidewalks. Since you have screwed up Moody Avenue by making it a 2 lane road I have seen far more car wrecks than I have seen people riding bikes. Crazy. I have talked to a lot of people who feel the same way. Also need more speed enforcement everywhere in the city. Especially Chapman Highway.

Public Transit

We need Amtrak and Southwest Airlines! More trains to connect to Nashville, Chatt and Atlanta.

Light Pollution, Alleyways

Many alleyways in the north Knoxville area have become unsafe havens for criminal activity within residential neighborhoods. I have an alleyway behind my house that runs the length of several neighborhoods and it has become unsafe to take the trash out at night or walk my dog in these areas. I have witnessed drug use, violence, and illegal drug sales in the alleyway and have reported the issues to Knoxville PD.

I would like to see stricter traffic laws enforced in alleyways that prevent anyone and everyone from using the alleyways for their illegal activities. More lights in the alleyways would make them safer or even just signs posted prohibiting certain activities or bringing attention to surveillance in the area could help improve the safety of alleyways in Knoxville.

On the subject of lighting. It would be great if, with all the new construction happening, if better light pollution techniques could start to be applied to newer structures and layouts. The night sky is important for human health and Knoxville currently ranks very low among night sky friendly cities. We should start thinking about the future now and applying techniques to reverse our light pollution output.

Thank you for considering my thoughts and concerns.

Additional Zoning Comment

I wanted to emphasis that historical sites should be considered for preservation and protection as well as older trees/etc. Reusing and maintaining structures and trees already present should be prioritized over razing an area and starting anew.

Recode Knoxville

Loved this survey. It was easy but I do wish there were a few more examples of what was being discussed. Such as parking regulations, i.e. commercial shops are required to have 5 spaces per 1000 feet, should this regulation be increased? For the most part I was able to understand what was being discussed but examples always help. Good job advertising on Facebook, this helps and I will share! 😉

Gentrification/ Environ Concerns

I feel like the environmental section was a bit short. We know that we need to be drastically reducing our carbon emissions in order to sustain life on this planet! There should be more environmental regulations on new buildings and retrofits of older buildings. Also, how there wasn't anything specifically on how this project is going to address gentrification. There are many homeless people in this city and when people can no longer afford to live in their homes, the situation will only get worse. There was no mention on affordable housing or expansions of shelters and of community services.

(no Title)

I would like to see changes to Montgomery Village. I would like to see a revitalization to be compaerable to the other revitilazation going on In South Knoxville.I would like MV to be privatized and perhaps redeveloped as college housing or senior housing. I would like to see more patrol in the area as well. As a resident who has to drive through it to get to my home in Knox Co, I have seen a decline in safety, asthetics, and over all negelect to the area. I am a concerned citizen who greatly wants to see that area redevelop and grow.


Upkeep of side walks is tearable in Knoxville especially in the Ft Sanders area. They are broken up, blocked by brush, low hanging branches, cars parked on them.

Dedicated Streets In Condo Developments

Developers are allowed to build condos (separate buildings) based upon the zoned intensity. However, they are allowed to get away with dedicating only the main entryway/street to the city and all other streets classified as driveways. The USPS recognizes these side streets as residential addresses but the city only has to maintain the main roadway since the developer is allowed to designate the other streets, no matter how many, as driveways. The developer also is able to skirt the requirements of the city for a street and build these "driveways" narrower and without curbs. This is a sweetheart deal for the developer and really screws the residents.

New Codes

If we're going to encourage commercial development in neighborhoods and secondary streets, we should set local business, and have strict restrictions on corporate and national chains. I would love to have small markets or restaurants in my neighborhood, but I don't want another Dollar general or fast food joint, with big lights and obnoxious signage.nnAlso, if we're going to be redeveloping these corridors, can we install a municipal fiber optic system like Chattanooga has? It has done wonders for that city, and we could benefit from such a system in citizen connectedness and appealing to new, tech related industry development.

Zoning Code Survey

I attended the city's recent workshop on sustainability & liked the idea of developing the West Town site using the existing retail structure for that purpose while adding to its sustainability by building above the parking lot & existing structure. That site won't be viable if the amount of parking is reduced. Lack of convenient parking is a key factor in business survivability across the city.nnZoning codes regarding landscaping shouldn't be so restrictive as to dictate types of plants except as to tree height and root spread. Lawns are a luxury and substitute ground cover should be acceptable.nnCodes regarding lot sizes should be flexible enough to take into account today's tiny houses movement.

Additional Comments

My impression of the survey, which is only my impression, is that it is skewed toward approval of higher density development which would benefit commercial developers more than residents. It is also rather vague. In theory I might like the idea of a more flexible approach to the size of a lot needed for a residential building, for example. However, if a builder wants to put a house on the tiny lot next door to me as an "infill" I would object.

There is nothing in the survey about truly affordable housing, or about preventing the duplication of downtown redevelopment efforts into the Magnolia corridor, which would price many residents out of the area. Mixed use is great, but maybe not if it means a Starbucks below and pricey condos above.

Although I feel there should be more landscaping requirements and architectural guidelines, I think they should not be a burden on an individual homeowner such as myself. We need creative solutions which take the needs of the elderly, low income and disabled into consideration., with much more input from these residents. Local homeowners and very small business owners need affordable programs to help repair and enhance their properties.

When it comes to improving neighborhoods, let's not forget the mostly unattractive buildings for seniors, low income such as Love Towers. If real estate developers want to profit in our city, they should be wiling to contribute to the welfare of all its residents, not just the wealthier elements.

Gentrification needs to be addressed in an open, transparent way and more options developed for lower income citizens to purchase their own homes or perhaps have cooperatively owned apartments.

Pedestrian Safety

It's essential that we add sidewalks and traffic calming measures to our neighborhoods, particularly those used heavily by commuters who are not as concerned with following traffic regulations (one way, stop signs, etc.) as they rush to and from work.


Many of the choices were of necessity broad, and do not allow for nuances.
As a starter I would like to see a specified definition of what constitutes a dwelling unit. I believe citizens buy and build in a location based on zoning, but we are seeing existing zoning being over turned or re-interpreted. Surely we can create a great viable, and vibrant city without destroying existing communities.

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