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 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.

Hillside Protection

I notice that a portion of my property, that includes about half of my house, falls within an area designated HP. I can't find any definitive resource regarding HP online, except references back to 2008-2011. I'm interested in what restrictions the HP designation will place, both on me as an established homeowner and on the newly developed apartment complex abutting my property. Can you point to a resource so we may understand what's about to happen to us?
Staff Reply:
The hillside protection standards would place density and land disturbance limitations on new development located on properties within the HP overlay (properties with grades in excess of 15%). The greater the grade of the property, the greater the limitations on density and land disturbance. The hillside protection standards would not apply to existing single family homes and existing lots of record, so your home would be exempt. As a developed project, the apartment complex abutting your property would not be subject to any limitations either. If the apartment complex proposed expansion (new buildings), the hillside protection standards might limit density (# of dwelling units) and land disturbance.

Hillside Protection?

I own property on Sherrod Rd and it has the small green dots with Hillside and Ridge Protection.  What does that mean to the property owner?
Staff Reply:
The Hillside Overlay (HP) section of the code can be found on page 8-12 here.These regulations apply to all lots within the HP Overlay District with the exception of existing single-family homes (which yours appears to be) and existing lots of record for a single-family dwelling existing as of the effective date of this Code.If you have any further questions please let us know.

Auto Sales And Service Facility

I just built a auto sales and service facility on my property. The recode doesn’t appear to be for auto retail. Please review this and call me.
Staff Reply:
The designation proposed for your property on the draft map is IG (General Industrial). Given the use of your property, CH (Highway Commercial) would be a better designation. I will make this note on the draft map and the change will be made on the next draft map, which will be available in mid to late April.Thanks for contacting us regarding this.

C-g-2 Code / Multi-tenant Housing Numbers

I have a question regarding multi-tenant housing numbers. According to the code C-G-2, how many people can reside in an apartment of the same family-last name? If not the same family-last name?Thank you.
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your interest in the Knoxville zoning code update. In response to your comment:I have a question regarding multi-tenant housing numbers. According to the code C-G-2, how many people can reside in an apartment of the same family-last name? If not the same family-last name?Zoning ordinances can address the development density (number of dwelling units per acre, etc) but generally do not address the number of persons, related or unrelated, who can reside in a dwelling unit. The proposed update of the City of Knoxville zoning ordinance does not establish a density (number of dwelling units per acre) cap in the C-G-2 zone. Density in this proposed district would be addressed by building height, lot size, need for parking etc. The building code does establish standards for minimum square footage per occupant.

Please halt any zoning change to allow multi level structures in residential areas, like Clairborne st in Edgewood park neighborhood. The only way these structures can be built is to tear down some beautiful vintage houses along Claiborne tp make room for these structures and parking lots. This is a horrible idea to change the code to allow this. This code is very unfriendly to areas that are not designated historic zones. Those areas are protected from tiny lots & tiny buildings too. Isn't this discrimination to allow code changes like this in non historic zones? This density model needs to stay downtown where those who want density can live. Others like me prefer to have more green space from my neighbor.
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your interest in Recode. In response to your comment:Please halt any zoning change to allow multi level structures in residential areas, like Clairborne st in Edgewood park neighborhood. The only way these structures can be built is to tear down some beautiful vintage houses along Claiborne tp make room for these structures and parking lots. This is a horrible idea to change the code to allow this. This code is very unfriendly to areas that are not designated historic zones. Those areas are protected from tiny lots & tiny buildings too. Isn't this discrimination to allow code changes like this in non historic zones? This density model needs to stay downtown where those who want density can live. Others like me prefer to have more green space from my neighbor. The Claiborne Place neighborhood and most of the Edgewood Park neighborhood, with the exception of existing multi-family developments, are designated RN-2 (single family residential zone) on the 3rd draft of the proposed zoning map. One of your neighbors (sorry I cannot remember her name) attended some meetings and also emailed to make us aware of the desire for single-family designation for the neighborhood. Thanks for your concern for your neighborhood.


Will we be able to have our 16 foot camper parked in our driveway? Also, is the land in front of our house going to be developed, it's full of sink holes. One final question, is Rohar Road going to be extended, right now it's a dead end. We like the way our street is now. Thank you for reading my comments.
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your interest in Recode and for your questions. You will still be able to park your camper in your driveway but you may have to screen it with landscaping from the street. The development of the land in front of your house is dependent upon the desires of the property owner. If the owner did desire decide to pursue development of the property, all applicable standards would have to be met. The zoning ordinance does not dictate nor does it propose street extensions. The City Engineering Department may know if there are plans to extend the street.

Zoning For Equipment Rental Business

My properties 6721 & 6727 Campbell Lane located off of Callahan Drive are currently zoned RN-1 and planned A-1. I am planning on having an equipment rental/sales business on these properties. which zoning should i seek? the property already neighbors another commercial property. thank you!
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. You are correct that your property is currently zoned A-1 (Agriculture) and is proposed to be zoned RN-1 (Residential Neighborhood 1). Under the existing zoning ordinance, a C-4 zoning would likely permit the use you propose. Under the proposed zoning ordinance, A CH zoning would likely permit the use. More details regarding the use would help better define the zoning you would need. It appears that a one year plan amendment and a sector plan amendment also would be required. Such a change may be challenging.

Questions On Recode

Can you summarize the differences between the old code for R-1 and the new RN-2 in layman’s terms for me?  The same with C-G-1 vs. C3 ?I don’t understand some of the verbiage and how it may impact things if different.Also, am I reading correctly that in EN all new primary dwellings must have a 2nd floor ?  (4.4) and that parking is only allowed behind a house ? (4.4 b.1). Also,can you describe what a corner side yard is 11.3 - d.Have there been any public discussions about people’s RVs no longer on side of house etc. ?  And, I noticed a comment on use that Drive-thrus would be allowed on Cumberland - is that different than the new code adopted?  I thought there was effort to get rid of the curb cuts and drive thrus. ?
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. These documents summarize the difference between the existing zoning districts and the proposed districts: current EN standards include the provisions you noted and are being incorporated unchanged into the proposed updated code.Corner side yard is defined in Section 2.4.O.4.a.There has been discussion of the requirement for screening RV's with landscaping if parked where visible from the street at some of the public/community meetings.The Cumberland Avenue form code will be incorporated unchanged into the proposed updated code.

Property At 5300 Chapman Highway

This property has been in my family over 70 years. Since the property up to Stone Road on Chapman Highway is zoned commercially, is there a possibility that our property would ever be zoned commercially. I have viewed your proposed zoning and it looks like the zoning laws will stay the same (residential) Do I have this correct? Thank you .
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. The property at 5300 Chapman Highway is currently zoned R-1, is in the midst of a residentially zoned area, and is approximately 1,000 feet from the nearest commercially zoned property. You are correct that it will remain residentially zoned.

1511 Washington Pk Knox 37917

I need clarification please as to how Knoxville Recode will effect this property. This house was built in 1918 has been well cared for and was zoned commercial/resident long before I acquired it. It is not used as commercial property and has not been so in at least 50 years (if ever ?) Taxes are astronomical due to commercial zoning. I am an investor and it is my goal to make a positive impact in any community that I invest in. The struggle is real.
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. The property at 1511 Washington Pike is currently zoned R-1A, single-family residential, and the proposed zoning isRN-2, single-family residential. The proposed RN-2 zoning is equivalent to the current R-1A zoning, You may want to inquire with the tax office regarding the classification of your property as commercial for tax purposes.

Hillside Protection Overlay

Our home at 5112 Mountaincrest and our attached undevelped lot at 5113 Ridgemont have the HP designation in the December draft. It appears on Section 8.9 that both properties would be grandfathered except that both lots would be subject to the maximum land disturbance limitation.Questions - 1. Please confirm that both properties would be grandfathered per 8.9.2. What % grade is assigned to each property?3. What constitutes "land disturbance"? I would like to understand how the draft language will affect the future use of our property at 5113 Ridgemont - could a house be built? If not, the value of the property would be greatly reduced.Thank you
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. The Hillside Protection overlay would not apply to lots on which existing single family homes are located or to lots of record, so both your lots would be grandfathered. You could build a home on the vacant existing lot. Properties must have a minimum grade of 15% to be considered hillside.

Project Update

are you building apts. or projects over a couple of streets from us. if you are, this concerns me greatly. hope you answer soon please....
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. Neither Knoxville-Knox County Planning nor the City of Knoxville builds apartments. I did a quick check of recent development applications and could find none for an apartment development in your area. If you can provide a location for the development you are referring to, I may be able to provide additional information.

Rezone On Strawberry Planes Pike

How can I voice an opinion of this rezoning. This will really create driving issues ...... children on school buses. We have enough traffic in the area now!
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. I will pass your concerns on to the Planning Commission members.

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.

Sw Parking Lots In Recode

We have lost the requirement that surface lots in the SW must be in the rear.  This was missing in the July draft.  I commented about it and it was included in the October draft.  Now it's gone again - compare page 11-4 in the Oct. and Dec. drafts.

This, as you know, is a major deal.

Honestly, I wasn't reviewing the current draft to see if corrections made had been unmade.  However, it looks like that kind of review is necessary.

Staff Reply:
Thanks for catching this. I will forward to the consultants and make sure they correct it and do a thorough review of the entire SW code.Regards,Gerald

Omitted Rezoning

There is a five-foot buffer strip on the west side of Sherrod Road, south of Mimosa that was left in the R-2 zoning when the eastern portion of the Kerns property was rezoned in 1982. The current zoning map very clearly shows that the R-2 zoning extends to the west side of Sherrod Road. The recode map does not show this. This was done at City Council, July 6, 1982. This was done to prevent increased traffic on Sherrod should access to the Kerns property be allowed from Sherrod Road. Sherrod road is a narrow, winding road that cannot take anymore traffic than that of the residents.
Staff Reply:
Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I will pass this on to our GIS staff so that the map can be corrected. The change will be shown on the next draft of the proposed zoning map, which will be released in mid to late April.

Rezoning Preposal Of The Cottage Neighborhood On The Corner Of Sutherland Ave And Tobler And Flanked On The East And South Sides By The Third Creek Trail

I am very much opposed to the zoning of this neighborhood being reversed from R-1 to R-2. This neighborhood of cottages has been intact as single family dwellings since it was built in the 1940’s. The property was formerly a dairy, and the land was carefully planned to host family homes. The streets were laid out in curves to give an expanded view, the foundations and chimneys where built on site, the windows manufactured in Cookeville, and the rest of the construction was prefabbed up north and brought to the site and put in place.This little neighborhood has been intact as home to families since it was created. Several years ago, when I moved into 3935 Briargate Ave., I found out that the neighborhood was zoned R-2. With help and encouragement from the Historic Association and some members of city council and the Bearden Council, several of us in the neighborhood, formed a neighborhood association to promote unity in the neighborhood, clean up the neighborhood and set about seeing about changing the zoning from R-2 to R-1. After several months of creating interest and good will in the neighborhood and lots of very hard work, we presented our request to City Council and the MPC - the request was voted on twice by and passed unanimously. To go backwards would be detrimental to this historic neighborhood and would set it up to be in jeopardy and undercut the sincerity of purpose to keep it intact. The little neighborhood association that began as seven hopeful neighbors in an open carport on the corner of Tobler and Greenleaf has grown into a full fledged association that meets regularly at the little Baptist church a little ways up Sutherland and has just elected the next roster of officers. This is progress that supports the best of Knoxville, and it would be a mistake to this area and the unity of this neighborhood to reverse the zoning back to R-2.
Staff Reply:
Thank you for your email. The RN-2 designation proposed for your neighborhood is a single family zone which restricts permitted uses to single family dwellings, with duplexes permitted upon approval by the Planning Commission provided certain standards are met. The proposed RN-2 zone is very similar to the existing R-1 zone.

Cross-references And Old Zone Rp-1

To Whom It May Concern:My address is going from RP-1 to RN-1.I don’t see any references to RP-1 in your cross-references.  Can someone elaborate?  So, there is not an Planned Residential any longer?  Or the commercial areas will have their own zone now?  So, there will not be any new commercial development on our RN-1 zoning?  (we hope).
Staff Reply:
Thank you for your email. The Planned Residential (RP) and Planned Commercial (PC) zones in the current zoning ordinance will be replaced by a Planned Development approval process in the proposed zoning ordinance. This approval process is found in section 16.7 of the current draft of the proposed updated zoning ordinance. All permissions, conditions, restrictions, etc approved as part of an existing Planned Residential or Planned Commercial development will still apply to those developments. The development of commercial uses in your RN-1 zoning is unlikely.

3033 Fountain Park Blvd

I am reviewing the proposed zoning of my neighborhood (North Hills) and it looks as though a majority is proposed RN2 and the remainder is RN1. I am trying to understand the difference between the two and also understand why a small portion of North Hills is proposed to be zoned differently as RN1? Why is the whole neighborhood not treated the same? I own several homes in the neighborhood and 2 would be in the proposed RN1 and the other in RN2- right across the street. Looks as though the RN1 will be more restrictive with low density and RN2 will be low to medium. I have a garage at my home. If i decided to add an apt to the current structure would i be able to do that in RN1? Seems I would in RN2? I also have and extra lot next to one of the homes i own in proposed RN1. Would it be able to be developed in either zone? Seems setbacks would be similar. Im not looking at developing the lot but trying to understand the differences.
Staff Reply:
Thank you for your email regarding the update of the City of Knoxville's zoning ordinance. The RN-1 and RN-2 districts are very similar, with both being single family residential districts. The most significant difference in the two districts are the dimensional standards, with the RN-1 district having a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet and the RN-2 district having a minimum lot size of 5,000 square feet. Looking quickly at the proposed zoning map, it appears the RN-2 mapping is in an area of North Hills where the size of some lots is less than 10,0000 square feet. Garage apartments (accessory dwelling units) are permitted n both the RN-1 and RN-2 districts provided the standards for the accessory dwellings are met. Lots can be developed with a permitted use (dwelling, etc) provided the lot size and setback standards are met.

Article 4.1 Purpose Statements

At the end of every Residential Neighborhood Purpose Statement is the sentence: Limited nonresidential uses that are compatible with the character of the district may also be permitted. I can not find anywhere in this draft where the elements that make up the "character" of the district are defined nor the weight that would be applied to each of those elements when/if a permit for a nonresidential use is applied for. Such a broad statement with no definition is exactly what citizens fear and have been accustomed to as uses that do not appear to be compatible encroach into residential and non-residential zoning districts alike. Character, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. If you are unable to define it, you are not afforded the luxury of making up the rules as you go along!
Staff Reply:
Thank you for taking the time to review the draft ordinance! The character of each district is defined in multiple ways within the ordinance:
  • The purpose statement for each district, which identifies the intent of the regulations, and outlines a general character for each of the districts through descriptive language like “exhibiting a predominantdevelopment pattern of single-family homes on relatively large lots and with generous setbacks,”(RN-1) or “comprising a heterogeneous mix of single-family, two-family, townhouse, and multi-family dwellings.” (RN-5)
  • The dimensional standards for each district, which establish the physical parameters for development in the districts, and as such are probably the most explicit means of defining the character of each district.
  • Design standards (where applicable), for the EN district, or for pocket neighborhoods in the RN-4 add further detail to the character of those districts.
  • Site Development Standards, Use Standards, Landscape, etc. All work together to further define character â€" through lighting standards that vary based on location and district, to accessory structure regulations that acknowledge the physical size of lots, use standards with varying applicability by district and lot size, etc.
Finally, when we’re talking about nonresidential uses that are compatible with the character of these districts, the things permitted as compatible are uses like parks, community centers, daycare homes, etc. If there’s anything that potentially has greater impacts, they have been made special uses, which would necessitate review to ensure that they meet the approval standards for a special use. The allowable uses for each district can be found in this section. If you have any further questions or comments please let us know.

Recoding Questions

My wife and I have been on a scavenger hunt for information for the last year since relocating to Knoxville from Boston, hoping to bring our brand to join the thriving art community in The Old City. Today we finally gained clarity on how our business would fit into the current zones of the City of Knoxville. We hope to support local artists through consistent art shows and artist retail branding as well as volunteer for events and give back to the flourishing artisan community through outlets such as fund raising and scholarships. Unfortunately, the most profitable source of income through our business model is high quality tattooing and tattoo studio management, mainly from the high income/low overhead cash flow associated with our proven model. We learned to our surprise today that tattooing (C3) is scarcely mapped in the Downtown/Old City, which we found unusual in comparison to the locations of our other tattoo studios as well as inconsistent with the development of other US cities we have worked and networked in. We are reaching out to multiple organizations and connections such as realty groups and local businesses in search of our next step in growing and giving to our community. Can you offer us any advice or contacts that could lead to information that would assist us in changing the current ordinance of the Central Business District to include Art Galleries that offer tattooing? We look forward to planting our roots in Downtown Knoxville where we plan to stay and raise our son and give back to our community.
Staff Reply:
Tattoo studios are included in the Body Modification Establishment use (See Article 4, Section 2.3 Definitions). The Use Matrix (See Chapter 9 of the draft ordinance) outlines in which districts the that use is permitted by right or by special use.

Rezoning Areas

what areas are being rezoned
Staff Reply:
Pelase check this website to identify the current zoning of property and the proposed designation. Please note that all zoning district designations will change but the development standards may have minimal changes.

Medical Dental Office

Why did medical/dental office get changed from P to S in C-N?
Staff Reply:
P is for "Permitted use" and S is for "Special use", which is essentially equivalent to the current use on review process. Medical office was changed from permitted to special use in neighborhood commercial because it is currently not allowed at all in the C-1 zone. Some medical offices can be big operations that may not be appropriate for all neighborhood oriented locations.

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.

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