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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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:

Apartments And Infrastructure

When new apartment complexes, subdivisions, or other large projects are considered, PLEASE take into account the existing infrastructure. I live off of Bluerass Road in west Knoxville. In the past couple of years, we have had a large subdivision put in on Mourfield Rd, which caused damage to that road (small, 2 lane, no shoulder, windy, and steep), and caused us to go from only having power outages in weather situations to having weekly and occasionally daily power outages while they were building that subdivision. Now there is an apartment complex going in on Emory Church Road that is causing even more issues. We have frequent power outages during construction. Emory Church Road is not a large enough road to accommodate the traffic. The road has almost been destroyed by the construction equipment, and they are in the process of adding a traffic light because of the increase in traffic. That traffic light project has been TERRIBLE. My child attends preschool at West Emory Presbyterian Church, at the corner of Emory Church Road and Westland Dr. The project took over 2 months, rules were not followed, the parking lot was destroyed and partially blocked for nearly a month, and the workers were just plain rude. The light still isn't up, but the turn lane on Westland has been re-painted to accommodate when the light is in effect, making it very difficult to turn left onto Westland. All this to say....the infrastructure should have been addressed BEFORE any of these projects were approved and started. The LCUB substation on Westland Dr. needs to be larger to accommodate the new buildings so that existing customers didn't have to experience 2 years of frequent power outages. The roads should have been widened and supported before construction equipment destroyed them. The light should have been installed before construction on the building projects began.
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Section 10.3 & 10.4 - Accessory Structures And Uses

I believe that there should be more consistency between section 10.3 (F) CARPORTS and section 10.3 (N) GARAGE, DETACHED. First, does section 10.3 (F) apply to detached carports only, or attached and detached carports? Clarification there would be beneficial.Second, why must a carport be set back from side lot lines 10 feet whereas a detached garage requires no setback from side lot lines? I would think application of setbacks for these structures would be consistent with each other. It may be that each could be addressed in a consistent manner with regard to Table 10-1, Permitted Encroachments as unenclosed porches (similar to a carport) and sheds (similar to a detached garage).Thanks
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Draft 2 Comments

Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the second draft of Recode Knoxville. Many of the regulations in the proposed code succeed in streamlining the permitting process and providing design flexibility. The proposed code should also: protect and promote residential character; establish a transparent, interactive development review process; and ensure that our overall community is attractive.Ensure that existing and proposed residential development promotes a sense of community.1. Home Occupation - in addition to the proposed regulations there should be a size limit (25% of habitable floor area) and a limit on public visits (by appointment only which can be achieved by not advertising the address). There is no restriction on the number of public visits. No stipulation as to adverse impacts (noise, light, smell, vibration)2. Day Care Homes - the standards in the existing code should be maintained. As written there is no limit on # of children and no requirement to maintain residential appearance or character. 3. Kennels - the typical limit of five dogs/cats prevents residential animal hoarding. As proposed, there is no limit.4. Accessory Dwelling Units - as written, this standard will entice investors to bid on properties, construct a second dwelling unit, then rent both units out thereby driving up the market price of residential property and degrading the stability and social fabric of neighborhood community. This escalating value of real estate lessens the availability of affordable/workforce houses. By requiring the homeowner to live on the property, the home owner has a revenue stream (helpful for moderate or low-income families) or lodging for family or caretakers, close control of the property, an on-site contact for neighbors should complaints arise, and disincentivizes rapid increase of market rates (investors would not want to live on the property).5. Multi-family - provide simple design standards to avoid a shoe box appearance; such as façade modulation, variation in texture or color, and porches/balconies/decks.6. Consistency - EN has a minimum lot size of 22,000 sq. ft. per Table 4-1. EN with a HP overlay has a minimum lot size of 7,200 sq. ft. (6 du per acre) Table 8-1. "Table 8-1: Density and Land Disturbance Limitation establishes the maximum residential density ." Why would HP allow greater density?7. Garage Sales - how frequently can an owner have a garage sale until it becomes a business?Establish a transparent, interactive development review process.1. Expand the flow charts to include appeals.2. Require posted signs to be clearly visible by two-way traffic on each right-of-way contiguous to the property.3. The required 12 days for sign posting should not include holidays as people are more likely to be away.4. Provide notice to neighborhood associations.5. Special Use Conditions should also be able to address use impacts such as hours of operation, noise, etc.6. Provide mailed notice of applications for Administrative Decisions to contiguous property owners and post a yard sign.7. For Special Use approval note that this does not set a precedence.8. For Variance Approval Standards add: The Applicant did not create the situation; and, Other options involving a lesser variance has been considered.9. Extending nonconforming walls should require a variance processEnsure that our overall community is attractive.1. Cell Towers should not be a permitted use in the Neighborhood Commercial Zoning District. This district is "intended to provide for an environment of integrated residential development and small-scale commercial and service uses, predominantly serving nearby residential neighborhoods." Town Hall East was able to successfully deter a proposed cell tower in the Burlington commercial center due to notice of public hearing process.2. Increase the likelihood that required landscaping will survive either through a two-year landscape maintenance bond or irrigation.
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:

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:

Established Neighborhoods

Please leave the Codes as is for Established Older neighborhoods. I am opposed to the Recode proposal.These established neighborhoods define Knoxville and would be horrible for that to change.They give character and define much of he history of Knoxville.The Recode proposal would destroy this history. Many folks move to Established Neighborhoods for the coding it now has. The coding and lot sizes and architect style attracts folks to these locations.A Recode is not good.
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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:

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:

General Comments

Regarding ADU's, I know enforcement of ordinances is not the purview of Recode, but I am in favor of ADU permits being granted *only* to owners who occupy the primary structure. I understand they may sell to someone who will lease out the entire property, but I do believe that initial barrier will prevent many issues.Regarding the South Waterfront, this zoning has not been revisited for about a decade. While I agree with the vast majority of the provisions in that code as they stand and would like it adhered to, what we are seeing is "zoning by variance" where developers are requesting variances because the ordinance is so, in their opinion, outdated, and the City is granting these variances for the same reason. This undermines the public process that should exist. If numerous variances are going to be granted at will on every project, then the entire code needs to have another look and a new code adopted.
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:

Streetscape Section In The Sw District

The entire streetscapes section has been deleted, with a note that it "should" be moved to the subdivision ROW standards. What if any plans have been made to do this? I acknowledge that this section has problems, but a better solution would be to leave it in Recode and then come back and rework it as needed rather than to just delete it with a vague promise that it will go elsewhere.
Staff Reply:
The streetscape standards section of the SW District has been deleted from the zoning. It addressed things like ROW width, movement type, design speed, pedestrian crossing time, curb radius, etc. These are things that ultimately don't belong in the zoning code, and should be incorporated into the subdivision ordinance. More specifically, the recommendation is that they should be moved to the streets and right-of-way standards in the subdivision, where these types of elements are already being addressed (Section 3.04 of the City/County Subdivision Ordinance, for reference).The subdivision ordinance would need to be amended to include these standards.

Comments For Todays Recode Workshop

Hello, please include the attached letter from Town Hall East, Inc. Board of Directors in today's workshop packet. Thanks!Sharon DavisTown Hall East, Inc.
Staff Reply:

(no Title)

How can putting more unity in small spaces be accommodated? i.e. home villages
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(no Title)

Preservation for older neighborhoods is important to me for OLPNA
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(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)

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.
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(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
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4th And Gill Zoning

I really believe we should keep the 4th and Gill neighborhood zones for single family and duplexes. Ours is a unique neighborhood that would be lost if it is flooded with apartments and condos.
Staff Reply:

Recode Knoxville

We need more not less affordable housing in Knoxville. According to the City and County's most recent Community Block Development Grant reports, more than 21,000 low to moderate income families in Knox County are paying more than 50% of their income for housing costs. These families live under constant stress of eviction. This high number indicates a crisis in affordable housing in our community. From other information I have gathered, based on growth projections for the city, we need to be building between 3 and 5 affordable housing units per day in our community by 2040. The proposed map put forth by the City Council and the MPC as a result of the ReCode process appears to reduce the potential to build affordable housing in Knoxville. I urge the City Council and the MPC to redesign the map. I appreciate the thoughtfulness in including higher density housing along the corridors, but the drastic reduction in the orange and tan areas of the current map is concerning. I urge the City Council and the MPC to think more carefully about how to encourage affordable housing in existing neighborhoods. I urge the City Council and the MPC to returning some of the orange areas to the zoning map and to include areas on the map which allow for RN3 and RN4 zoning, two new categories created during the ReCode process but not used in the proposed map.
Staff Reply:

Du/ac

DU/Ac Should be defined in the ordinance
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:

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:

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:

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:

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