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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Very Old Houses & Multifamily Zoning

While the current Recode map is improved, there are some issues that still need to be addressed in the oldest neighborhoods (those with houses 100± years old). If houses in these neighborhoods are slated to be made into multi-family units, there MUST be required oversight from professionals who have demonstrated knowledge with older home construction. It is in no one's best interest to continue to demolish houses that become condemned because of "renovations" made by using construction techniques that are not adequate or appropriate for these older homes. The current flurry of "renovation" activity by "flippers" in these neighborhoods (Parkridge is one example) is showing that City codes enforcement is not able to prevent structural damage to older homes. There already is a proposed lawsuit because the exterior walls are collapsing on a house in which the framework was compromised by removing load bearing walls and collar ties.Not only is this problem frightening for the new occupants/owners of such unsafe houses, it is frightening for the older neighborhoods that have struggled to rebound from serious blight created by derelict and condemned houses. The history of neighborhood decline that led to condemnation and subsequent demolition of many older homes was directly related to dividing these older homes into multiple apartments. The structural integrity of houses often was compromised by cutting holes in floor joists and rafters for the sake of running multiple pipes, vents, and wiring to accommodate multiple bathrooms, kitchens, and HVAC systems in houses that originally were built without these kinds of modern conveniences - even for one family. Floor plans also were changed to make apartments, porches were enclosed (even sleeping porches, aka balconies), and additions tacked on to make additional rooms. Anyone who has seen, or worked on, one of these houses knows that there either was little to no oversight from codes enforcement, or adequate codes did not exist when such changes were made.A requirement that before a building permit is issued, an architect or engineer (or both) has to sign off on any plans that propose dividing a house that was constructed as single family home and is 80 or more years old, or is a contributing structure in a National Register of Historic Places District, is one way these problems might be lessened. There simply MUST be a process for someone with demonstrated knowledge about older house construction to review plans (including a site visit) proposed for the substantial changes that have to be made to safely create multiple apartments in these very old houses. In addition, there is a need for opinions from two engineers as to whether or not one of these old homes has to be demolished. Very few of them were built with the kinds of foundations that are used today and some are being unnecessarily demolished because some engineers do not know about the older methods.
Staff Reply:

Thank You From Claiborne Pl

Thank you for changing our street to RN-2 in draft 3 of the map. I can breathe a sigh of relief for my little house.
Staff Reply:

Sw1 Removing Edu. Facility From The Last Draft

I hope the input to remove the educational facility from SW1 at the north neighborhood meeting was addressed in this last draft to MPC. Each SW 1 area has a school near or just outside of the areas. SW 1 only protection is to solely be residential as in the vision plan.

Staff Reply:

Sw Parking Lots In Recode

We have lost the requirement that surface lots in the SW must be in the rear.  This was missing in the July draft.  I commented about it and it was included in the October draft.  Now it's gone again - compare page 11-4 in the Oct. and Dec. drafts.

This, as you know, is a major deal.

Honestly, I wasn't reviewing the current draft to see if corrections made had been unmade.  However, it looks like that kind of review is necessary.

Staff Reply:
Thanks for catching this. I will forward to the consultants and make sure they correct it and do a thorough review of the entire SW code.Regards,Gerald

Rv Parking And "screening"

I've just reviewed the section regarding RV parking (at a residence) and wonder if anyone on the commission owns an RV? Although I do not store my 13'2" tall RV on my property as it won't fit, I have neighbors that can and do. Based on the requirement to "screen" RVs from public view (from the right-of-way) you are going to require VERY TALL FENCES/WALLS not to mention expensive. Are the commissioners the owners of fencing/wall companies??? The typical travel trailer is about 12' tall and would require at least a 12' tall fence/wall - either that or "hide" the RV in a storage facility (owner of those as well?) or sell it (RV or house). I'm fortunate to be able to afford such luxury of indoor storage, but I doubt the typical RV owner can or is willing to do so. My issue is more with what my(our) neighborhood is going to look like with, say at least half-dozen, homes with 12' tall fencing, just to hide their RV. I'm sorry, but I'd rather you hide some of the ugly cars from sight than a well cared for RV. Since my home is "down the hill" from a right-of-way street, my back yard can be seen from above and would require, by my estimation, a 40-50 foot tall fence/wall to "hide" an RV from view. I and others feel you are trying to weed out RVs and/or RV owners from Knoxville in an effort to beautify Knoxville residential areas. Again, I do not store my RV at home, although I would rather do so. I have thought about relocating to a home where I could expand and store the RV at home, and am now seriously considering it, HOWEVER, I am no longer looking in/around Knoxville or Knox County - our politicians have run me off. I'm glad Knoxville is looking to tell America that RVs, RV owners, and the like are not welcome here - I'll spread the word from a more RV friendly county. Regards!
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Rn-2 Density

Though patches of RN-3 and RN-4 now occur on the map in the outer rings of downtown, most existing neighborhoods remain RN-2. I feel these neighborhoods should be zoned a higher density, like RN-3. However, if they are to remain RN-2, I believe they should permit duplex development by right. I suggest RN-2 AND RN-1 be modified to permit duplex development because they would allow increased (from that currently proposed) housing opportunities. The ReCode team has consistently proposed lower density in these neighborhoods than is currently permitted, which counter-acts many well-researched studies demonstrating that the "missing middle" housing is at the core of our nation's housing crisis. If this code is to be sustainably productive, it should permit some "missing middle" opportunity in these neighborhoods (Mechanicsville, Oakwood/Lincoln Park, etc).
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Request For Postponement Of Agenda Item 5, 11-a-8-oa

It has come to our attention that the Community Forum has requested 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. The Knox County Democratic Party Progressive Action Committee fully supports such a postponement for reasons similar to those outlined in the Community Forum letter. We urge you to make such a postponement.
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Recode, Zone Map

I attended the last work shop on 1/3/19 for the recode, I do have some issues with the latest draft. My area has been rezoned back to RN2, but the lot size for a duplex has been lowered from 10,000 sqft of lot space to 7,500 which is the standard size lot in most historic neighborhoods. I do not have an issue with someone wanting to build a NEW duplex that would fit into the character of the neighborhood. But my fear is that we will go back decades inwhich every foot of building space will be converted into "living" area, porches and balconies, will be converted into bedrooms and bathrooms as in the past. We here in Parkridge have spent years trying to over come this exact same type of over crowding and destruction of the historic fabric of our neighborhood. With only small portion of Parkridge protected by a historic overlay and no in fill housing guidelines, we would be damned to repeat our very bad past history. Parkridge would is better suited for RN3 like other historic neighborhoods like 4th and Gill.Also on a technical note, I noticed that under the minimum interior side setback has been changed to a minimum of 20', on a 50' wide lot, as in most cases in historic neighborhoods that would limit the buildable area of 30' wide. I think as it stands now, the minimum is 5', and minimum of 12' combined.
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Recode Timing Is Way To Fast

Why is the comment period so short and over the Holidays? Is Donald Trump now our Mayor and we'll just push this through lickety-split while no one is watching? I've read a few comments on draft #4 with its over 700 changes and one theme appears over and over and over again: there hasn't been enough time to read it! This isn't Congress, this isn't the Trump Administration--this is LOCAL. We need more time to discuss such huge changes. An H1 effort in Parkridge spanned FIVE YEARS of continual meetings, planning, debates, door-to-door knocking, mailers, flyers, everything short of writing it in the sky with an airplane (which Councilman Brown insisted would still result in someone saying they never heard about it) and yet it was smacked down by Mayor Rogero for needing "more discussion time". If FIVE YEARS isn't long enough for a neighborhood of a few hundred acres, how is the measly 7 months this has been public (since the June 2018 release of the maps--everything before that wasn't very useful for the public) long enough for a city encompassing 104.2 square miles? The obvious answer is that either the public doesn't know what it wants and the City needs to tell us what we want or the public wants something contrary to what the Mayor, Mr. Lyons, and the political/developer machine want.What's the rush? Parkridge was told that we have plenty of time to go block-by-block over many years to protect affordable housing; Knoxville already has a zoning code that's worked well enough for 50 years so there's no desperate need to install a zoning code. City Council didn't have a problem pushing the Parkridge H1 off onto a new Council but now the excuse for the rush is so that the next council won't have to deal with it. A project this monumental should take place over several sitting City Councils. I am saddened that is has become just a political plum for an outgoing administration.
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Recode Text Changes

Attached are the comments from the City.

Staff Reply:

Recode Knoxville

Over the past days I was reviewing the 4th version on Recode and would like to ask why Materials are excluding from being used in zones?  I strongly disagree with any exclusion of materials.  Having just worked on a project in Muscle Shoals, AL recently there was a material exclusion and it was going to cost the owner 40% more for his typical building by changing material.  We went in front of City Council and they understood our issue and allowed the material. 

How do you think Sequatchie Concrete Services on Sutherland Avenue in Knoxville would feel if CMU is exclude as a material in the city they do business in? Or what about other companies located in Knoxville that makes a forbidden material are you wanting them to leave the area? That doesn’t make planning since.  If you want better design this isn’t the way to go about it. 

I ask that you exclude any building material references in the new zoning ordinance.

Staff Reply:
The restriction on materials was proposed by the consultants assisting with the zoning code update based on their experience in other cities and research done by them. We are still revising the materials restrictions to further reduce and clarify the restricted materials, with input from AIA-ETN. Please note that the restrictions are only for the facade that faces a public right-of-way and only in certain zoning districts. In the downtown district, the Downtown Design Review Board can waive the restriction on materials. In the other districts in which materials are restricted, they can still be used for up to 25% of the facade. Our goal is to ensure the ability to use a variety of materials in all structures.--Response from original poster:I appreciate your response and I have spoken with John Sanders the AIA representative and he was the one who told me to reach out to you. Limiting materials is not what a zoning ordinance should encompass. The Ordinance does not get updated very often as you can see with our current one. For example, you want to exclude plastics from commercial zones. I am the chair for the School of Architecture Dean’s Board, did you know we printed a House out of plastic? It won several awards nationally see the link https://web.ornl.gov/sci/eere/amie/. This technology will only grow. My point is materials constantly update and change, just look at the plastic house. Let architects decide the proper materials not planners.

Recode Effect On East Knoxville

I hope that MPC and the City really think hard about how this recoding of Knoxville will ultimately effect the people that live on the east side(Park City).Just to create density for the sake of more housing may do more harm than good. East of downtown has at this time very little to offer anyone that is low income.There are few jobs and the ones that are available are minimum wage, which at the rate of cost of living two people making minimum wage can not afford housing. There are no grocery stores, its a food desert, unless you have your own transportation. And now that St Mary's has closed there is no medical provider on the east side of town. And none of this is going to change because for any business to locate in any area they are going to look at the median income, so if the city keeps concentrating low income in the 6th district we are not going to attract any future businesses. The city and county need to spread out the low income density across the area so these people will have the availability to be able to help themselves out of their current situations. there was a study done to test the effect of the zip code inwhich you were born, born in a poor zip code you are pretty much doomed.MPC and City, think long and hard about what your are about to do, the effects will last for decades!
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Please Do Not Zone Historic Eligible Blocks Higher Density

On the 1400 block of Woodbine, a few of the "last" shotgun houses in Knoxville still stand. Zoning these RN-4 invites demolition. There has been a request to please avoid placing higher density zoning on areas eligible for historic districts, because higher density base zoning could create an incentive to demolish historic single family homes where H or NC zoning has not been enacted. The 1400 block is eligible for H or NC overlay, as per the 2016 MPC Study on Edgewood-Park City Historic District. Please see: http://www.preserveparkcity.org/2018/07/historic-zoning-saves-workforce-housing.html and http://www.preserveparkcity.org/2018/09/knoxville-lost-first-black-neighborhood.html.
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Plans Review By Mpc Staff

Due to staffing levels devoted to the review and enforcement of zoning codes, the review of plans and their subsequent enforcement is a heavy lift for many municipal governments. Like most cities, Knoxville has opted to reduce this burden by reducing standards and operating on a complaint driven system. Another option would be to reduce the burden by allocating some of these responsibilities to qualified MPC staff. MPC staff already review design guidelines in certain zones. They are also willing to take on the review of landscape plans.This would make it easier to restore basic design standards for single family dwellings and for landscape standards to be upgraded to include more landscaping in smaller parking lots, a 2-year landscape bond and a tree bank.
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Parcel 119dd003 / 0 Mars Hill

I own the parcel above and do not want it rezoned RN1. It borders a high traffic road so it will not support single family homes but will need townhomes or some other type of higher density product to be viable. We purchased the property under RP1 designation which allows for 23 units on this property. Rezoning as proposed will negatively affect value of the land.
Staff Reply:
According to the official zoning map of the City of Knoxville, the property at 0 Mars Hill Road is currently zoned RP-1 at less than 6 dwelling units per acre (see attached). The RN-1 designation would allow 4 dwelling units per acre, which would be a reduction n density. We will change the proposed designation to RN-2, which would permit up to 8 dwelling units an acre (an increase in density).Upon approval of the updated zoning ordinance, you may wish to consider requesting RN-4 designation for the property. This change would require a zoning amendment, a sector plan amendment, and a one year plan amendment.

Os-1 Status In Recode

The language supporting OS-1 (Open Space Preservation District) is still being dropped from the current ReCode draft 4 ordinance. This is a mistake. Attached are detailed comments on this issue. 
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Need Better Exterior Lighting Standards - Section 10.2

Hello,The Lighting Standards for Exterior Lighting (section 10.2) needs performance standards to address issues of light trespass onto neighboring properties. In particularly, 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, and B. 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 allowed to cross the property line - to trespass - onto a neighboring property.As 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 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 light colored surface such as a concrete driveway) and onto the adjacent house.There needs to be a measurement that can be standard. Examples for the light trespass levels allowed along residential property lines are:Huntsville: 1.0 footcandleNashville, Minneapolis: 0.5 footcandleGreenwich, CT: 0.1 footcandles for property lines of residential zones, 0.5 for business zonesBrookfield, CT, Pittsboro, NC: 0.5 for residential, 1.0 for commercialAsheville, NC: 0.5 footcandles for all districts (and a very comprehensive lighting ordinance at https://library.municode.com/nc/asheville/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH7DE_ARTXIDEDEST_S7-11-10OULIST)Another good reference are the LEED guidelines for light trespass here: https://www.usgbc.org/credits/ss8The Town of Matthews has a well-written lighting ordinance: https://matthews.municipalcms.com/files/documents/UDOChapter609OutdoorIlluminationindividualsection1318115409101317AM.pdfSome suggested improvements that provide measurable, enforceable standards that address light pollution issuesLight 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.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 shieldsFlood 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.Color Temperature: Cooler light sources (e.g. 5,000 - 6,000 Kelvin) will be prohibited and warmer light sources (e.g.3,000 - 4,000 Kelvin) shall be utilized.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."
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Min Lot Width Prevents New Housing In Rn-4

There is an issue with minimum lot sizes not matching existing lot sizes in the city. RN-3 and RN-4 are the densest residential zones near the corridors, and they are less dense than the historic city grid. There has been much talk about zoning by current use so that these houses will be conforming to the new code, but if you look at the only swathes of RN-3 and RN-4 just north of downtown and well within walking distance (surrounding Baxter @ Central and West end of Gill), the lot widths are 40', 42', 37', 30', (even 22'!) etc. Even in Fourth and Gill there are many lots less than 50' and are thus nonconforming. RN-3 and RN-4 both require 50' minimum for a single family. So as it exists, what appears to be the densest housing areas near downtown and within walking distance to jobs do not permit even single family development. I own a lot on Hinton Ave, on which I currently plan to build a duplex. With the current proposal, I could build no housing at all. I know of another planned development in this area, a quad-plex, which is currently permitted but would not be under the proposed ReCode. Even on this property, a block in from Central and over 60' wide, a maximum of only three units can be built. This result seems both counterproductive and contrary to the goals of your research. I have not reviewed this condition in other areas of the city, so please look closer at this issue elsewhere. It is difficult enough to find one lot for purchase in the area, so anticipating the combination of lots for greater opportunity is not viable. One solution may be to match the required minimum lot width with the existing grid in city neighborhoods, or allowing for an exception for historic widths. Another thought is that these areas near the intersection of Broadway and Central could become a commercial or I-MU district, which has no minimum width and now permits single-family, and matches the historic use of this area. Also, while checking the I-MU district for applicability in these areas, I noticed that single family and multi-family are permitted, but townhouses and duplexes are not. Is there a reason to dis-incentive the middle-density options?
Staff Reply:

Map Draft 4 Comments - Belle Morris Community Group

Good Morning Gerald & ReCode team-My apologies that these comments were not sent on Friday, I had it all ready to go Friday evening and intended to send when I got home, but it managed to slip my mind over the weekend.Attached is a marked up ReCode map and diagram of Belle Morris and surrounding properties, noting our overall comments/requests/recommendations for each individual parcel within our neighborhood boundary (which is a fluid line at this point) as well as contributing properties along the neighborhood's edge. Our team has spent a great deal of time going through parcel by parcel, studying the historical condition of each property, it's vicinity to other zones, ownership on KGIS, as well as restoration/redevelopment potential as we see (and hope) the neighborhood progresses over the next 10-20 years.We hope that you might carefully consider our recommendations as you finalize the ReCode map. We have not gone through online and marked each of these parcels (for time's sake) however can do so if you are needing further explanation/detail on specific parcels.
Staff Reply:

Landscaping Code

This may be unrealistic, but I would like to see solar cells erected over parking lots before anyone goes out and covers potential productive farmland with them. I envision a grid of 16 - 20 ft tall poles, the whole thing stabilized with guy wires anchored around the perimeter, supporting solar cells to provide shade in the summer, and power without the need for additional distribution infrastructure. A solar farm elsewhere requires maintenance to keep down and kill vegetation that otherwise would take over (or else you have to pave the thing), and lines and right-of-way to bring the power into the city.
Staff Reply:

Landscaping

I support the effort to "raise the bar" in ordinances concerning landscaping and development, specifically as they apply to requiring developers to landscape parking areas and to contribute toward a mitigation fund or tree bank. I understand that staffing limitations make enforcement difficult, but having it on the books is at least a first step toward being a good steward. Thank you!
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Landscape, Lighting And Design Standards

Hello Recode Team,My understanding is that stronger standards for landscaping and lighting are not being included because of enforcement concerns. I would like to suggest that MPC take over that role because it makes a lot of sense for them to do it.I hope you will reinstate design standards for residential areas as well.
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Kcdp Pac Comment Submission On Recode Knoxville Draft 3 Map And Draft 4 Text

On behalf of the Knox County Democratic Party (KCDP) Progressive Action Committee (PAC), we would like to submit the attached comments on ReCode Knoxville Map Draft 3 and ReCode Text Draft 4. We would especially like to point out our recommendation that the Planning staff seek out more lots to designate as RN-3 or RN-4, focusing on lots within a quarter-mile of core and local bus route stops that have no structures and/or that have non-historic structures that were built more recently, for example since 1980. We would be happy to partner with you and neighborhood groups to find such lots suitable for RN-3 or RN-4, and we look forward to following up with you about this. Below is the list of PAC members that ratified this comment submission: Emily Gregg - KCDP Chair & TNDP Executive Committee MemberAllie Cohn - PAC Co-Chair & KCDP Secretary and Executive Committee MemberMichael Davis - PAC Co-Chair & KCDP Executive Committee MemberSylvia Woods - PAC Steering Team Member, KCDP Executive Committee Member & Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee Member LaKenya Middlebrook - PAC Steering Team Member Elizabeth Rowland - PAC Steering Team MemberMoira Connelly - PAC Steering Team MemberMatt Sterling - PAC MemberPlease let us know if you or your team members have any questions on our submission.
Staff Reply:

Kcdp Pac Comment Submission On Recode Knoxville Draft 3 Map And Draft 4 Text

On behalf of the Knox County Democratic Party (KCDP) Progressive Action Committee (PAC), we would like to submit the attached comments on ReCode Knoxville Map Draft 3 and ReCode Text Draft 4.

We would especially like to point out our recommendation that the Planning staff seek out more lots to designate as RN-3 or RN-4, focusing on lots within a quarter-mile of core and local bus route stops that have no structures and/or that have non-historic structures that were built more recently, for example since 1980. We would be happy to partner with you and neighborhood groups to find such lots suitable for RN-3 or RN-4, and we look forward to following up with you about this.

Below is the list of PAC members that ratified this comment submission:

Emily Gregg - KCDP Chair & TNDP Executive Committee Member

Allie Cohn - PAC Co-Chair & KCDP Secretary and Executive Committee Member

Michael Davis - PAC Co-Chair & KCDP Executive Committee Member

Sylvia Woods -PAC Steering Team Member, KCDP Executive Committee Member; Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee Member

LaKenya Middlebrook - PAC Steering Team Member
Elizabeth Rowland - PAC Steering Team Member

Moira Connelly - PAC Steering Team Member

Matt Sterling - PAC Member


Please let us know if you or your team members have any questions on our submission.

Staff Reply:

Justice

About Bring Back the Orange (BBtO), I have heard Mr. Green state "Their intentions are good, but the understanding of the issue is lacking." I also lack understanding, but I want to be clear that whatever I'm missing in the details, I am firmly in support of the principles of transit-oriented development, second to development that reduces the need for the movement of people in the first place (including mixed use). I don't know enough about the various pro and con arguments about the specific recommendations put forward in the KAT comments on the second draft, but they sound great to me, and I think everyone should be able to add an ADU if the size of the lot allows.Generally, I don't get wrapped up in the details because I think that MPC is staffed by professionals who want the best for Knoxville and know more than I do. I would be dismayed to think that MPC would cave in to pressure from residents who don't know any more than I do, who want to keep things the way they are. Change is necessary for many reasons, but not least because of past injustices that have led to segregation by income, class, and race, and the associated problems of disinvestment in poor areas. Please be firm in your commitment to the principles of resource efficiency; sustainable, walkable, transit-oriented development; compact development to accommodate population growth; design for mobility options (complete streets). Our top priorities must be reducing miles traveled and planning for climate change. We cannot let neighborhood character preservation take over the conversation.
Staff Reply:

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