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 - Food Truck Parks

We recently had a chance to review the second draft of the ordinance, specifically the portion regulating "Food Truck Parks" - Article 9.3 (L). As written, there are several provisions in direct conflict with our existing operations and the new requirements are considerably different from MPC's previous draft of an ordinance for a "Mobile Food Unit Park", which guided the development and approval of our project last year.We are concerned not only for our existing business, but also the ability for future "non-conforming" businesses to have a path to compliance. We have attended several of the public meetings about ReCode, so we're up to speed on the process.
Staff Reply:

Please Give More Time...

My concern is that there are still many city residents that are just not aware of Recode and how it will impact them when the changes are finally made. I respectfully ask that instead of trying to push it thru in December, that City Council make the wrap up date sometime in March or April of 2019. That gives City residents more time to get involved and give input. I also ask that the Infill Design Guidelines be kept to help preserve the character of our fragile older neighborhoods.
Staff Reply:

Recode

I do not understand the need for some of these drastic changes and especially the need to push it though at full speed. I fear many do not yet know about it or do not understand it. I have lived in Sequoyah Hills for 50 years and am a longtime active member of the Kingston Pike Sequoyah Hills Association. Over the years we have fought off many threats to the neighborhood at great expense of time and money. These new codes will be very destructive to R1 neighborhoods. I can't believe anyone thinks it would be good to be like Green Hills in Nashville with tear downs rampant and new little subdivisions on every lot. The traffic there is unbearable. Knoxville is very affordable comparatively and we are surrounded by counties with low populations. Is this all about money?? My husband and I fully support the letter sent to you from KPSHA. Specifically,I don't support ADUs and especially if the principal residence is not owner occupied and no provision for off street parking( 1 space, per BR in ADU). Duplexes should not be allowed in R1 neighborhoods. I have been told the minimum lot size would be changed to 5000 sq ft. Surely, that can't be true. I do not feel you have the interests of neighborhoods and their citizens at heart. Please reconsider some of these things and stop the rush to change.
Staff Reply:

Riverscape & Stream Buffers

Love the inclusion of Riverscape Standards and Stream Buffers in the South Waterfront (SW) district. Since the Tennessee River is such an important natural asset to our community, wouldn't it make sense to apply similar standards for all riverscape and streams in the City? Most streams have unfortunately already been developed, but applying these type of standards across the City would provide a means of protecting our waterways during future development/redevelopment, and a vision for caring for our natural resources. It is also just a smart development practice from an aesthetic standpoint to allow public access to river frontage instead of cutting people off with streets and buildings.
Staff Reply:

Affordable Housing

We need more affordable housing in Knoxville not less. Someone who thinks that we need less is truly out of touch.
Staff Reply:

Conflict/questions

1. Conflict: Table 10-1, Deck says "Prohibited in front yard", but just above says "Max of 5' into front setback, and the table shows Y(permitted) in Front Setback. Aren't these in conflict?2.Question: Table 10-1, how are steps leading up to a porch or stoop classified? Are they a portion of the stoop or porch, or in addition to it? The existing zoning code calls these out specifically.3. Question: Table 10-1, as defined in the code, a Stoop and an Unenclosed Porch are essentially the same thing when covered. Why are the requirements for a stoop different? Why not combine the two sections into Unenclosed Porch / Stoop, or make the requirements match?4. Section 2.4.B 1&2 read "...line/area on a lot, measured parallel from...". Would be clearer if they said "...line/area on a lot, parallel to the...." Or it could read "line/area on a lot, parallel and offset from the..." to indicate that it is setback from the lot line.
Staff Reply:

Typos

Check 10-14 in the Draft 2.0, Section Z.2 c & d for typos. See below...c. Maximum height is the total height of the turbine system as measured from the base of the tower to the top. For [horizontal] axis turbines, the maximum vertical height of the turbine blades is measured as the length of a prop at maximum vertical rotation.d. No portion of exposed turbine blades (vertical [axis] wind turbine) may be within 20 feet of the ground. Unexposed turbine blades (horizontal [axis] wind turbine) may be within ten feet of the ground.
Staff Reply:

Du/ac

DU/Ac Should be defined in the ordinance
Staff Reply:

(no Title)

On the Recode handout of the zoning overview for neighborhood B. Commercial Districts (9.5% of land use) SW south waterfront district. SW-1 is not commercial, nor is SW-2 but SW-1 is only low density residential now and therefore SW-1 should be listed in the new code under as A. Residential District even though the % of land use is not equal. If listed under commercial - this will be abused & is questionable in this code. This comment has been made several times in public meetings. Homeowner living in SW-1
Staff Reply:

(no Title)

I would like to see lower minimum lot sizes across the residential zones to increase density & affordability; I would also like to see the number of family units allowed in each zone increased to allow more density & affordability. I would specifically like to see the RN-1 lot size NOT increased to 10,000 ft. I'm in favor of the mixed-use proposals.
Staff Reply:

(no Title)

Thank you for hosting the event in Burlington & providing opportunity for input. I live in Holston Hills & what I see in version 2/draft 2 on ridgetop protection is not developed enough. We need to take advantage of the canopy & habitat of these ridges. As development intensifies this will be even more important.
Staff Reply:

(no Title)

Preservation for older neighborhoods is important to me for OLPNA
Staff Reply:

(no Title)

How can putting more unity in small spaces be accommodated? i.e. home villages
Staff Reply:

Recode Knoxville - Lighting Ordinance

I'm writing because of your role on the Recode Knoxville Advisory Committee. Have you looked up in the night sky lately and noticed how few stars are visible? Light pollution obscures the natural beauty of our skies and wastes so much energy. Knoxville's initiative to redo the zoning code is the perfect opportunity to create zoning restrictions that position us as a leader in protecting the night skies and saving energy. As we continue to develop the Urban Wilderness, this facet of our zoning code is something we must consider.Will you propose to the Advisory Committee, City leaders, and the City Council that Knoxville's new zoning include a section based on the Pattern Outdoor Lighting Code (POLC), helping Knoxville to lead our region in reducing lighting pollution?Thanks for your time. I look forward to your response!
Staff Reply:

A Perfect Summary

"Let's rewrite the entire zoning code-all 200 pages of it, hold a few 1-hour public information/input meetings, and then ram it home before the Christmas break."That seems to be the unspoken strategy anyway. It's a bit scary.
Staff Reply:

Ordinance Draft 2

Here are the changes I am recommending for Draft 3:- Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU) permits will only be issued to owner-occupant RN-1 and RN-2 parcels.- ADU permits will require one off-street parking space for every ADU bedroom in addition to the existing parking for the primary residence.- Remove the "special use" designation for "Dwelling 2-Family" use for RN-1 and RN-2 parcels.- Restore the 85' building height maximum to the C-G-3 parcel requirements.
Staff Reply:

How can putting more units in small space be accomodated? ie. home villages. How can affordable housing units be offered.
Staff Reply:

Preservation for older neighborhoods is important to me for the OLPNA.
Staff Reply:

Recode General Comments Or Concerns

I have concern in the code where if an existing building decides to remodel over 50% then the parking change goes into effect and may not be financially feasible for the building or shopping area and thus the tenant would go elsewhere leaving some of the anchor tenant type buildings left in disrepair or not remodeled for changing trends or marketplace. 16-1 : Also concern on the 6 months abandonment clause causing a building to loose non-conforming status and in most cases it is highly unlikely, if not impossible, to get a tenant in 6 months and if buildings built with kitchens and restaurant layout for instance, it might actually cause more to stay vacant. If our building on 4th ave. went vacant 6 months, being made of concrete and some front parking, it would need torn down and rebuilt - if I am reading it correctly. Some areas with pocketed office buildings, not really in nodes - I feel the zoning doesn't apply where buildings need to push forward and park in rear (such as Montbrook area behind downtown west). Building facade material restrictions in C-Gs - I feel needs some tweaking as far as percentages on the building - what if styles change?
Staff Reply:

Olp Diversity (5x5 Blocks)

Good morning,Thanks again for all you both are doing, just wanted to share a quick snapshot of my neighborhood, Oakwood-Lincoln Park.I walked a 5x5 Block of OLP, looking specifically at Housing Diversity. It's abundant (see attached pdf).Not including the 62 units of Oakwood Senior Center, there are 40+ small-scale multifamily units.I'm reminded of the Strong Town's Strength Test as it pertains to this 5x5 Block...3.) Imagine your favorite street in town didn't exist. Could it be built today if the construction had to follow your local rules?4.) Is an owner of a single family home able to get permission to add a small rental unit onto their property without any real hassle?7.) Are there neighborhoods where three generations of a family could reasonably find a place to live, all within walking distance of each other?Currently, the answer to these questions is YES.With the proposed zoning + map.. the answer is NO.It's not hard to determine what pricing & affordability would look like in my neighborhood if these existing units didn't exist... and it's easy to imagine what pricing & affordability in my neighborhood will look like if we're not allowed to create more of them in the future.I suspect that similar results will be found in a majority of other blocks, both in OLP and the other neighborhoods that have been covered in the single family only blanket.I know this is difficult, but we cannot afford to move backwards with our zoning if we intend to move our city forward.
Staff Reply:

Recode

I I am a resident of Sequoyah Hills and I would like to recommend some changes to the Recode Knoxville. Here are the changes I am recommending for Draft 3:Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU) permits will only be issued to owner-occupant RN-1 and RN-2 parcels.ADU permits will require one off-street parking space for every ADU bedroom in addition to the existing parking for the primary residence.Remove the "special use" designation for "Dwelling 2-Family" use for RN-1 and RN-2 parcels.Restore the 85' building height maximum to the C-G-3 parcel requirements. Expand the Neighborhood Conservation overlay.Thank you for your attention.
Staff Reply:

Recommend Changes For Sequoyah Hills

Here are the changes I am recommending for Draft 3:- Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU) permits will only be issued to owner-occupant RN-1 and RN-2 parcels.- ADU permits will require one off-street parking space for every ADU bedroom in addition to the existing parking for the primary residence.- Remove the "special use" designation for "Dwelling 2-Family" use for RN-1 and RN-2 parcels.- Restore the 85' building height maximum to the C-G-3 parcel requirements.Here's why I'm making these recommendations:- RN-1 and RN-2 make up all the single family parcels in Sequoyah Hills and these recommendations attempt to ensure those properties are not bought up by investors and split up without regard to the neighborhood and without consequence to the property owner.- I understand and support the need for ADUs to provide for unique family situations and the urge of some residents of Sequoyah Hills to provide affordable housing for young parents to be part of our school district. I believe my recommendations will not interfere with these priorities.- The C-G-3 height requirement would apply to Western Plaza's zoning. This would still be in violation of paragraphs a.1.A and a.1.B of Title 54 Chapter 17 Part 1 of the 2017 Tennessee Code, which protects Tennessee's scenic highways and state law would supersede the zoning code, so in effect, the 85' would never be reached.- My deep, dark fear is that our neighborhood will be taken over by investors that chop up the real estate like they have in Fort Sanders.- I bought my house in Sequoyah Hills because I saw a "for sale" sign in the yard when I ran by it training for the Knoxville Marathon. I strongly believe that one of the common goods that raises the value of all our properties and increases the quality of all our lives is the walkability of Sequoyah Hills.
Staff Reply:

Clarifications For Zoning Ordinance

I have some general feedback about Draft 2 that I want to share. 1.) I would like to see some basic community planner terminology added to the definitions list to make the document more readable for average citizens. Terms like corridor, node, overlay, and mixed-use development are not normal conversational terms and using them without defining them makes the document less accessible to the public.2.) I am also curious why CU and SW are their own special zones? This sets a precedent where each mixed-use development or corridor development would get a unique zone. I know one of the goals is to simplify the current ordinance and so I do not understand why these properties could not be zoned as SD (Special District) or something more generic like that. 3.) I hope the updated ordinance will make it easier for people to walk or use public transportation. I would love to see a change made to our current policies so that new bus stops are built with safety and dignity in mind. There are several bus stops in my neighborhood where people waiting to catch the bus must stand in a ditch. I would love to see new development built with public transportation and pedestrian infrastructure in mind. A covered waiting area that is handicap-accessible would make a big difference in the perception/attitudes around our public transportation system. 4.) I think the addition of the Institutional zone and the Hillside Protection overlay are two great additions to the current ordinance. They make the map easier to use and understand. Thank you for all of your hard work! I am excited to see the final product!
Staff Reply:

Attached Garage Setback In A Rn1 Zone

The section 3. b. below requires front-loaded garages to be setback from the front facade no less than four feet in a RN1 zone. I know of many houses that have garages in front of the front facade. I don't see the need for this requirement. Would the hundreds of houses that don't meet this requirement be grandfathered in the adoption language of the ordinance when adopted?3. Garagesa. Front-loaded attached garages are limited to 40% of the width of the front building line. Garage width is measure between garage doors; in the case of garages designed with multiple garage doors the distance is measure between the edges of the outmost doors.b. Attached garages with front facing garage door openings must be set back from the front façade of the structure no less than four feet.
Staff Reply:

Nonconforming Uses And Structures

First, I would like to say that I am in support of the effort to overhaul the City's zoning ordinance. And, I appreciate the effort that has gone into that process to this point. I appreciate the solicitation of public input on many levels. I think many of the changes being pursued are good. I do think there are some critical issues that are not getting the attention they disserve.The vast majority of the City is already developed and will be "grandfathered" under prior codes, meaning the requirements of the new code will not apply to most current uses and structures in the City, except to the extent the new code requires compliance at some point in the future. I believe that fact is underappreciated by just about everyone involved in this process. I believe the mechanisms by which grandfathered properties will be brought into compliance in the future needs much more discussion and consideration, including the following:1. The triggers in the proposed code for eliminating nonconformity are not clear enough. The concepts of "change of use," "abandonment," creation of a "new nonconformity," and "increase in the degree" of a nonconformity all need much better definition. 2. Almost everyone can agree on a preference for more greenspace, more trails, beautiful landscaping, wider roads, sidewalks everywhere, aesthetically pleasing facades, fewer signs and billboards, larger setbacks, etc. They are all desirable goals. But they have a very substantial cost. Imposing these requirements on properties that are not yet developed might be reasonable - at least those owners understand the costs before they make an investment decision. But, in the case of previously developed property (again, the vast majority of the property in the City is developed), the cost of compliance is being imposed upon them. I have heard no conversation in this process about the potential cost over a period of years of bringing nonconforming properties into compliance with the new code. Surely that cost will be in the billions of dollars. How could decisions like these be made without ever even considering the cost and how that cost should be allocated? I would urge a thorough evaluation of the cost implications, and an open dialogue about how they should be allocated within the community to achieve the desired change.3. Without careful consideration, the requirements of the new code may very well have significant impacts exactly opposite those intended. If the cost of compliance with the new code is excessive, owners of previously developed properties will work hard to avoid triggering those requirements. That will result in worn out properties remaining stagnant longer. The new code should allow owners to make incremental, reasonable, cost effective steps toward compliance. If full compliance is mandated, it will almost certainly result in less properties being improved, and very likely an overall lesser quality of commercial property inventory than would have resulted if the code were not revised.4. Historical patterns of development were very different from those envisioned by the proposed code. In most cases, making fundamental changes in parking, buffer zones, significant increases in landscaping, building setbacks and building orientation will be extremely difficult to change, and in some cases impossible without completely demolishing all of the existing improvements. The new code should explicitly accommodate those and similar realities, while incentivizing incremental movement toward the new requirements.Addressing these issues will require a significant amount of additional time and effort. I believe that failing to address them could be much more costly for our community.
Staff Reply:

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