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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Recode Support

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

Comments - Draft Zoning Code

I am a commercial / industrial real estate broker. Below are my comments on the DRAFT Code.PAGE 1-3Pending ApplicationCan you remove the words "was deemed complete by the City". There is a significant investment of time and due diligence made on a property before an application.Page 5-4; Table 5-2Commercial Site Design requires all surface parking to be on side or rear unless in CH2 or CR2. Front door parking is a highly desirable feature for most commercial properties. Front door parking should be allowed in C G.Table 9-1 Use MatrixFor the sake of completeness please add . . .-Add "Heavy Retail, Rental, and Service"-Add "Concrete Batch Plant"-Add "Cement Plant" which is quite different from the Concrete Batch Plant above-Add "Call Center"-Add "Truck Stop and Refueling Facility"-Add "Truck Terminal"-Add "Construction Office with Outside Storage"-Add "Landscaper and Lawn Mowing Office with outside Storage"Page 10-1Please add to Site Development Standards requirements for eighteen wheel vehicles and semi trucks in regards to building access and turnarounds.Please add requirements for loading docksPlease add requirements for drive in doors
Staff Reply:

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.

Recode 1st Draft Comments From Kaar Focus Group

Here's what I have:1. Most of the feedback that I'm getting from folks is that there's a disconnect between codes and the fire marshal (which isn't really cogent to this conversation). The general theme as that we need to make things as clear as possible and that the administrative folks all need to be on the same page.2. Overall, I am very optimistic that these changes will improve our city, so thanks for your work on contribution. Here is my feedback from reviewing the first Draft of ReCode:Overall, I am in favor of increasing higher-density options in RN-1,2, & 3 neighborhoods - with special use, if developed and designed properly. Over the long-term, I am concerned that a limited housing supply will drive up housing prices and decrease affordable/moderate-income living options, especially in neighborhoods closer to downtown. By including options for 3F and 4F-dwellings, higher density can be achieved gradually, without compromising the overall character of the neighborhoods. Specifically, 3 & 4-family dwellings should be grouped separate from other higher-density Multi-family units, and 3&4-family dwellings should be granted greater permissions in RN-1,2, and 3 Neighborhoods, but with some restrictions on design and location. This could be achieved by grouping 2,3,4-family dwellings together. Similar to the restrictions in 4.3 Dimensional Standards, C, about multi-family dwellings in the RN-4 District, 3 and 4-family dwellings should be granted similar permissions in RN-1,2,3 if they are on corner lots, adjacent to higher-density uses, with height and parking restrictions.3. PAGE 1-3, Pending ApplicationCan you remove the words "was deemed complete by the City". There is a significant investment of time and due diligence made on a property before an application.Page 5-4, Table 5-2Commercial Site Design requires all surface parking to be on side or rear unless in CH2 or CR2. Front door parking is a highly desirable feature for most commercial properties. Front door parking should be allowed in C G.Table 9-1 Use MatrixFor the sake of completeness please add . . .Add "Heavy Retail, Rental, and Service"Add "Concrete Batch Plant"Add "Cement Plant" which is quite different from the Concrete Batch Plant aboveAdd "Call Center"Add "Truck Stop and Refueling Facility"Add "Truck Terminal"Add "Construction Office with Outside Storage"Add "Landscaper and Lawn Mowing Office with outside Storage"Page 10-1: Please add to Site Development Standards requirements for eighteen wheel vehicles and semi trucks in regards to building access and turnarounds.Please add requirements for loading docks and drive in doors.
Staff Reply:

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
Staff Reply:

New Knoxville Zoning

Has there been any dialogue with Knox County officials about adopting a unified zoning ordinance? This would greatly simplify development document preparation within both Knoxville and Knox County and could still be administered separately as they are now. Also, has there been any talk of expanding the MPC to be a one-stop-shop for development submittals, with the particulars still farmed out to their respective county or city authorities? One of the things we have noticed as design professionals is that the Knox County ordinance generally does not 1) have enough districts, 2) is still written assuming a mostly rural county and 3) is just enough different from the city to be confusing. We have noticed that the City's ordinance 1) seems to assume 1950s and 1960s approaches to development in terms of parking, 2) has too many districts, 3) is not applied uniformly and 4) is not flexible enough to encourage the kind of mixed use and higher density development which would be more environmentally sustainable. Thanks!
Staff Reply:

First Draft Of Zoning Code

Dear City Council members:On behalf of the League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County (LWVKKC), we are writing regarding the first draft of Knoxville's new zoning code. We applaud its bold vision: The new code will enable more density, more diverse and affordable housing, and more alternatives to car-based living.That said, we are concerned that the draft zoning code curbs opportunities for people to have input on land use decisions that affect them. Four key examples follow, with suggestions for a more inclusive, consultative approach.Permitted modifications. In Article 10.3 of the draft code, a number of uses and structures additional to the principal structure are described - notably, accessory structures, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and detached garages. For these additional structures, only building permits and other customary permits would be needed if the requirements in the draft code were met. Unfortunately, those requirements do little to protect abutting property owners.Per the draft code, ADUs and other accessory structures could be up to 18 feet tall and would require setbacks of only 5 feet from the side and rear lot lines (or no setbacks, in the case of detached garages). In the draft code, no notice to the abutting property owner is required.An abutting property owner should have prior notice and opportunity to appeal if an accessory structure, ADU, or detached garage is to be located partly within the otherwise-required setback specified in Article 4.3.Permitted encroachments. Article 10.4 lists several types of permissible encroachments into otherwise-required setbacks: for example, balconies, decks, bay windows, stoops, and unenclosed porches. The maximum encroachment is specified for each type.It appears that a permitted encroachment may enable other additions along the same side. A stoop, for example, could become the basis for enlarging that whole side of the structure into the setback. (See diagram accompanying Article 16.4; see also pp. 51-52 of https://recodeknoxville.com/documents/meetings/20180322_comm_meeting/presentation.pdf).If a permitted encroachment can enable additional encroachment, it renders meaningless the term 'required setback,' and it violates the justifiable expectations of the abutting property owner. At a minimum, that property owner should have prior notice and an opportunity to appeal if additional encroachment is proposed.Administrative modifications. According to Article 15.4, the Zoning Administrator could, upon a property owner's request, unilaterally approve 'a 10% or less modification to any zoning district dimensional standard in this Code' (p. 15-7). The approval standards listed in the draft code mainly concern the property's characteristics and its owner's needs but also refer to the public health, safety, and welfare (p. 15-8).Members of the public would have no notice of the requested administrative modification and no opportunity for input prior to the Zoning Administrator's decision. Property owners directly affected by the decision could appeal it, but they would have to file for an appeal within 30 days of the decision. How would they learn about the decision in time to file? That is not clear in the draft code.The Zoning Administrator should send notice of a request for an administrative modification to abutting and adjacent property owners, allowing them 10 business days to comment before the decision is made. They also should be advised of the decision and their right to appeal, subject to a 30-day deadline.Planned developments. Section 6 of Article 15 introduces a concept relatively new to Knoxville. As described in the draft code, a planned development (PD) is meant to encourage flexibility and creativity in land development and new structures. PDs would have a special approval process that might exempt them from some regulations while establishing other requirements. Per Article 15.6, PDs would be possible in all zoning districts.The PD process has three major steps: a concept plan followed by a preliminary plan and then a final plan. The preliminary plan is the crux of the process. The preliminary plan is reviewed by MPC, which sends it with their recommendation to City Council for their approval or denial. If the final plan is in 'substantial compliance' with the approved preliminary plan, MPC staff will recommend approval to MPC, which will then review the plan and approve or deny it.The same process would be used regardless of the type of zoning district. The sole specified opportunity for public input on a PD is at the preliminary plan stage.Presumably, planned developments are big deals with good or bad ripple effects. As such, neighborhood associations, business associations, potentially affected property owners, and other members of the public should get notice of the proposed project early in the process, as soon as a concept plan has been developed. Their opportunity for comment should not be limited to the preliminary plan stage. They also should get notice of the staff review for 'substantial compliance' prior to MPC's review and approval of the final plan.The League of Women Voters has a long tradition of advocating for two twin pillars of democracy: a citizen's right (a) to know, and (b) to participate in government decision-making. As you consider the draft code, please keep in mind the need for adequate public information and consultation on land use decisions, as well as the right to appeal when governmental decisions directly affect a property owner.Thank you for your service to Knoxville.Mary EnglishLand Use and Environment Chair, LWVKKCLinda MaccabePresident, LWVKKC
Staff Reply:

Drive-through Facility

Consider allowing Drive-Through Facilities in C-N as a Permitted (P) or at least Special (S) use. Given that restaurants, financial institutions, and personal service establishments (I'm thinking of dry cleaners) are allowed in C-N there will certainly be instances when a drive through could make sense.
Staff Reply:

Sw-1

Concern is that SW-1 is not listed under the general list of residential. SW-1 is residential (low density). Should It fall under or with the EN, RN, list?
Staff Reply:

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.Sincerely,Larry Silverstein, Secretary-TreasurerCommunity Forum
Staff Reply:

Community Forum - Response To Recode Knoxville, Draft 1, 5-10-18

Community Forum is an organization with representatives from many City of Knoxville and Knox County neighborhoods. We frequently advocate on issues that affect the character and integrity of neighborhoods. Attached is Community Forum's initial Response to the first draft of Recode Knoxville. (View Draft 1 Response) The Response includes material on thirteen topics, including a Supplemental Topic on Manufactured Homes which appears at the end of the Response. Also included is a separate list of all of our Issues Presented for the thirteen topics we are addressing in this Response. (View issues list) Many of the issues identified impact the City's low density neighborhoods. We anticipate submitting additional comments as we continue our review of this draft, and additional Recode drafts, and as we review the comments of others. We wish to make clear that we support the Recode Knoxville project. Our objective is to work with others to improve the proposed ordinance. We would be happy to discuss the issues presented in this Response at any time and to respond to any questions you might have about our Response.
Staff Reply:

Naacp Recode Knoxville Comments

Attached please find comments from the Knoxville Chapter of NAACP on the 1st draft of Recode. Amy Brooks informed us that we could submit our comments by the end of this week for consideration before the 2nd draft. If you have trouble opening the attachment, please let me know. Thank you so much for your consideration. Sincerely,LaKenya MiddlebrookNAACP, Knoxville BranchHousing Committee
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