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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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).

Zoning Regulations

We desperately need sidewalks to connect neighborhoods to each other and to commercial districts for food and entertainment.

We also need to bury utilities instead of cutting down trees around the utility lines. This is a never ending cycle. If we make the initial investment (albeit an expensive one) it will pay off in the long run. Obviously the annual expense of tree trimming will be less but it will add value to community both aesthetically and will attract more businesses in the long run. We want to keep Knoxville beautiful and if we keep massacring trees this is not possible!!

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?

Zoning Enforcement/compliance

In wracking my brain regarding HOW to "encourage" the city to abide by and ENFORCE their own zoning laws/ordinances/regs/codes, so that zoning updates will "mean" something, IS THERE ANY WAY THAT A FINE OR PUNISHMENT FOR LACK OF ENFORCEMENT AND/OR COMPLIANCE BY THE CITY OF KNOXVILLE CAN BE INSTITUTED?

This is a serious issue. The City has a bad habit...or several.

Citizens need a method, an easy one, other than expensive lawsuits, to pursue when the City goes off on its own with regard to non-enforcement/non-compliance by THEM.

I have proof of this problem, if needed.

Thank you.

Zoning Considerations

I would prefer to see current single family neighborhoods retain their single family neighborhood status. Multifamily homes, apartment and condo complexes, and commercial buildings have destroyed the character of existing neighborhoods like Fort Sanders. I don't want that to happen in the area just north of downtown: LIncoln Park/Oakwood, Old North, Fourth and Gill, North Hills and its environs.

Zoning Comment

I just filled out the survey.

1) dramatically reduce parking required

2) mandate and retrofit neighborhood connectivity, especially for pedestrians

3) require sidewalks everywhere

4) require road design standards that force slow traffic. Require developers build calm streets in the first place. 25mph MAXIMUM design speed.

Zoning Codes

Looking to the future--I would like for the planning commission to re-consider zoning provisions that allow crematories at funeral homes. As a resident of Fountain City, I am appalled and still outraged at how the city MPC, permitting, and City Council handled the Gentry-Griffey funeral home's supposedly secondary use permit for a crematory addition. Apparently no one at the city checks to see if cremations are indeed the secondary use. Gentry-Griffey (owned by an LLC) contracts with several counties to cremate remains of indigents and remains from the medical examiner's office. According to my daily look at the Sentinel's obit pages, Gentry-Griffey doesn't do many funerals, so how could they stay in business if cremation is not their primary business? If Gentry-Griffey's cremations are not secondary, but primary, should their permit not be revoked and a fine imposed?

The new zoning provisions passed a few years ago (after the hurried, non-public approval of Gentry-Griffey's 24 hour, 7 day a week permit was issued and then opposed by a citizen group in Fountain City) now allow crematories at any funeral home, no matter the zoning, I can imagine that we could have a couple more crematories in Fountain City (in that there are several funeral homes here) and we could then kiss Fountain City's neighborhoods' ambiance goodbye. Such a shame the current state of this zoning puts us in!

My biggest problem with Knoxville's zoning is that it is not enforced. Inspections and reports should be made, especially in cases of secondary use permits.

As to your survey, some questions/proposed responses were ambiguous. I tried to respond in a way that reflects my view that neighborhood integrity should be honored, businesses should have to respect residents' reasonable wishes (as to appearance, addition of or re-purposing of commercial buildings, addition of multi-family buildings, to name a few.

Thank you for providing the survey. I am signing up for the newsletter.

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.


I think this is a great effort! I was chair of the city's BZA a few years back and the Code does need to be thrown out and replaced in whole. During my tenure we gave variances for add-ons in Fourth and Gill simply because the owner would otherwise be obligated to follow setbacks designed for West Hills. We granted a number of reduced parking variances that have had no adverse consequences in the intervening years. The variance process, however, is ultimately not a good method for getting the right results for the city. It is expensive, time-consuming, and unpredictable. I'm glad the city is undertaking this important initiative.


Seems to me that Zoning serves only one meister: fear. In cities like Asheville, vacant city lots go for $30k or more. We can't even give them away here. I look forward to the day when we stop using armed force and instead use peaceful means to engage diversity.

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