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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I-mu Should Not Be For Old Buildings Only

Section 6.1 of Draft 4 says that the I-MU zoning district is intended to allow a mix of light industrial uses and a variety of compatible commercial as well as residential uses. Great! But the draft also says that "this mix is intended to promote the reuse of older, character-giving structures that may no longer be suitable for their original industrial purposes " I hope that I-MU can be used for other settings as well.. A mix of craft industrial with commercial and residential may be desirable outside of downtown Knoxville in buildings intentionally designed for this purpose,
Staff Reply:

Fire Safety And Ada

Just finished a quick reading of Draft Four and I noticed several issues that conflicts with fire safety and American with Disabilities Act.After the Gatlinburg Wildfire, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, TN State Fire Marshall, TN Division of Forestry, U.S. Forrest Service, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development Council, and the National Park Service are all promoting FireWise community planning to reduce wildfires. The current draft mandating landscaping is in conflict with FireWise standards, putting many residents in danger. A few examples of dangerous conflicts are:Requiring far too many trees near residential home. FireWise minimum standards states that trees canopies should be separated by a minimum of 10' to reduce fast spreading canopy fires. Shrubs should be separated by two times their height and if under a trees canopy by three times its height. These distances are based on a flat plane. If structures are located up slope from the landscaping the distance increases as the slope increases. The requirement that townhouses have landscaping along foundation and to screen outdoor equipment is a high risk. If the equipment malfunctions or sparks it could quickly set a wildfire. After the Gatlinburg Wildfire there were several seminars in the area on planning a FireWise Community. Many of the state and federal departments listed above provided presentations. While the state didn't seem ready to mandate FireWise at this time, it was understood that insurances companies may cancel some policies in high fire risk locations. In mixed-use districts the new codes mandates commercial on the first floor while restricting residential to the second floor or above. There are no requirements for elevators therefore the handicapped and seniors will be unable to live in that district. Draft Four has more than 700 changes, I stopped counting after 700. While many are single word changes, sometimes it major changes to a specific zoning. In December, MPC postponed hearing the new ordinance for 30 days. It's scheduled for January 10, 2019, that's 28 days. MPC also notified the public by email on December 20, 2018 that Draft Four was posted. With comments closing on January 4, that allows the public exactly 15 day to read the proposed ordinance and make comment, while many are spending the Christmas holidays with family.
Staff Reply:

Established Form Base Code Changes

In attending several of the meetings, it was mentioned that there would be no changes to the Cumberland and South waterfront codes since they had both been newly created and publicly vetted. However, there have been changes and I feel the property owners should be alerted to those changes so they could see what impact it may have on development / investment plans. Why not leave them as they were? At quick glance it appears height, set backs and even sign ordinances have changed and I haven't had time to delve into all the details so it leads me to believe there is enough reason to send out postcard alerts to those affected so there may be more feedback since these areas where thought to be not changing at all.
Staff Reply:
Any changes in the form district code that may have shown up in the drafts were inadvertent and the result of trying different approaches to formatting the standards. We have incorporated the form district codes (Cumberland Avenue and South Waterfront) into one article, article 7, and are working to make sure all parts of the form district codes are included and unchanged. We likely will put the parking standards for the form districts in article 12, which has all parking standards, rather in the form code article.Thanks for your interest in the community and in Recode.

Draft 4

Finished reading draft 4. Looks good in particular I very much like the practical changes in Table 4-1: Residential District Dimensional Standards. Thanks
Staff Reply:

Czimmerman@advantagetn.com

Please halt any zoning change to allow multi level structures in residential areas, like Clairborne st in Edgewood park neighborhood. The only way these structures can be built is to tear down some beautiful vintage houses along Claiborne tp make room for these structures and parking lots. This is a horrible idea to change the code to allow this. This code is very unfriendly to areas that are not designated historic zones. Those areas are protected from tiny lots & tiny buildings too. Isn't this discrimination to allow code changes like this in non historic zones? This density model needs to stay downtown where those who want density can live. Others like me prefer to have more green space from my neighbor.
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your interest in Recode. In response to your comment:Please halt any zoning change to allow multi level structures in residential areas, like Clairborne st in Edgewood park neighborhood. The only way these structures can be built is to tear down some beautiful vintage houses along Claiborne tp make room for these structures and parking lots. This is a horrible idea to change the code to allow this. This code is very unfriendly to areas that are not designated historic zones. Those areas are protected from tiny lots & tiny buildings too. Isn't this discrimination to allow code changes like this in non historic zones? This density model needs to stay downtown where those who want density can live. Others like me prefer to have more green space from my neighbor. The Claiborne Place neighborhood and most of the Edgewood Park neighborhood, with the exception of existing multi-family developments, are designated RN-2 (single family residential zone) on the 3rd draft of the proposed zoning map. One of your neighbors (sorry I cannot remember her name) attended some meetings and also emailed to make us aware of the desire for single-family designation for the neighborhood. Thanks for your concern for your neighborhood.

Community Forum-- Request For Deadline Extension For Responses To Recode Draft 4 And Maps Draft 3-- 12-19-18

Community Forum requests that the deadline for comments to Recode Draft 4 and Maps Draft 3 be extended from January 4, 2019, to at least February 1 or February 15, 2019.  Furthermore, we request that any decision regarding an extension be made quickly so that interested citizens can plan their holiday schedules.

Draft 4 to Recode and Draft 3 of the Maps went on line on Monday afternoon, December 17, 2018.  The document is 287 pages long, and hard copies are not yet available.

We are concerned that the stated deadline for submitting comments for Draft 4 is January 4, 2019.  There are two holidays and only 18 days between the December 17, online release of Draft 4 and the January 4, 2019, deadline.   This timetable is not practical and makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for the public to review Draft 4 of Recode and Draft 3 of the Maps, and to submit comprehensive responses.

Community Forum, to date, has submitted timely and comprehensive responses to each Draft of Recode, totaling 55 topics, plus updated responses on the 14 original topics identified in Draft 1.  We have made important contributions to this entire process.  This is particularly true since March 21, 2018, when the first draft became available. Our Responses and extensive participation at public meetings and workshops have brought attention to many issues, both small and large, and have resulted in positive changes.

Most recently, we submitted a Response to Draft 3 on October 31, 2018, the original deadline for responses to be considered in preparation of Draft 4.  Our response covered 23 topics, but was produced in a very rushed manner to meet the deadline, which was less than two weeks after we had a hard copy to work with.

The deadline was then extended to November 16, and we continued our review of Draft 3.  We submitted a Supplemental Response on three additional topics on November 16.  Continued review resulted in a second Supplemental Response on three more topics on December 5.

Our very quick on line review of Draft 4 shows an incredible amount of additions, deletions, and modifications from Draft 3.  There is red and blue ink on many pages.  It will take considerable time just to note the differences from Draft 3, not to mention the time required to compare changes from previous drafts and changes from the existing Ordinance and other documents.  We need to determine whether our previously submitted topics have been adequately addressed in Draft 4.  To produce a comprehensive written response on many new topics, similar to what we have done previously, will take considerably more time.

A January 4, 2019, deadline for comments to Draft 4, is just not realistic, if the objective is to allow adequate time for meaningful input.   We urge that a more reasonable date of no sooner than February 1, 2019, be set to receive comments from the public.  The Stakeholder Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on January 3, 2019.  There are no other workshops or public meetings currently scheduled, to the best of my knowledge, to discuss what is in Draft 4 before the January 4, 2019, deadline.

The Community Design Center’s workshop is tentatively scheduled for February 1, 2019, with a snow date of February 5, 2019.   I would expect that there will be many very important comments submitted on Draft 4 after that workshop.  That alone would be a strong reason to set a comments deadline of February 15, 2019.  It would seem prudent for City Council to delay holding its workshops until after revisions are made to Draft 4.  The content of Recode continues to be a moving target with substantial changes appearing in each succeeding Draft.

Community Forum wrote to City Council on October 9, 2018, to share our concerns about the existing timetable that had Recode going to MPC in November for their recommendation, and to City Council in December for their consideration of adoption.  See attached.  That letter followed remarks that I made at the September 20, 2018, City Council workshop.  At that time, the public had not even seen Draft 3.  Thankfully, a consensus was quickly reached to change that timetable.  Since that time, two more drafts to Recode and the Maps have been made public.  There has been much public discussion and input since then, and that must continue.

It is clear that there is still much more work to be done by all who are involved with this massive undertaking to replace the Zoning Ordinance.  An orderly process is required and cannot be rushed if we are to avoid total chaos going forward.  The current timetable needs to be changed immediately.

Community Forum looks forward to working with City Council members and others, as we work together to produce a Zoning Ordinance that will have the support of the citizens of Knoxville.  To achieve that objective, there must be meaningful community input and extensive discussion and debate on very specific topics.

Thank you for your consideration of this urgent request to extend the deadline for submitting comments to Recode Draft 4 and Maps Draft 3, and so that we can all have more time to observe and celebrate the upcoming holidays.

We look forward to a timely response to our request.

Sincerely,

Larry Silverstein, Chairperson, Community Forum

Staff Reply:

Community Forum- Re: Request For Postponement Of Agenda Item 5, 11-a-8-oa

Community Forum requests that Agenda Item 5, 11-A-18-OA, Consideration of the Comprehensive Update of the City of Knoxville Zoning Ordinance, be postponed from the January 10, 2019, meeting of the Planning Commission to the February 14, 2019, meeting. Please see the attached file for full comments. 
Staff Reply:

Comments On Recode Draft 4

Please see the attached letter addressed to Gerald Green for our comments on Recode Draft 4.

Staff Reply:

C-g-2 Zoning Comments

I've been looking at several soon to be C-G-2 properties with an eye on building a dance studio and a recording studio. I appreciate the idea of changing from setbacks to build to lines to make the construction more pedestrian friendly and more attractive. There were a couple of things, though, that I noticed and wanted to comment about.First Floor Fenestration:The 50% fenestration between 2 and 10 feet on the front is potentially burdensome. While windows are desirable for retail and even office, they can cause security and privacy issues for other types of businesses. The added expense of windows, just to cover them up for privacy, or find ways to prevent sound leakage is a bit much. The 35% on the frontage, as it is for other commercial types seems more reasonable.Building Materials:Excluding steel siding, except as an extra decorative element (of 25%) discounts its advantages as a siding. Steel is 100% recyclable, and it doesn't require much (if any) painting for regular maintenance, and it doesn't rot or crack. Forbidding metal as a major siding choice makes sense for, say, a 4 story apartment building, but there are other types of structures (like dance studios or recording studios) that benefit greatly from having high ceilings and large open spaces. A single story of between 14' and 20' would be the norm, and metal would be a good choice for more than a decorative element of the facade. I've seen multiple buildings of about that height in the area soon to be zoned C-G-2 (on Martin Mill) that have textured concrete block on the first 5 feet or so, with metal siding the rest of the way up, and I think it looks great. Maybe allow a larger percentage of metal, say, 50%? Or possibly allow metal on structures under 25' high if there's something else used on the first 5'? Design over 100 feet (notes included in diagram not on chart):There are certain architectural elements that are required to break up walls over 100'. "Color Change" is listed in the B section of the diagram C-G-2 DISTRICT DESIGN STANDARDS on page 5-7, and it isn't listed on table 5-2.Build to lines for small properties bordering multiple streets:This is an area where there might be some unintended consequences. I'm looking at some commercial properties that are long and skinny (50x200), and are bordered by Martin Mill, Drinnen, and a very small street (no more than a driveway, really) called Brady. It's my understanding that this would require a build-to to within 20' each of these lines. I'm wondering if some more guidance could be given in an instance like that. Could this be an instance of having a required build-to to no more than TWO of the property lines?
Staff Reply:
Jonathan,Thanks for some very good comments. I will forward them to our consultants so that they can be considered and discussed as we prepare the next draft of the ordinance.Thanks for your interest in the Recode project.

Beauty

I fear that beauty is often removed from development plans because of cost. However, the most beautiful developments include the original trees and have thoughtful landscaping. Knoxville has too many rows of houses that look all the same and often you can see how the hill was cut down to clear space for those developments. Now is the opportunity to keep natural features and make green space a part of the original design plan for residential and commercial development. Of course developers want to make the maximum amount of money and will cry that they can't provide affordable housing or development without cutting down all the trees, flattening the hillsides, and making new houses out of ticky-tacky. But their concerns are not more important than the citizens who live here and love this town and want to keep the natural beauty retained. Thank you.
Staff Reply:

Agenda Item 5, 11-a-8-oa

The board of Ftn. City Town Hall, Inc. agrees with and supports the request of Community Forum regarding Agenda Item 5, 11-A-18-OA- Consideration of the Comprehensive Update of the City of Knoxville Zoning Ordinance. We are asking for a postponement from the January 10, 2019, meeting of the Planning Commission to the February 14, 2019, meeting.The last draft was only available online December 17, 2018, with hard copies available December 27, 2018. During this busy season of the year, it is not practical for neighborhood groups to be able to meet for extensive periods of time to discuss this important document that affects every parcel of property within the city limits. We could not possibly have written comments within the time period allotted, which was January 4, 2019.We certainly intend to offer comments as soon as possible.There are many substantive changes from Draft 3 to Draft 4. The time that Commissioners, the Stakeholder Committee, and the public has had for review has not been long enough for a thorough review.Please don’t vote to accept this document in its present form. We must get this right. Our neighborhoods are in great part what makes Knoxville so special. It is too far-reaching and too important to adopt and then “hope” we can amend the document in problematic areas to prevent damaging impacts to our neighborhoods and even commercial areas.Again, we are asking for Agenda item 5 to be postponed until the February 14, 2019 Planning Commission meeting.Sincerely,Board, Ftn. City Town Hall, Inc.
Staff Reply:

Adu Clarification

"An ADU may be located only on a lot with one single-family dwelling. One of the dwelling units must be occupied by the owner of the property."Does this apply to the use of an ADU once it has been built or is it just a requirement to be met in order to obtain a building permit? The wording seems unnecessarly vague. Also, what power does the City have to enforce this? What are the potential penalties for violating the code? How will the city handle a situation where there is a violation and the renter has a binding contract to occupy the premise?
Staff Reply:

Accessory Dwelling Units

I live in South Knoxville, and I want to voice my robust support for allowing accessory dwelling units on existing properties.
Staff Reply:

0 E Fifth Ave Is Not Community Garden

I have commented on the last two maps without response and hope to receive it this third time. The empty lot (0 e fifth Ave) next to 2080 e fifth Ave is incorrectly labeled as the Parkridge Community Garden. The garden is across the street in the open lot, which has been given the correct proposed zoning for such a space. As the owner of the incorrectly labeled lot, I am concerned about liability on my property if something were to happen to someone who mistook it for public use.
Staff Reply:

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