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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Parking Lot Landscaping Requirements

Trees Knoxville's mission is to preserve and increase the urban tree canopy on the private and public land of Knoxville and Knox County. The board of Trees Knoxville has voted to endorse the following statement:The benefits of trees and landscaping are well known. A few of these assets include beautification of public spaces, reduced stormwater runoff, reduction of air pollution, and cooler ambient temperatures and shade - both of which enhance walkability. The current parking ordinance allows for reduced or no perimeter or interior landscaping for lots smaller than 20,000 sf. All lots larger than 5,000 sf should be required to have some perimeter landscaping. Lots between 10,000 and 20,000 sf should be required to have graduated interior landscaping (smaller and/or fewer islands), depending on size of the lot.Lots larger than 20,000 sf should have a landscaping break every 10 spaces rather than every 15 spaces.Landscaped buffer zones between parking lots and residential development should be 15' wide rather than 10' wide.Tree selection is tied to a list of approved trees maintained by the City Tree Board. To insure high quality, a similar list should be specified for the selection of shrubs, grasses, ground covers, etc. Both lists should be tied to landscaping requirements throughout the Recode ordinance. Thank you.
Staff Reply:

Feedback From A Discussion At The Food Policy Council

The Knoxville-Knox County Food Policy Council has NOT voted on a recommendation at this time and date. They individually have provided some general feedback to some City and County in advance of the deadline which I am summarizing below:They are supportive and in favor of changes regarding food, farmers markets, and urban agriculture as included. There were concerns about ambiguity of farm stands/seasonal produce stands and ensuring the language is clear and consistent in references. They also felt like it may be beneficial to have a presentation from the consultant on specific food-related items in the next phase.
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Forest Heights Neighborhood Draft 1 Comments

The following is feedback from Forest Heights Neighborhood. We have created a focus group of neighbors (including both FHNA board members as well as other neighbors not representing the board) to analyze and discuss the proposed ordinance and how it affects our neighborhood. The members of the committee were: Jim Pryor, Amy Hathaway, Martie and John Ulmer, Joe Hickman, Leslie Badaines, and Amy Midis. Thank you!Uses Permitted in the RN-1 District:1. Home Occupations is broadly defined in the proposed ordinance and specific standards previously used to in the current ordinance to differentiate Home Occupations from Home Offices have not been incorporated into the draft. We feel that the current definitions and their standards for both Home Office and Home Occupation should be added to the proposed ordinance. 2. The definition of a Group Home should be more detailed and should be allowed only as a special use in all residential districts.3. The existing draft permits Day Care Homes in all residential districts. The State currently regulates Group Day Care Homes (8-12 unrelated children) and Family Day Care Homes (5 - 7 unrelated persons up to age 17). Our existing ordinance defines "Day nursery: private" as having 6 or more unrelated children, therefore allowing fewer that 6 children by right. We request that the Day Care Homes be defined in the new zoning ordinance as 6 or fewer children, and a separate classification of Day Care Homes be defined and allowed only as a "Special Use" in all residential districts. Zoning Request for 4002 - 4216 Sutherland Avenue:1. The properties from 4002 Sutherland Avenue west to 4216 Sutherland Avenue are currently zoned either Residential or Office. Since residential houses in Forest Heights are located across the street from these properties, the intensity of the use of these properties directly affect our neighborhood. We recommend that the businesses currently zoned O-1 retain their "O" or Office zoning and the single family residences are zoned the same residential zoning designation as our neighborhood. Administrative Modifications:1. The Zoning Administrator is given authority in 15.4C to grant a 10% or less modification to any zoning district dimensional standard in this Code. We request that for modifications granted in residential districts, that the adjoining neighbor who could be affected by this approval be notified in advance of its approval. This is most important with regards to setbacks and maximum height restrictions.
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Neighborhood Advisory Council Draft 1 Comments

The following is feedback from a focus group created from the members of the City of Knoxville Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC). The focus group members were Rob Glass, Anna Compton, Molly Conaway, Jennifer Reynolds, and Amy Midis. Thank you!Comments Regarding Recode KnoxvilleNeighborhood Advisory Focus GroupMembers: Anna Compton, Molly Conaway, Rob Glass, Amy Midis, Jennifer Reynolds1. We feel that the minimum lot square footage for the EN-1 residential district should be reduced from 22,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet. (Article 4.3, Table 4-1)2. We feel like allowing ADUs on lot sizes of 5000 square feet is too small, and recommend the lot size be increased to a minimum of 7000 square feet. (Article 10.3B)3. The existing draft permits Day Care Homes in all residential districts. Since no specific standards are provided regarding this use, it appears that regulatory control of these businesses is by the State of Tennessee. We would like to see the draft include local standards for Day Care Homes in the ordinance and not let the State dictate the intensity of this use. Furthermore, we would not permit day care homes that allow more than 6 children not related to the owners. (Article 2.3)4. We like the idea of non-residential reuses being allowed in the new draft, however, we would like to see the new buildings be updated to new code standards, as well as installing buffers to help distance the property from residential properties. (Article 9.3W)5. We request that the Class B buffer require one evergreen ever 10 feet, and not ever 20 feet. (Article 12.9C)6. We request more graphs or pictures in the ordinance to visualize the concept of ADUs. (Article 10.3B)
Staff Reply:

Landscaping Of Parking Lots

The benefits of trees and landscaping are well known. A few of these assets include beautification of public spaces, reduced stormwater runoff, reduction of air pollution, and.cooler ambient temperatures and shade - both of which enhance walkability, The current parking ordinance allows for reduced or no perimeter or interior landscaping for lots smaller than 20,000 sf. All lots larger than 5,000 sf should be required to have some perimeter landscaping. Lots between 10,000 and 20,000 sf should be required to have graduated interior landscaping (smaller and/or fewer islands), depending on size of the lot.Lots larger than 20,000 sf should have a landscaping break every 10 spaces rather than every 15 spaces.
Staff Reply:

Comments On The 1st Draft

Thanks for your work on this draft, I am generally supportive of the new language and structure, and hope it will help promote sustainable and equitable growth for years to come. As a Public Health Educator focusing on food access in Knox County, most of my comments have to do with food-system related uses and language.Food Pantries: I would like to see them permitted in more districts as a principal use. Restricting them as an ancillary use to places of worship, social service centers, etc. hampers their ability to combat food insecurity in nimble, efficient ways.Food Truck Parks: I approve of this new principal use, though it would be nice to see it permitted in additional districts, either flat-out, or by special use.Market Gardens: Please make it easier to locate market gardens in residential districts, either by allowing them as a principal use, or making the special use conditions/fees more manageable. The majority of market gardens will inevitably spring up in residential areas (backyards, vacant lots, etc), but a cumbersome special use application process will deter many would-be urban farmers. I fully support the environmental performance standards, but I think many of the concerns regarding the occurrence of market gardens in residential areas have to do with traffic generated by on-site sales, which should be covered under the Farmstand temporary use permit. We need to encourage the production of food and the generation of small-scale local economy and business everywhere we can! Codes enforcement can keep these sites in compliance without creating so many hoops for these gardeners to jump through on the front-end.Neighborhood Nonresidential Reuse: I am very supportive of this addition because of its potential to help address food access in residential areas, and to stimulate innovative and convenient mixed-use neighborhoods.Farmers Market: I approve of this new temporary use, though it would be nice to see it permitted in additional districts.Farmstand: I approve of this new temporary use, but would like to see it allow year-round sales, either by allowing a 12 month permit period, or allowing for re-application immediately following permit expiration. Season-extension equipment (referenced in this draft) and a generally temperate climate make year-round vegetable production a viable, and often vital, practice. This is evidenced by the proliferation of winter-season farmers markets, and year-round CSAs offered by local growers. These benefits should be extended to urban producers and market gardeners as well.Composting: I recognize that much of this language is dictated by state regulations, but wherever possible, I would like to see composting made more accessible and convenient on both the residential and municipal scale. Food waste is America's dumbest problem, and language that can promote, or at the least get out of the way of, composting activities should be supported. Item 4 "enclosed or contained" in the composting section is contradictory to the previous three items "bins or piles". Piles are a viable and convenient method of composting but are not "enclosed of contained".I am supportive of the language regarding: Apiaries, Aquaponics and Hydroponics, Chicken Coops (though I would like to see the hen ordinance made less expensive and complicated), High Tunnels and Greenhouses, and Low Tunnels and Cold Frames.I am very supportive of the addition of Accessory Dwelling Units to the code. In light of the affordable housing crisis both locally and nationally, ADU's offer a great alternative option for affordable housing in a market that is swiftly pushing out many low-income renters, as well as offering income generation for homeowners and increasing urban density.I am very supportive of the landscaping requirements for new development.I almost certainly did not cover all the topics in this draft that affect food access, but hope that any changes to the code promote a healthy and sustainable food system in Knoxville and Knox County.
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