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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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.

(no Title)

I have very little respect for some of your building code officials. In my previous experience of renovating 3 houses in Knoxville, some of them are pompous kings in their own little areas of code enforcement. One told me he could tear down a house in an area where we were trying to redevelop 8 houses. He could do it because it was condemned because the absentee owner would not cooperate with code enforcement or sell the property, or answer any mail concerning his empty house. The fact that it would affect the development of the rest of the properties meant nothing to this man. One plumbing inspector refused to give a CO for one of the 8 houses because the toilet was 1/2 inch too close to the toilet in a half bath. That was the only thing keeping the owner from obtaining the CO. 1/2"! I truly believe that if code enforcement had been more flexible there would be 8 renovated Victorian houses on W. Baxter, instead of everything torn down in the entire block of houses except for two little little houses. What a waste. I have heard similar horror stories from people trying to remodel or renovate buildings. I wonder that any investors have ever finished any projects in this town.

Residential Plat Zoning

Is this a commercial project only, or will you be incorporating the equally outdated residential property zoning plats in the project? Property ward maps do not match property deeds and the result can be over $2,000 for a resident to pay for a surveyor and mpc updates, just for the city to update its own records. Thank you ahead of time for your response.
Staff Reply:
The update will address the entire zoning code. We have heard several complaints about the issue created by the ward maps, including many concerns voiced by MPC and City staff. This issue will be addressed in the code update or may be addressed earlier due to the challenges it creates.

Survey

The survey is great. Glad we are starting to think "outside the box". It is likely that some survey takers will feel the questions lead to the desired responses. I felt that way but agree with where the questions led me.

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

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.

Sidewalks

With the growth in South Knoxville, particularly the Sevier Heights area, we need sidewalks badly. Walkers on Sevierville Pike have to walk in people yards, the ditch and/or the middle of the road. In many places there is no where to go if cars are coming. Many times a day, people who live in apartments on Redbud walk down the street to the bus stop or convenient store and cars need to veer to avoid them.

Codes & Standards

While I encourage the redevelopment of existing facilities and mixed-use development, I don't think that government should go as far as to regulate landscaping and actual architectural expression in building materials. For example, having an area of mixed use development that requires street level windows or retail is okay, but don't require the building look just like every other building on the block. Also, pedestrian and bike corridors are great where feasible, but if the expense is too great or right-of-way too narrow or restrictive, then there should be exceptions. In other words, encourage it where it's feasible and makes sense, but don't write it into the code everywhere and create an economic burden.

Thanks for requesting input!

(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.

Recode Support

I am definitely in favor of the recode as one much needed measure to address the crisis in affordable housing.

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