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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I apologize for not having the time to give more specific feedback, but I wanted to send a few comments. I support the allowance of ADUs in the zoning. They are an important, responsible, and effective means to increase density and provide affordable housing stock. I support the landscape requirements as I feel they are important to improving/maintaining life quality in our city. I support the neighborhood commercial zone, particularly because it may open up opportunities for increased food access in areas that currently may have poor access to quality food options. I hope to be able to offer more specific feedback on the next draft. Thank you for your efforts. I am generally pleased with the direction of ReCode Knoxville. One area of concern is the potential elimination of the Downtown Design Review Board. I think this board process allows public input into projects that might otherwise have little public notice or oversight. I would prefer to see the DDRB continue to exist.

Tree Protection Ordinance

Knoxville has a Tree Protection Ordinance. Is there a reason why this wasn't included in the Recode draft?

Also, rather than saying invasive plant species aren't allowed, can the ordinance link to a list of invasive species and state that anything on the list is prohibited?

Recode Koxville Comments

I speak on behalf of the Sierra Club's ~1,000 members who reside in Knoxville. We thank you for the opportunity to comments on the proposed ordinance and provide the following comments:

1. Article 3 - This may or may not be the appropriate place, but since it contains Special Purpose Districts and Overlay Districts, it seems fitting. The proposed Ordinance contains no reference to, or any part of, the Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan. The Plan was adopted by City Council and incorporated into the General Plan in 2011. In 2017, the City determined that, except through Use on Review, and the Use on Review Development Plan process in Planned Zoning Districts, (Planned Commercial, Planned Residential, Shopping Center), the City's adopted Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan could not be enforced. The reason given for why the Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan could not be enforced is that the Plan had not been codified. The failure to codify the Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan left the Use on Review Development Plan process in Planned zoning districts as the only enforcement mechanism. Therefore, the removal of the existing planned zoning districts results in there being no mechanism to enforce the Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan.

The City Administration should immediately support and the City Council should prepare and adopt a Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Ordinance so that the adopted plan can be enforced.

2. Article 11 - The current parking ordinance allows for reduced or no perimeter or interior landscaping for lots smaller than 20,000 sf. All lots larger than 5,000 sf should be required to have some perimeter landscaping. Lots between 5,000 and 20,000 sf should be required to have graduated interior landscaping (smaller and/or fewer islands), depending on size of the lot. Additionally, we recommend lot sizes be calculated in terms of parking slots rather than square feet; this would be easier for developers, and the public, to interpret. Lots larger than 20,000 sf should have a landscaping break every 10 spaces rather than every 15 spaces.

In general, there should be a greater emphasis on stormwater management (as well as shade distribution) when considering the placement of landscaping in parking lots. Better stormwater treatment can ultimately reduce costs to developers.

Plans Review and Enforcement - This is a major concern to everyone. Ultimately, enforcement will be determined by the will of the city administration and staffing, no matter what's written into the ordinance. We think it's important to have a credentialed professional staff oversee the approval and enforcement of landscape plans.

Tree selection is tied to a list of approved tree species maintained by the Tree Board. However, shrubbery selection is left to the developer, although native and naturalized plantings are recommended. To insure high quality, we would like the ordinance to tie selection to an approved list of recommended shrubs, grasses, ground covers.

3. Article 12.10 - This Article as written is inadequate. We would like to see the current Tree Protection Ordinance (Chapter 14) incorporated into the proposed Ordinance.

Comments On The 1st Draft

Thanks for your work on this draft, I am generally supportive of the new language and structure, and hope it will help promote sustainable and equitable growth for years to come. As a Public Health Educator focusing on food access in Knox County, most of my comments have to do with food-system related uses and language.

Food Pantries: I would like to see them permitted in more districts as a principal use. Restricting them as an ancillary use to places of worship, social service centers, etc. hampers their ability to combat food insecurity in nimble, efficient ways.

Food Truck Parks: I approve of this new principal use, though it would be nice to see it permitted in additional districts, either flat-out, or by special use.

Market Gardens: Please make it easier to locate market gardens in residential districts, either by allowing them as a principal use, or making the special use conditions/fees more manageable. The majority of market gardens will inevitably spring up in residential areas (backyards, vacant lots, etc), but a cumbersome special use application process will deter many would-be urban farmers. I fully support the environmental performance standards, but I think many of the concerns regarding the occurrence of market gardens in residential areas have to do with traffic generated by on-site sales, which should be covered under the Farmstand temporary use permit. We need to encourage the production of food and the generation of small-scale local economy and business everywhere we can! Codes enforcement can keep these sites in compliance without creating so many hoops for these gardeners to jump through on the front-end.

Neighborhood Nonresidential Reuse: I am very supportive of this addition because of its potential to help address food access in residential areas, and to stimulate innovative and convenient mixed-use neighborhoods.

Farmers Market: I approve of this new temporary use, though it would be nice to see it permitted in additional districts.

Farmstand: I approve of this new temporary use, but would like to see it allow year-round sales, either by allowing a 12 month permit period, or allowing for re-application immediately following permit expiration. Season-extension equipment (referenced in this draft) and a generally temperate climate make year-round vegetable production a viable, and often vital, practice. This is evidenced by the proliferation of winter-season farmers markets, and year-round CSAs offered by local growers. These benefits should be extended to urban producers and market gardeners as well.

Composting: I recognize that much of this language is dictated by state regulations, but wherever possible, I would like to see composting made more accessible and convenient on both the residential and municipal scale. Food waste is America's dumbest problem, and language that can promote, or at the least get out of the way of, composting activities should be supported. Item 4 "enclosed or contained" in the composting section is contradictory to the previous three items "bins or piles". Piles are a viable and convenient method of composting but are not "enclosed of contained".

I am supportive of the language regarding: Apiaries, Aquaponics and Hydroponics, Chicken Coops (though I would like to see the hen ordinance made less expensive and complicated), High Tunnels and Greenhouses, and Low Tunnels and Cold Frames.

I am very supportive of the addition of Accessory Dwelling Units to the code. In light of the affordable housing crisis both locally and nationally, ADU's offer a great alternative option for affordable housing in a market that is swiftly pushing out many low-income renters, as well as offering income generation for homeowners and increasing urban density.

I am very supportive of the landscaping requirements for new development.

I almost certainly did not cover all the topics in this draft that affect food access, but hope that any changes to the code promote a healthy and sustainable food system in Knoxville and Knox County.

Community Forum, Supplemental Response To Recode Knoxville, Draft 1, 5-20-18

Community Forum is submitting its first Supplemental Response to the first draft of Recode Knoxville.

This Supplemental Response covers our 14th topic, Office Zoning District, (Article 5).

Thank you for your consideration.


Larry Silverstein, Secretary-Treasurer
Community Forum

Re: Recode Knoxville

Our neighborhood, Tazewell Pike-Beverly Station Neighborhood Coalition, would like to voice our objections to at least the 2 items listed below:

1. Accessory Dwelling Units- we feel at least SOME zones, preferably existing zones of R-1, R-1E , and EN-1 and EN-2, should be excluded from the proposed permitted use of an accessory dwelling unit. If implemented that provision has the potential to completely change the character and density of our neighborhood. Also, our roads are not equipped to carry that additional traffic and there are no mass transit stops within easy walking distance. We like the large lots and open spaces- that is one reason we bought homes here.

2. We supported office zone O-1 for some structures to be used as a buffer and transition between commercial and residential. If restaurants are allowed in office, you have defeated the purpose for office zone. We would have tried our best to fight the rezoning to office in several areas near our homes if we had any idea that restaurants would be allowed. Please do NOT allow restaurants in the office zone.

We bought our homes depending on the zoning that was in place and hopeful that any changes in zoning would serve to only enhance our neighborhood, not completely change it and possibly alter it forever.

We are disappointed and upset about these 2 proposals in the recoding. This is NOT a step forward for our neighborhood- it is 10 steps backward!

Jamie Rowe,

President, Tazewell Pike-Beverly Station Neighborhood Coalition (R-1 with an NC-1 overlay)

General Comments

I attended the workshop held in Fountain City on May 17th and was favorably impressed with the overall direction of the Recode effort. In general, I am supportive of the continued inclusion of the areas supportive of urban agriculture and food (expressed separately through comments with the Food Policy Council). Specifically, I am in support of the Accessory Dwelling Unit/lot proposal and of the increased/enhanced landscaping requirements. Thanks for everyone's efforts on this major project.

Landscape Requirements In Recode

Here are some comments on the proposed ordinance concerning landscaping requirements.

First it is important to have adequate resources including staff to review proposed plans and to enforce the requirements of any ordinance or the purpose and intent of the ordinance will not be accomplished. It is recommended that new staff be added to review and follow up on the landscaping requirements. This staff should have the required education and training to adequately ensure the compliance of all project plan to follow the requirements of the ordinance.

How does this ordinance impact the existing tree protection ordinance and requirement for historic tree protection? If the new ordinance has been written to include the existing tree protection, then it doesn't provide adequate coverage. If the new ordinance wasn't intended to include requirement of the existing tree protection ordinance, then how will they work together?

How does the new ordinance incorporate the Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan which was adopted by City Council and incorporated into the General Plan in 2011?

Is the requirement for 8 trees per acre adequate to sustain the goals of the city to maintain and protect the urban forest canopy? What information was used to establish this requirement?

Screening seems to be the primary focus of the benefits of vegetation but there are many benefits provided by tree and shrubs and this should be included in the goals and requirement of the ordinance such as improved water management and air quality at a minimum.

Alternative compliance should provide for other ways to meet the public interest in protecting and increasing urban tree canopy and the ordinance should include ways to bank these benefits by providing for methods to mitigate negative impacts that can't be avoided on site. An example would be utility requirements that trump preservation or planting requirements should be offset by purchasing credits to be used at other sites for the public good.

When trees are preserved, the trees preserved should have adequate root protection to ensure survival and this requirement needs to be included in the ordinance.

Important that the city's list of trees is included in the ordinance as a guide for tree selection and other list of the city should be included which indicate native species appropriate for Knoxville could be referenced as well for shrubs, flowers and vines.

Long term maintenance and protection of required trees could be included or recommended to prevent future loss due to clearing and poor practices such as topping or poor mulching.

The ordinance should look at lists of other plants like those considered invasive, recommended native shrubs, flowers, grasses and vines that the developer could use in planning their project similar to the list of recommended trees.

The current parking ordinance allows for reduced or no perimeter or interior landscaping for lots smaller than 20,000 sf. All lots larger than 5,000 sf should be required to have some perimeter landscaping. Lots between 10,000 and 20,000 sf should be required to have graduated interior landscaping (smaller and/or fewer islands), depending on size of the lot. Lots larger than 20,000 sf should have a landscaping break every 10 spaces rather than every 15 spaces

Forest Heights Neighborhood Draft 1 Comments

The following is feedback from Forest Heights Neighborhood. We have created a focus group of neighbors (including both FHNA board members as well as other neighbors not representing the board) to analyze and discuss the proposed ordinance and how it affects our neighborhood. The members of the committee were: Jim Pryor, Amy Hathaway, Martie and John Ulmer, Joe Hickman, Leslie Badaines, and Amy Midis. Thank you!

Uses Permitted in the RN-1 District:

1. Home Occupations is broadly defined in the proposed ordinance and specific standards previously used to in the current ordinance to differentiate Home Occupations from Home Offices have not been incorporated into the draft. We feel that the current definitions and their standards for both Home Office and Home Occupation should be added to the proposed ordinance.
2. The definition of a Group Home should be more detailed and should be allowed only as a special use in all residential districts.
3. The existing draft permits Day Care Homes in all residential districts. The State currently regulates Group Day Care Homes (8-12 unrelated children) and Family Day Care Homes (5 - 7 unrelated persons up to age 17). Our existing ordinance defines "Day nursery: private" as having 6 or more unrelated children, therefore allowing fewer that 6 children by right. We request that the Day Care Homes be defined in the new zoning ordinance as 6 or fewer children, and a separate classification of Day Care Homes be defined and allowed only as a "Special Use" in all residential districts.

Zoning Request for 4002 - 4216 Sutherland Avenue:

1. The properties from 4002 Sutherland Avenue west to 4216 Sutherland Avenue are currently zoned either Residential or Office. Since residential houses in Forest Heights are located across the street from these properties, the intensity of the use of these properties directly affect our neighborhood. We recommend that the businesses currently zoned O-1 retain their "O" or Office zoning and the single family residences are zoned the same residential zoning designation as our neighborhood.

Administrative Modifications:

1. The Zoning Administrator is given authority in 15.4C to grant a 10% or less modification to any zoning district dimensional standard in this Code. We request that for modifications granted in residential districts, that the adjoining neighbor who could be affected by this approval be notified in advance of its approval. This is most important with regards to setbacks and maximum height restrictions.

Neighborhood Advisory Council Draft 1 Comments

The following is feedback from a focus group created from the members of the City of Knoxville Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC). The focus group members were Rob Glass, Anna Compton, Molly Conaway, Jennifer Reynolds, and Amy Midis. Thank you!

Comments Regarding Recode Knoxville
Neighborhood Advisory Focus Group
Members: Anna Compton, Molly Conaway, Rob Glass, Amy Midis, Jennifer Reynolds

1. We feel that the minimum lot square footage for the EN-1 residential district should be reduced from 22,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet. (Article 4.3, Table 4-1)
2. We feel like allowing ADUs on lot sizes of 5000 square feet is too small, and recommend the lot size be increased to a minimum of 7000 square feet. (Article 10.3B)
3. The existing draft permits Day Care Homes in all residential districts. Since no specific standards are provided regarding this use, it appears that regulatory control of these businesses is by the State of Tennessee. We would like to see the draft include local standards for Day Care Homes in the ordinance and not let the State dictate the intensity of this use. Furthermore, we would not permit day care homes that allow more than 6 children not related to the owners. (Article 2.3)
4. We like the idea of non-residential reuses being allowed in the new draft, however, we would like to see the new buildings be updated to new code standards, as well as installing buffers to help distance the property from residential properties. (Article 9.3W)
5. We request that the Class B buffer require one evergreen ever 10 feet, and not ever 20 feet. (Article 12.9C)
6. We request more graphs or pictures in the ordinance to visualize the concept of ADUs. (Article 10.3B)

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