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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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Is this a commercial project only, or will you be incorporating the equally outdated residential property zoning plats in the project?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.

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.

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.

Scope Of Project

Please advise whether this project will review for purposes of potential modification, the process for changing existing zoning and the use on review process. Will the roles the MPC and the Chief Building Official of the City of Knoxville, as well as the definition in the Code of Ordinances be subject to review/discussion.
Staff Reply:
The process for changing the existing zoning of a property, which requires MPC review and recommendation followed by City Council approval, is established by state statute and will not change. The use on review process, the roles of MPC and the Chief Building Official, and definitions in the zoning ordinance likely will be reviewed and discussed.

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.

What Does This Even Mean?

What does this even mean? "Our current zoning ordinance is very rigid and in some cases prevents neighborhoods from achieving their full potential. An updated ordinance can protect the things we value about our neighborhoods and commercial areas while allowing the kinds of smart, sustainable growth that will move Knoxville Forward" What is the definition of full potential, and give me three neighborhood examples of full potential. You're telling me that we can't build sidewalks in neighborhoods? Is this the "full potential?" What are three examples of "smart" growth in a neighborhood in Knoxville. What are three examples of "sustainable growth" in a neighborhood here.
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your comments regarding the updating of the City of Knoxville’s zoning ordinance. In response to your question regarding building sidewalks in neighborhoods, the short answer is no, the City cannot build sidewalks in all existing neighborhoods that lack them. The cost of retrofitting sidewalks (constructing them after development of the property occurs) is at a minimum $250 -$350 per linear foot. This cost covers land acquisition, design, grading, construction, stormwater drainage, utility relocation, and related costs. The cost of addressing all sidewalks identified on the City’s current priority list is approximately $150 Million. The cost to provide sidewalks on both sides of all streets in the City currently lacking them is at least $3 Billion. So no, the City cannot build sidewalks in all neighborhoods. The City is taking a pragmatic approach to sidewalk construction: budgeting more money for sidewalk construction and maintenance; beginning the development of a pedestrian priority plan that will identify and rank sidewalk needs so that future funding can be allocated to the greatest identified need; and drafting an ordinance that would require sidewalk construction when new development and major redevelopment occurs in the City.

I will provide a couple examples of combined smart/sustainable development as in my opinion they are the same thing. The first example is the redevelopment of a vacant building at the corner of Sevierville Pike and Lancaster Drive to house a restaurant. An abandoned existing structure was repurposed for a use that serves the neighborhood and the broader community. The parking area is constructed of previous pavers and the site is well landscaped. The redevelopment of this property in a smart/sustainable manner will enable the building to be used for other purposes in the future should the current business relocate, close, or vacate the property for some other reason. Due to this thoughtful redevelopment, rather than a vacant building that detracts from the neighborhood there is a viable business at this location that serves and strengthens the neighborhood.

Another example of smart/sustainable development is the redevelopment of the vacant building on Sevier Avenue that now houses Alliance Brewing and Three Bears Coffee. The redevelopment incorporated many sustainable features that will reduce its environmental footprint, from lighting to pavement materials. Once again, rather than a vacant building that detracts from the neighborhood this location now houses thriving businesses that serve and enhance the neighborhood.

An example of a redevelopment made challenging by the current zoning ordinance, and thus difficult to reach the neighborhood’s full potential, is provided by the property at the corner of Broadway and East Glenwood Avenue. The City’s current zoning code requires significant parking (40 – 45 parking spaces) for the businesses in this building. Given the size of the property there is no way the current parking requirements could be met. In addition, the setback requirements in the current ordinance for this zoning district (25 feet front and side, 15 feet rear) make the existing building non-conforming. In order to redevelop this property, and assist in the neighborhood reaching its full potential, the owners had to incur the expense and delay of obtaining variances from the zoning requirements. An updated zoning code that acknowledged the character of existing neighborhoods will make it easier to redevelop properties such as this that serve neighborhoods and are easily accessible to neighborhood residents.

With regard to neighborhoods reaching their full potential, I will provide a brief list of items that would be characteristics of a neighborhood that reached its full potential. Typical characteristics of a neighborhood that has reached its full potential are:

  • A variety of housing choices, from large single family homes to small apartments;

  • Access to transportation options, from private vehicles to transit to walking and biking;

  • Using vacant and blighted properties to provide amenities that are easily accessible to neighborhood residents. Examples of this include using vacant lots for mini-parks, children’s playgrounds, and/or community gardens.

  • Small commercial areas that are integrated into the neighborhood, of compatible scale, and that respect the neighborhood character.

Impact On Building Codes

Is this project related to City of Knoxville or Knox County building codes?
Staff Reply:
No, the project is a comprehensive update of the City of Knoxville zoning ordinance and it is not related to the building codes, The City of Knoxville Plans Review and Inspections department maintains a list of the international building codes that are in effect in City of Knoxville.

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.

? 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.

Design Standards

On page 5 of the survey (Design and Landscape Standards), I wanted to provide more details of my personal opinions. While design standards can be good, they can also severely limit the character of a place. I believe that the standards that could be introduced would be more along the lines of "You should plant 'this many' trees or have 'so many square feet' of landscaping. It should NOT restrict species, layout, or design of the landscape. The same principle applies to architectural elements. While there is good reason to require street-level storefront windows in certain development zones (corridor intersections to encourage street-front walkability and commerce), materials/design should NOT be prescribed. Architects and Landscape Architects should be given freedom to be creative. nnThe purpose of these rules would be to make sure we avoid the same mistakes made over the last 50 years with automobile-focused development, not prescribe uniformity throughout the city. Certain zones could or should require design elements to promote a healthy development, but should not prescribe every material/detail. That is where you counteract the character, vitality, and originality that new zoning codes would be trying to achieve. The most vibrant and memorable neighborhoods have diversity and character, not consistency.nnWe aren't trying to make cut-and-paste suburban housing tracts in our city centers, but active, healthy, and unique places for our residents to live, work, and play.

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