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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Multi-family Housing Increase Please

Please increase opportunities to allow multi-family housing to be developed in Knoxville.
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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?
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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!
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Recode Suggestions

I looked over the draft, and have the following suggestions:1. Define “Blank Wall” There are several great buildings with blank walls, that have designed texture and material patterns, etc., but no windows.2. Define if an alley or highway (i.e. other than roadway) is a ROW. This has to do with the portion of the code that indicates if a façade is visible from a ROW, then ……3. Define how far such a ROW view would be. Example, if I can view a building from a higher grade 5 blocks away, while I am in an alley, then is that “visible from ROW”?4. In DK-H district, set a minimum first floor to second floor dimension. Traditional buildings ranged in 18’ to 20’ +/-5. If a building is on a sloped street, then does the ground level regulations apply to the entire area of the sloped street, or only the very bottom portion of it?I will review in more detail in the next few days and will share anything else that I can think of.
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Landscaping Of Parking Lots

The benefits of trees and landscaping are well known. A few of these assets include beautification of public spaces, reduced stormwater runoff, reduction of air pollution, and.cooler ambient temperatures and shade - both of which enhance walkability, 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.
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Landscaping Requirements

Parking lots 5,000 s/f and above should have perimeter landscaping requirements and lots 10,000 - 20,000 should also have interior landscaping requirements.
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Noise Light Pollution

I understood this update was to correct the vague codes including noise and light pollution. Light and noise are both measurable today and many cities have standards based on zoning. The new codes has exempted streetlights and sports fields which is moving in the wrongs direction. Streetlights are for lighting the streets, not bedrooms or inside restaurants. New cutoff lighting is being used by many new developments, but their effects are ruined by streetlights and now sports fields.
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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.
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Sidewalks - School Zones

Thank you for allowing us to actively participate in offering comments and feedback. I live in Fountain City. We are .50 miles from Fountain City Elementary and Gresham Middle School on Grove Drive, which means that we are in what is called "parent responsiblity zone". Our daughter would like very much to walk to school, however the sidewalks stop less than halfway to our home from the schools. The road is narrow with a ditches and many use it as a cutthrough from Rifle Range to Broadway. People drive fast through the stretch were we live and it is dangerous to walk. We walk as a family and it is not a comfortable walk until we get to a sidewalk. There are children living in Grove Park Subdivision who would benefit from a sidewalk as well. Please consider ensuring there are sidewalks within the parent responsibility zones throughout the city. This would be a blessing for those of us who have students as well as the general community who enjoy walking without fear of launching into a ditch to avoid the oncoming traffic.
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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
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Concern Over Impact To Residential Housing Values...

I live in Sequoyah Hills. There are currently large commercial developments occurring on the north side of Kingston Pike, which I'm fine with. I think they are doing a good job of providing more affordable housing in the area and creating attractive (physically and financially) symbiotic venues for commercial activity. However, there are rumors of a land grab in the works for the south side of Kingston Pike, west of the intersection with Noelton Dr. If these residential areas are zoned for commercial or multi-family housing, I fear (with good reason) the housing values of all the homes in Sequoyah Hills will take a large hit (10% - 30% based on some bank of the envelope calculations). I would strongly oppose any Knoxville politician/administrator that would approve these areas for anything other than single family dwellings.
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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.
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