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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Re: Recode Knoxville Updates

Don't we have a choice? Why Recode, Knoxville never did enforce the codes.

Staff Reply:

R1 To Rn-1

My property is proposed to move from R1 to RN-1. There are 2 dwellings on my property. Will the second dwelling be grandfathered into the RN-1? Is there anything I need to do to make sure it is grandfathered in? Thanks.
Staff Reply:


When is the next meeting?
Staff Reply:

April 4th Work Session

Attached is a compilation of comments regarding administration and process of the Zoning Code which had been submitted in response to previous drafts. 

Thank you reading this and addressing it during the upcoming work session.

As you may know, I have had a 37-year career as a City Planner and currently live in East Knoxville.

I have participated in the rewriting of two zoning codes and am familiar with policy as well as development review and code enforcement.

Thank you for your time on this matter.

Very best

Sandra Korbelik, AICP

Staff Reply:

Recode Workshop, Regarding Multi-family Zoning & Kta/kat

In preparation for the ReCode workshop this evening, please see the attached PDF signed letter

Staff Reply:

Climate Refugees

You mentioned that rezoning Knoxville is being done with climate refugees in mind. Please explain this statement.
Staff Reply:

Meaning Of Zoning Codes.

The zoning change for my address goes from R-1 to RN-1. I know that R-1 means single family dwelling. What does adding the N do to that meaning? Also, if I wanted to subdivide my .97 acres and put a second dwelling on it, does or will my zoning permit that? I look forward to your response. Have a great weekend.
Staff Reply:

No House #

If there is no house # on lot, what does that mean?

Staff Reply:

I am not sure I understand your question. Do you mean there is no number on the lot as shown on the Recode proposed zoning map?

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.

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.

Recode Knoxville

Please! Vote this current Recode proposal DOWN, NO, REJECT!! Thanks
Staff Reply:

My Neighborhood

I received a letter about this, but the instructions to check resining for a specific address do not work. There is no "map feedback" link that I see. I want to know what changes are proposed around me. It would be nice if your instructions matched the choices on the web page or were clearer if I'm missing something. This is what makes people hate government.

Staff Reply:

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.

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.

Duplex Lot Size

Please increase the lot size for duplexes to above 7500 sf. Most of our neighborhoods in the inner city have lot sizes of 50'x150. A duplex is too much building for that lot size and would decrease the chances of existing dwellings to convert to single family housing.
Staff Reply:

Landscaping Standards

ENHANCED LANDSCAPING STANDARDS - Recode KnoxvilleMany great cities have landscaping standards that are much stricter than the ones proposed in Recode. We know from their experiences that these standards are not overly onerous either to carry out or to enforce. Knoxville can and should do this, too. There are numerous environmental, economic, aesthetic, health and quality of life benefits to enhanced landscaping. Recent flooding due to heavy rains is a reminder of the importance of preserving green space to absorb rainfall and stormwater runoff. This will become even more critical as the city increases development to accommodate a growing population. We believe the following standards should be included in the new ordinance. They would apply only to new development. None would apply to single family residential development.Interior Landscaping of New Parking LotsThe current parking ordinance allows for reduced or no perimeter or interior landscaping for lots smaller than 20,000 sf. All new 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.Landscape Bond:In order to ensure correct installation and maintenance of landscaping, a two-step Landscape Bond should be required. Other cities successfully employ this process.1. Performance Bond: This allows developers six months after issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy to install landscaping to offset the disadvantage of completing projects in late spring or summer months to maximize reasonable growth conditions.2. Maintenance Bond: This would be applicable during the two-year period following the project's completion and would include a reasonable time period for proper landscape care to assure healthy plant material. The Maintenance Bond is released after two years, contingent on satisfactory inspection by a qualified professional familiar with the design intent. Without a maintenance bond a lot of landscaping will not be adequately cared for and will die. Two years of proper care will greatly increase the survival of installed landscaping.Since the city operates on a complaint driven system and is chronically short staffed when it comes to enforcement, we don't have a lot of confidence that it will be successful at requiring developers to replace landscaping that has died. It also places an unfair burden on citizens who would be responsible for tracking and reporting landscaping that needs to be replaced. In our experience, this often requires multiple follow-up phone calls and emails by the citizen.Tree Mitigation BankRecode should include some form of mitigation for the destruction of trees by developers, or when it's not possible to fulfill the required landscape standards. The ordinance could specify that for each tree over a particular diameter that's destroyed or not planted as required, a value of the destroyed or unplanted trees would be established and the developer would pay the equivalent value into a mitigation fund. The city would use the funds for tree planting or landscaping projects on public property elsewhere. Kasey Krouse, Urban Forester, has agreed to administer a Tree Bank for the city. A tree bank will level the playing field so all developers are responsible for similar landscaping costs.Prepared by:Scenic KnoxvilleTrees KnoxvilleThe City of Knoxville Tree BoardThe Knoxville Chapter of the American Society of Landscape ArchitectsSierra Club, Harvey Broome GroupAlso endorsed by:Town Hall EastForest Heights Neighborhood AssociationCommunity ForumThe Bearden Village CouncilThe Riverside 1 CondosHistoric Fourth and Gill Neighborhood OrganizationKingston Pike Sequoyah Hills Neighborhood AssociationBenefits of TreesTrees beautify our public spacesTrees increase property valuesTrees increase walkability by providing shadeTrees cool the ambient temperature up to 10? FTrees reduce air conditioning costsTrees promote ground absorption of rainfall and reduce stormwater runoffTrees reduce air pollution by absorbing pollutant gasesTrees block unsightly views and muffle noiseTrees encourage pride of placeTrees increase business revenue because shoppers stay longer in attractive and inviting commercial spacesBeauty is Good for People and Business
Staff Reply:

Design Standards For Single Family

Recode Single Family Design StandardsScenic KnoxvilleEarlier drafts of Recode included minimal design standards for single family homes. We would like to see them included back into the Code. Similar standards are very common in the zoning codes of other cities. They encourage thoughtful planning, preserve community character, ensure that homes are compatible with the surrounding neighborhood, and they preserve, protect and enhance the city's historical, architectural and aesthetic resources. Design standards are what make people proud to call their house a home, and we believe everyone is entitled to feel this way, no matter what neighborhood they live in or whether they're a renter or owner.1. We would like to see the review and approval of all design standards specified in Recode come under the purview of Knoxville-Knox County Planning (formerly MPC) staff rather than Plans Review and Inspection. As professional planners we believe they're in the best position to carry this out.2. We would like to see the following standards included in the code.Single Family Dwellings1. On lots less than one acre in lot area, a dwelling must have a primary entrance from a façade facing the street. The front entry must be a dominant feature on the front elevation of a home and an integral part of the structure, using features such as porches, raised steps and stoops, and/or roof overhangs. 2. Windows, entrances, porches, or other architectural features are required on all street-facing facades to avoid the appearance of blank walls. 3. A 30% minimum transparency requirement applies to all street-facing façades and is calculated on the basis of the entire area of the façade.4. Front-loaded attached garages are limited to 60% of the width of the front building line or 24 feet, whichever is greater. Garage width is measured as the width of a garage door; in the case of garages designed with multiple garage doors, the distance is measured between the edge of the outmost doors.5. Front-loaded attached garages must be set back a minimum of five feet from the front building façade line. This façade building line does not include architectural features, such as bay windows or porches.
Staff Reply:

Landscape, Lighting And Design Standards, Hillside

Hello -Just wanted to say that I support Scenic Knoxville's sensible suggestions for changes and improvements with regard to new commercial landscape standards, lighting standards, and design standards for single family homes. None of these standards are very onerous, and would make significant improvements over time. Also, I would like to see the Hillside and Ridgetop standards remain in commercial and residential zones.Thank you for your consideration and your time, energy and efforts to improve Knoxville!
Staff Reply:


I do NOT want my neighborhood rezoned. I do not want you to tell me that I cant hire anyone in my homebased business. I do not want you to pack as many people as you can into one spot. I do not want you to make all roads like Cumberland - that I avoid like the plague now. Just stop already.
Staff Reply:

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.

Lighting Performance Standards

On behalf of Scenic Knoxville, I am submitting the following feedback about Lighting Standards for Exterior Lighting:Lighting standards discourage excessive lighting, minimize glare and light trespass, protect neighbors from the adverse impacts of stray light, create a safe environment in the hours of darkness, and contribute to ensuring dark skies where people can enjoy the beauty of the observing the stars and planets.The proposed Lighting Standards for Exterior Lighting (section 10.2) needs performance standards to address issues of light trespass onto neighboring properties. In particular, there needs to be a measurable standard for the footcandles allowed across an adjacent residential district property line.As written, the current section 10.2 only provides performance standards that:A. Require cut-off luminaire with a cut-off angle of 75 degrees or less that shields the light from an observer 3.5 feet above the ground at an abutting lot line, andB. Freestanding luminaires (i.e. a light pole fixture) are 15 feet away from residential lot lines, max height of 20 feet in non-residential, and 15 feet in residential districts.The issue is that there's nothing about the intensity - the brightness - of the light fixture and how much light is permitted to cross the property line (trespass!) onto a neighboring property. An example: under the current regulation, a very bright light pole could be installed in a parking lot for a commercial business that is adjacent to a single family residential property. The exterior lighting would be fully compliant if it was 75 degree cut-off, 20 feet in height, and 15 feet from the property line. However, an extremely bright light (say 10,000 lumen fixture) would still shine directly onto the ground 13.6 feet onto the residential property due to the 75 degree cut-off angle. That bright light would reflect off the ground (especially if it's a lightly-colored surface such as a concrete driveway) and onto the adjacent house.We would like to see the following outdoor lighting standards included in the code.Light Trespass. All outdoor luminaires shall be located, adequately shielded, and directed such that no direct light falls outside the parcel of origin or onto the public right-of-way. The total lighting on a property must not trespass (exceed) 0.5 footcandles measured at the property line.Implementation notes: This is the performance standard applied to the lighting plans submitted under 10.2.A.1, which requires lighting plans for all non-residential uses, multi-family, and townhouse developments. It is also the measurable performance standard that a property would be held to if a complaint is filed. No expectation is made that this is verified at night as part of the permit / inspection process.House Side Shields. Outdoor lighting fixtures closer to the lot line than the mounting height of the fixture, measured perpendicular to the lot line, adjacent to residential areas, shall have internal house-side shields. Implementation notes: House side shields are available for many fixtures. This is a requirements-input standard that the lighting design, required as part of 10.2.A.1, would include. It could be verified during inspection, and would be enforceable if a complaint is filed.Flood and Spot Lamps. Flood or spot lamps shall be aimed down no higher than 45 degrees to the horizontal (halfway between straight down and straight to the side) when the source is visible from any adjacent residential property.Implementation notes: Primarily a standard that can be enforced in the event that a dispute occurs with a neighboring resident regarding bright lights.Color Temperature: Cooler outdoor light sources (greater than 4,000 Kelvin) will be prohibited and warmer light sources (e.g.2,000 - 4,000 Kelvin) shall be utilized.Implementation notes: This is a requirements - input standard for the lighting design, and could be enforced if a complaint is filed.Additionally, the exception to the Outdoor Recreational Facilities (section 10.2 C. 3.) should have a performance requirement on how long the lighting can remain on after the event. An improvement would be to add text such as "The main lighting shall not remain longer than fifteen (15) minutes following the end of the event. A low-level lighting system shall be used to facilitate patrons leaving the facility, cleanup, nighttime maintenance, and other closing activities. The low-level lighting system shall not exceed three (3) foot-candles at the property line."Implementation notes: Probably complaint-driven, but gives guidelines for operations and for design of new facilities.
Staff Reply:

Recode Knoxville December 2018 Copy (mistakes?)

In reviewing the December 2018 draft of the Recode Knoxville ordinances, I noticed the following:On Page 9-10, it refers to Nonconforming Manufactured homes being found in Article 16. It appears to be in Article 17....not 16. Correction needed?"... 3. Nonconforming Manufactured Homes See Article 16 for regulations regarding nonconforming manufactured homes, including single-wide manufactured homes. ..." Also on Page 17-2, what does that last sentence in the below paragraph even mean? "...If a single-wide manufactured home is replaced with a multi-sectional manufactured home, it cannot be replaced with a single-wide manufactured home...""...E. Nonconforming Single-Wide Manufactured Homes Existing nonconforming single-wide manufactured homes in any district may be replaced with a new single-wide manufactured home. The replacement single-wide manufactured home may be a larger square footage so long as the manufactured home meets required setbacks. In a manufactured home park, the can maintainsfollowing the setbacks are required: a setback of ten feet from all streets and/or access roads, there is a minimum 20 foot clearance between homes or for homes parked end-to-end, the end-to-end clearance is a minimum of ten feet, and there is a minimum of 20 feet from any permanent structure. When located on a single lot within a district, it must meet all the setback requirements of the district. If a single-wide manufactured home is replaced with a multi-sectional manufactured home, it cannot be replaced with a single-wide manufactured home...."Also, manufactured home in a park (here in Knoxville, anyway) is enclosed on the bottom by SKIRTING, not those permanent cement type enclosures that you have listed. Addition or clarification needed? Or are you changing that? It might be cumbersome on mobile home park owners to get PERMISSION each time they install a new home here. Thank you.
Staff Reply:

Will Taxes Go Up?

We are at 8701 Unicorn Dr. Right now we are zoned commercial. The current proposal has us going to mixed use. Will that make the taxes for this property go up?
Staff Reply:

Hillside Ridgetop Protection Zone

I see from the map that my property and that of my two neighbors is almost entirely covered with the Hillside Ridgetop Protection Zone. What does that mean for us? Can we still cut and plant new trees? The property of one of my neighbors is entirely level. Why would it be included in the HP zone?
Staff Reply:
The proposed Hillside Protection standards would limit the density (# of dwelling units) and the land disturbance permitted in new developments. The limitation would be on new developments on property with a slope of more than 15%. The limitations would not apply to existing single family homes and existing lots of record, nor would they restrict the cutting or planting of trees. The notation of HP on the zoning map is an indication that the property appears to be in the hillside area and that review of the property's slope is warranted.

Sw4 Zoning

As a new condo unit owner in the Southside Waterfront Neighborhood, I would like to express my interest in the Recode Knox project.  Gerald was a speaker today at the TNSA Development Symposium conference.  Very interesting.   With regards to the form-based codes I offer the following basic concerns from an owner's perspective and fellow planner:

  • 1. Form Based Codes - are they clear and predictable for the developer and landowner to understand what is and is not permitted?  Are they easy and flexible to developer while still maintaining basic zoning principles?
  • 2. How will the SW4 zoning district change or will it remain the same?
  • 3. How is homeowner/unit owner parking determined, guest parking, overflow parking on site and on street determined?  I ask because CityView has a parking problem.  The side streets are technically owned by the city and thus not our designated overflow parking areas controlled by HOA.  West Blount Avenue is also crowded.  If the undeveloped parcels on either side are developed then we will really have an issue, especially during football season.  Again, there is no guest parking on site.  When the riverwalk is completed and more used by the public, will there be a parking area or trailhead with parking for the public or will they also use the side streets currently used by CityView?  
  • 4. Sidewalks are fantastic, and we thank you.  However, still a need for at least 2 on site spaces per unit plus guest parking.  
  • Thank you for all that the city is doing to reinvest in South Knox and riverfront areas.  It is becoming more walkable, connected, safer and revitalized - one project at a time.
Staff Reply:
  1. 1. These are good questions and ones we need to evaluate - see below!
  2. 2. Neither of the City's form codes are being changed as part of the Recode effort. They will be incorporated as is. There has been discussion within the community and the City about opening up the SW code to reevaluate it's effectiveness in meeting the community's goals once the City's new zoning ordinance has been adopted. This would require significant public input.
  3. 3. There is public parking at Suttree Landing Park. I am not sure if the parking garage across from the apartments across Henley from you will be available for public parking. I can look into the City's plans for additional parking.
  4. 4. I am sure the issue of parking and the need for more of it in this district will be part of the reevaluation of the SW form code I mentioned.

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