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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Dedicated Streets In Condo Developments

Developers are allowed to build condos (separate buildings) based upon the zoned intensity. However, they are allowed to get away with dedicating only the main entryway/street to the city and all other streets classified as driveways. The USPS recognizes these side streets as residential addresses but the city only has to maintain the main roadway since the developer is allowed to designate the other streets, no matter how many, as driveways. The developer also is able to skirt the requirements of the city for a street and build these "driveways" narrower and without curbs. This is a sweetheart deal for the developer and really screws the residents.
Staff Reply:

New Codes

If we're going to encourage commercial development in neighborhoods and secondary streets, we should set local business, and have strict restrictions on corporate and national chains. I would love to have small markets or restaurants in my neighborhood, but I don't want another Dollar general or fast food joint, with big lights and obnoxious signage.nnAlso, if we're going to be redeveloping these corridors, can we install a municipal fiber optic system like Chattanooga has? It has done wonders for that city, and we could benefit from such a system in citizen connectedness and appealing to new, tech related industry development.
Staff Reply:

Zoning Code Survey

I attended the city's recent workshop on sustainability & liked the idea of developing the West Town site using the existing retail structure for that purpose while adding to its sustainability by building above the parking lot & existing structure. That site won't be viable if the amount of parking is reduced. Lack of convenient parking is a key factor in business survivability across the city.nnZoning codes regarding landscaping shouldn't be so restrictive as to dictate types of plants except as to tree height and root spread. Lawns are a luxury and substitute ground cover should be acceptable.nnCodes regarding lot sizes should be flexible enough to take into account today's tiny houses movement.
Staff Reply:

Additional Comments

My impression of the survey, which is only my impression, is that it is skewed toward approval of higher density development which would benefit commercial developers more than residents. It is also rather vague. In theory I might like the idea of a more flexible approach to the size of a lot needed for a residential building, for example. However, if a builder wants to put a house on the tiny lot next door to me as an "infill" I would object. There is nothing in the survey about truly affordable housing, or about preventing the duplication of downtown redevelopment efforts into the Magnolia corridor, which would price many residents out of the area. Mixed use is great, but maybe not if it means a Starbucks below and pricey condos above.Although I feel there should be more landscaping requirements and architectural guidelines, I think they should not be a burden on an individual homeowner such as myself. We need creative solutions which take the needs of the elderly, low income and disabled into consideration., with much more input from these residents. Local homeowners and very small business owners need affordable programs to help repair and enhance their properties.When it comes to improving neighborhoods, let's not forget the mostly unattractive buildings for seniors, low income such as Love Towers. If real estate developers want to profit in our city, they should be wiling to contribute to the welfare of all its residents, not just the wealthier elements. Gentrification needs to be addressed in an open, transparent way and more options developed for lower income citizens to purchase their own homes or perhaps have cooperatively owned apartments.
Staff Reply:

Pedestrian Safety

It's essential that we add sidewalks and traffic calming measures to our neighborhoods, particularly those used heavily by commuters who are not as concerned with following traffic regulations (one way, stop signs, etc.) as they rush to and from work.
Staff Reply:

General

Many of the choices were of necessity broad, and do not allow for nuances.As a starter I would like to see a specified definition of what constitutes a dwelling unit. I believe citizens buy and build in a location based on zoning, but we are seeing existing zoning being over turned or re-interpreted. Surely we can create a great viable, and vibrant city without destroying existing communities.
Staff Reply:

Complete Streets

I want to encourage the rapid implementation of "Complete Streets." It is very important to me that other forms of transportation besides the car be a strong component of the new zoning proposal. I would like to see pull-off areas for KAT buses (especially on Broadway). btw: KAT is doing a great job, and, yes, I do frequently ride the bus. A matter which really concerns me: WHY does KUB wait until a street has been paved before it begins digging up the street for utility work (Central Street seems to be the exception!) Surely the KUB engineers know where underground water lines are?!?
Staff Reply:

Recode Knoxville

Knoxville is not the only ET municipality or county that needs zoning and subdivision requirements need updating but Knoxville it the one of the rare ones who can afford the process. I hope when you complete your effort, you can do an assessment of what you have learned in the process and evaluate what measure can be done to reduce the cost or better pave the way of community engagement. A helpful lessons learned would be nice and sharing your changes to be reviewed for application to more rural communities surrounding Knox County.
Staff Reply:

Transit

Knoxville is striving to become a greener City, but that cannot really happen as long as 97% of trips are made by car. Transit, biking and walking must be much more strongly encouraged. This is a safety issue, an air quality issue, and a climate change issue. Transit, while somewhat improved, is still not a viable option for many. Buses are in the same traffic as private autos and therefore do not provide a time advantage. With few exceptions, buses do not come into neighborhoods. I live inside the city limits of Knoxville, but the nearest bus stop is more than a mile from my house. Buses, or perhaps feeder buses should get with in 1/4 mile of residences, at least in the city. West of South Northshore and South of Kingston Pike biking is not an option for most because of heavy traffic.nnnnSo let's take the lead in reducing auto trips and becoming a greener, safer, more livable city.
Staff Reply:

Process Re: Land Use Regulations

Thanks for the opportunity to make some preliminary observations on the regulatory process.One recommendation that I would make is to publish the comments that are received during this initial effort to receive input.Secondly, I would urge you to prepare an overview of existing conditions throughout the City of Knoxville, RE: residential, commercial, industrial, recreation and related land uses, either characterized by "Small Area", and / or "District", by noting, for each identified geographic area, allocation of land uses by type, density, age, total population, etc., but including the primary transportation links to surrounding "districts" and "small areas".Thirdly, characterize each of the areas by trends over the past 20-30 years, RE: growth (population, dwelling units, density), changes in land use types, and traffic conditions.Please consider making this information available on-line, so that the public may review, compare and contrast changes which have occurred throughout the City, and to make some reasoned response through later stages of the planning and regulatory development.
Staff Reply:

Parking

Some predictions of automobile trends show decreased parking needs due to a change in the way we will use self driving cars. Lower ownership could lead to decreased parking requirements. This could happen within the next 10 - 20 years. It would be helpful to make sure we have a flexible code that can adapt to this change in behavior. We may need 40 parking spots for a restaurant now, but may not need to require that many in the future.
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(no Title)

Also consider height and size of business signage! Finish connecting the greenways and more sidewalks please!
Staff Reply:

Sidewalks

The need for sidewalks down broadway in fountain city is off the charts. Residents in scooters and those walking are at risk. So many businesses are very close, yet residents are forced to drive everywhere, increasing the need for parking and increasing heavy traffic snafus.
Staff Reply:

Parking

We need to make sure that any commercial or multi-family development includes sufficient parking. People do not come to places where parking is a problem.We appear to have some bike lanes that extend only one or two blocks and do not connect to other bike-friendly roads, such as the bike lane on Knoxville zoo drive. These seem pointless. We need to think about usefulness when we create bike lanes.
Staff Reply:

Food Truck Generators

When businesses use food trucks they should be required to provide electrical hook-up to stop the generator noise. Some food trucks are obnoxiously loud.
Staff Reply:

Thank You For The Opportunity

I appreciate the opportunity to voice my opinion about the city zoning codes. However, I know I likely made some poor choices when filling out the survey due to my ignorance of the repercussions these choices would have on the larger picture. I do not like the idea of having tall structures or buildings along Broadway, but if it promotes better public transportation discourages some of the unattractive commercial buildings that we see around town, I might reconsider. One of my more pressing concerns is the profusion of check cashing establishments in our area (Fountain City/North Knoxville). These "businesses" prey on the people in our city who are not financially stable or fall on hard times due to a crisis. I would like to see Knoxville tell these types of businesses that they are no longer welcome. There are numerous cities across the country that have banned or regulated the number of check cashing, pay day loan, and title pawn businesses. Knoxville should become one as well.
Staff Reply:

Design Standards

On page 5 of the survey (Design and Landscape Standards), I wanted to provide more details of my personal opinions. While design standards can be good, they can also severely limit the character of a place. I believe that the standards that could be introduced would be more along the lines of "You should plant 'this many' trees or have 'so many square feet' of landscaping. It should NOT restrict species, layout, or design of the landscape. The same principle applies to architectural elements. While there is good reason to require street-level storefront windows in certain development zones (corridor intersections to encourage street-front walkability and commerce), materials/design should NOT be prescribed. Architects and Landscape Architects should be given freedom to be creative. nnThe purpose of these rules would be to make sure we avoid the same mistakes made over the last 50 years with automobile-focused development, not prescribe uniformity throughout the city. Certain zones could or should require design elements to promote a healthy development, but should not prescribe every material/detail. That is where you counteract the character, vitality, and originality that new zoning codes would be trying to achieve. The most vibrant and memorable neighborhoods have diversity and character, not consistency.nnWe aren't trying to make cut-and-paste suburban housing tracts in our city centers, but active, healthy, and unique places for our residents to live, work, and play.
Staff Reply:

Sidewalks

Please make sidewalks mandatory.
Staff Reply:

Comment

Construction of Tiny houses and space should be allowed. This helps with different issues such as affordability and space.
Staff Reply:

Curbs And Gutters

While not specifically a zoning issue, I continue to be perplexed at the non-existent curbs and gutters in Knoxville, even on some of our most used and busy arterials. Why can't a substantial portion of the annual budget be designated to care for this?
Staff Reply:

Zoning

One of your stated missions is to recognize the growing changes in Knoxville demography. Current County land just south of the City boundary (south of Knob Creek (off Martin Mill); north of John Sevier Hwy.; east of Knoxville Hwy. (Hwy 33); and west of Chapman Hwy.) comprises increasing-density residential that allows outdated County-zoned (and dangerous) uses. Commercial firing-range for sighting of guns is allowed (high powered rifles). Commercial dump truck operation is allowed where loaded dump trucks run curvy Martin Mill Pike continuously. A lot of septic drainfields are old and, new and old, should be added to city septic.This should be addressed but don't know if this review would include this.
Staff Reply:

One City

Why is Knoxville so segregated? We're a very diverse city, yet certain areas seems to be reserved only for the upper class. It has become popular to have some wealthy neighborhoods in underprivileged communities, such as 4th and Gill, however those families probably don't dare send their children to the failing public school. Most probably opt for a magnet school or private school. Our community members help determine the success of our schools. The school system can't be solely blamed for failure when the only family's they serve are facing some form(s) of disparity. If we could integrate our low income families to wealthier neighborhoods and encourage our wealthier families to move to communities other than Farragut, Karns, and Powell (and actually send their kids to the zoned public school) then perhaps we could truly thrive as one united city that can celebrate true diversity. We can't claim to want equality if we don't want those facing disparity to be our neighbor. Perhaps we need to rethink what determines property value. It's unfair that someone of low income can't afford the exact same house or apartment located in east knoxville if it were located in a neighborhood in west knoxville). Maybe business should be given incentives for opening up stores and offices along roads like Magnolia, Clinton highway, and Chapman Highway. I'm not sure about government making so many restrictions on someone's property, but it would be nice if these roadsides were kept up as well as Kingston Pike, Lovell Rd, and Emory Rd. Overall, I think our city needs to improve on being more integrated and cohesive.
Staff Reply:

Residential Development

Very displeased at the lack of opportunity for meaningful input when Wellsley Park Apartments were developed across the street (Wellsley Park Rd.) from our subdivision. City officials told us we would have an opportunity for input before site/building plans were approved, and some City officials did meet with us; but it was clear that by the time we were allowed input, the skids had already been greased and the developer's plans were merely a hair's breath away from approval. So our input was perfunctory only--officials at the City just checking off the box--without really listening to or considering our concerns. Among those were building height, traffic and parking, and landscaping. It was criminal that beautiful, mature birch and magnolia trees,which our subdivision had paid for years to maintain, were just bulldozed in constructing the apartments. No consideration was given by the developer to alternatives to save or transplant any of the existing beautiful landscaping along their side of Wellsley Park Rd. This should not be allowed to happen again. Thank you.
Staff Reply:

Additional Zoning Comments

Yes, I have a lot to add to the survey. I suggest the following for Knoxville:1 - more careful zoning2 - watch out for over building3 - why no underground utilities? (oh, I know, they are more expensive.)4 - too many cars, poor traffic control5 - watch out... it's becoming a really ugly city6 - residential areas should sty residential
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Chapman Highway

Drive down chapman highway and look at it as a tourist would. It's not very attractive especially the area from the Henley street bridge through Colonial Village. Too many check cashing places. Can something be done about the old Park hotel building ? This is or was the gateway to the Smokies.
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