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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Resining Questions

I recently purchased a home. The map indicates that it is going to be rezoned from residential to commercial. Is this going to change my taxes or affect my utilities in any way? Does it affect my property value?
Staff Reply:
Your property is currently zoned C-6 which is a commercial zone. The draft map proposes the property to be zoned single-family neighborhood (RN-1) which I presume is how it is currently being used. I hope this information helps. Let us know if you have any other questions.

New Zoning Definitions

Where can you find the definitions and permissible uses for the new proposed zoning?  I can only find the old ones on
Staff Reply:
You can find the current draft here.The current use matrix is here.

Draft 1 Map Vs. One Year/sector Plan

Hello, thank you for posting the maps this week, and for the tool that allows one to compare the proposed map with the current zoning. Would it be possible to implement a way to compare the proposed map with the 'One Year/Sector Plan'? It appears a great deal of care went into boundaries/lines on the 'One Year/Sector Plan' and a number of the plans did not make their way into the proposed map. Namely ? there are numerous residential districts in North Knoxville (many of which are historic) that are now being rezoned to Commercial or Office. I would implore you to take a look at these neighborhoods more closely ? though some may seem like strange 'out of place' pocket residential neighborhoods, in many cases they are all that's left of previously thriving neighborhoods that were once more connected to one another. Once the current code was implemented in the 1960s, many of these parcels were redeveloped as commercial or industrial, or taken over by the city and redeveloped ? which left the remaining residential pockets disconnected from one another. If anything, rather than rezoning the pocket residential neighborhoods to commercial and decimating even more of our historic housing stock, I would recommend that you take a look at KGIS aerial maps from the 1930s and 1950s and consider rezoning parcels that were once residential but redeveloped for industry/commerce back to residential, to allow developers/architects to develop those properties back into much needed city-core residential units.
Staff Reply:
We've added the tab that allows comparison of the Map Draft 1 and the adopted Sector Plan (land use plan). This interactive map can be accessed directly using this link:

Article 5.1.a Office Zoning District Purpose Statement

There appears to be no accommodation for in patient services related to behavioral health/temporary incarceration in the definition of the Office District. Yet, the area that includes the properties owned and operated by Helen Ross McNabb at 3343 Dewine Road appears to continue to be defined as Office. Is it reasonable to assume that these activities will not be considered appropriate in Office districts in the future. If so, what District will they be permitted in?
Staff Reply:
This property is being proposed as Institutional on the second map which will be available for review mid week.

Sidewalk Or Bike Lane

just received a letter from recode Knoxville. does any of this include a sidewalk or bike lanes in my area near adair park?
Staff Reply:
The zoning code does not address sidewalks or bike lanes. You can contact the City of Knoxville Engineering Department for information regarding sidewalk and bike lane construction.

Downtown Residential Uses

Hello,Thank you for your effort.I am concerned that the proposed code seems to totally override existing residential uses downtown.Section 5.2.B. of the code states that multi-family dwellings are allowed only in the DK-B subdistrict of downtown?? Am I missing something? There is multi-family dwelling all over the downtown area. (Very little housing exists in DK-B, incidentally.) Encouraging people to live downtown has been a cornerstone of economic development for the past two decades. It's a key of how creative people and academics choose to relocate to Knoxville. What happens to the hundreds of families who live in proposed DK-W, DK-G, and DK-H sub-districts? I am a resident just north of downtown in The Mews Development on Magnolia, where I live with my husband and toddler. In the current plan, our development will be zoned DK-W. (Search 110 W Magnolia.) Prior to moving here, my husband and I lived for 10 years in a mixed-use development on Summit Hill drive--now proposed as DK-G. I'm just really confused. Thanks for any clarification you can share.
Staff Reply:
The wording of this provision of the draft zoning code update is a bit confusing. The intent was to limit single use residential buildings to certain sub-districts of the downtown, requiring mixed use (residential and commercial, etc) in all other sub-districts. There has been a good bit of discussion with regard to restricting single use residential buildings in any area of downtown, and the standards for this likely will change in the next draft. At any rate, the wording will be clearer!

Recode Of North-bound Lanes Of James White Parkway

Please do NOT recode the north-bound lanes of the James White Parkway! We do not need a linear park to replace the north-bound lanes of the James White Parkway. We need highway speed access to downtown and I-40, not more parks! It is deplorable that our city administration is choosing to destroy what our tax money previously funded (and for which several residents lost property through imminent domain purchase) to make South Knoxville the playground of the city. If you really want public opinion on this you would ask for a city wide vote on parks and bicycle lanes versus more sidewalks and better roadways!
Staff Reply:
The updated zoning ordinance does not address lane closure on James White Parkway. Your email will be forwarded to the City of Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department.

Residential Plat Zoning

Is this a commercial project only, or will you be incorporating the equally outdated residential property zoning plats in the project? Property ward maps do not match property deeds and the result can be over $2,000 for a resident to pay for a surveyor and mpc updates, just for the city to update its own records. Thank you ahead of time for your response.
Staff Reply:
The update will address the entire zoning code. We have heard several complaints about the issue created by the ward maps, including many concerns voiced by MPC and City staff. This issue will be addressed in the code update or may be addressed earlier due to the challenges it creates.

Input And Suggestion For Recode Knoxville

In recent years the continued growth in Knoxville has reduced the distances between commercial and residential areas. This has resulted in unreasonably loud, unusual and unnecessary noise from refuse collection (from dumpsters) in commercial areas that impact residential areas. The attached proposed change seeks to limit this refuse collection to times that will minimize significant impact to families and children while allowing collection in more commercial areas.If you would have questions about this proposed change or need examples of where and how this will improve the quality of life in Knoxville please contact me.Proposed Change to Knoxville Tennessee Code of Ordinances
Staff Reply:
The update of the City of Knoxville zoning ordinance will not include revisions to the City's noise ordinance as that is freestanding ordinance. The update to the City zoning code will propose landscape buffers between residential and non-residential development. The proposed landscape buffers will aid in addressing the issue with noise generated by abutting commercial uses.

Map Feedback

Received your "Notice to Property Owners" dated 2-25-19 in which you provide a website to check on the zoning status of specific properties.>participate>map feedback. There is no such tab! How about some transparency on this issue?
Staff Reply:
The tab is in the top right corner of the page. You can locate it directly here.If you still have trouble accessing the page please let us know.

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.

Chicken Coops

What is going to happen with chicken coop rules. Has anything been decided?
Staff Reply:
The staff recommendation at this time is to leave the standards for chicken coops as they are now. Please let us know if you fell the standards should be revised in any way.

Current Use

I am wanting to confirm that if my property is rezoned to RN-4 from I-G, that I will still be able to use the property for I-G.
Staff Reply:
The RN-4 designation would not permit industrial use of the property. I have noted that you desire the property to be designated I-G and that designation will be reflected on the next draft of the proposed zoning map, which will be available in mid to late April.Thanks for contacting us regarding this matter.

Hedgewood Road 37918 Rezone

I have great concerns about the rezoning of my street, Hedgewood road. I have only lived here since November 2017. I searched for 2 years to find a nice, quiet family neighborhood in my price range in Fountain City. It is my understanding that my road as well as the neighboring roads, Kesterson and part of Kesterwood will be rezoned from R-1 to RN-2. What exactly does this mean for us? I read that multiple familie homes/duplexes will be allowed. I am sorry but that is not what I want in my neighborhood. My fear is this will bring more short term renters, people less invested in the area. And why are only those three streets being rezoned when other attching streets are not? Is there already an agenda in place for these streets? How will going from a residential single family street to an urban area affect my property value? Will rezoning affect my taxes? This rezone is not something myself of any of my neighbors want and as tax payers we should have a say. Please help me understand how this rezone will help me and my neighbors.
Staff Reply:
The RN-2 is intended to remain a single-family neighborhood. Below is a brief description: RN-2 Single-Family Residential Neighborhood accommodates development of single-family homes on relatively small lots with smaller setbacks. The only difference between the proposed RN-1 and RN-2 is the minimum lot area, lot width, and setbacks on the properties adjacent to a corner. Duplexes are currently permitted in the R-1 district through a special review process by the Planning Commission and this has not been changed in the proposed RN-1, RN-2, or RN-3 districts.

Rezoning Of Kesterson Road

I was made aware that the street I live on is being considered for re-zoning. I would like to express my concern about this change. I am opposed to the change of changing Kesterson road to RN-2. . I do not want my street to be changed from RN -1 to RN-2. I feel that the change will decrease my property values, as well as the possibility of homes being converted into apartment buildings. One of things my neighbors are proud of is that we are single dwelling homes. I feel that I live in a very safe neighborhood, but if homes are able to be multiple dwellings, I feel that safety could be a concern. Please consider not changing our street & neighborhood zone.
Staff Reply:
The RN-2 district is a single family designation which permits the same uses as the RN-1 district. The difference between the RN-1 district and the RN-2 district is the minimum lot size. In the RN-1 district it is proposed to be 10,000 square feet while in the RN-2 district it is proposed to be 5,000 square feet. MPC staff is evaluating the need for another single family residential district with a minimum lot size of 7,000 to 7,500 square feet.

Northwest Hills Proposed Zone Rn-2?

To whom this may concern:As a home owner in Northwest Hills, I'd like to understand the reasoning behind switching the zoning from single-family homes to RN-2, especially considering surrounding areas are zoned RN-1.Already, homes are being rented to college students and people are parking on both sides of the street, basically restricting it to one-way traffic.The street is less than 30ft wide, which per city code 1962, 26-1307 suggests that street parking be limited to one side of the street.
Staff Reply:
The RN-2 district is a single family designation which permits the same uses as the RN-1 district, as noted on the attached table. The difference between the RN-1 district and the RN-2 district is the minimum lot size. In the RN-1 district it is proposed to be 10,000 square feet while in the RN-2 district it is proposed to be 5,000 square feet. MPC staff is evaluating the need for another single family residential district with a minimum lot size of 7,000 to 7,500 square feet.


What does zone RN-1 mean?
Staff Reply:
The RN-1 district is a single family district that permits one family dwellings on lots with a minimum size of 10,000 square feet. Two family dwellings (duplexes) are permitted upon approval by the Planning Commission as a special use. Please see the Residential District Comparison Table for additional information. for your email.

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 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.

Comment Period

Please consider leaving the comment period open until, at the very latest, after the Five Points meeting in October. Neighbors need to time to review the map and learn about zoning changes. I think it would be beneficial to wait until after the holidays to bring it before City Council.
Staff Reply:
The reason for the comment deadline is to enable City and MPC staff and the consultants (Camiros) to address comments through revisions in the next draft of the updated zoning ordinance, which is scheduled to be completed in early October. The schedule for the completion of the zoning code update is stipulated in the contract between the City and Camiros, which was approved in December 2016 and states a completion date of October 2018 for the project. While the work of Camiros likely will be completed in the near future, there is no mandated schedule for adoption of the updated zoning ordinance. Public comment will be encouraged and welcomed throughout the adoption process, which includes public hearings before the Planning Commission and City Council. These comments will undoubtedly result in revisions to the proposed zoning ordinance and zoning map as they move through the adoption process.Although there is a deadline for comments to enable them to be addressed in the next draft of the updated zoning ordinance, please know that all comments are important and will be accepted and addressed as staff continues to identify needed revisions to the draft ordinance.

Home Based Business With Employee

With the recode of Knoxville, will employees be allowed to work at a home based business?
Staff Reply:
The proposed zoning code update would allow home occupations in all residential districts. Certain restrictions would be in place; only one employee other than residents of the home; no outdoor storage; no increase in noise, traffic; limitations on retail sales; and other standards to minimize any potential impact on residential areas.

Zoning Change

We are currently zoned R1 and with the latest map, it changes us to RN2. So what does that mean exactly and what are the differences from the R1 we currently are zoned.Thank you!
Staff Reply:
The proposed RN-2 zone is a single family residential district very equivalent to the existing R-1. The major difference is the proposed minimum lot size in RN-1 of 5,000 square feet, designed to accommodate lots in some of Knoxville's older neighborhoods. Please see the Residential District Comparison Table for additional information.

Hillside Ridgetop Protection Zone

I see from the map that my property and that of my two neighbors is almost entirely covered with the Hillside Ridgetop Protection Zone. What does that mean for us? Can we still cut and plant new trees? The property of one of my neighbors is entirely level. Why would it be included in the HP zone?
Staff Reply:
The proposed Hillside Protection standards would limit the density (# of dwelling units) and the land disturbance permitted in new developments. The limitation would be on new developments on property with a slope of more than 15%. The limitations would not apply to existing single family homes and existing lots of record, nor would they restrict the cutting or planting of trees. The notation of HP on the zoning map is an indication that the property appears to be in the hillside area and that review of the property's slope is warranted.

Spence Place

I own the property at Spence place in the Island home neighborhood.It is a through lot bounded by Spence place on the south and the Tennessee river on the north.My lot is 132 ft wide, 429 ft deep. The house is set back 40 ft from the road, the attached carport is set back 26 ft from the road. The east side set back is 5 ft for the carport and 50 ft on the west side.It seems to me It should be classified as RN-1 not RN-2.It seems to me that all of the parcels on the north side of Spence should have been designated RN-2 since they meet the size and set back requirements of RN-1.
Staff Reply:
The properties north of Spence Pl were included as RN-2 to have one consistent zone for the Island Home neighborhood. Due to your concerns, I have added a map comment based on your email so it can be reviewed for the next map draft. You may also add an additional map comment here. These comments take 24 hours to show up so you may not see it right away.

Scope Of Project

Please advise whether this project will review for purposes of potential modification, the process for changing existing zoning and the use on review process. Will the roles the MPC and the Chief Building Official of the City of Knoxville, as well as the definition in the Code of Ordinances be subject to review/discussion.
Staff Reply:
The process for changing the existing zoning of a property, which requires MPC review and recommendation followed by City Council approval, is established by state statute and will not change. The use on review process, the roles of MPC and the Chief Building Official, and definitions in the zoning ordinance likely will be reviewed and discussed.

Recode Map

Is there a way to download the draft version of the new zoning map?
Staff Reply:
The new map, along with tools to compare the existing zoning and provide comments, are available for online viewing.

Mixed Use Development In C-h Highway Commercial Zoning District

Hi,I have a question related to the C-H Highway Commercial Zones. As currently drafted, would a mixed-use development with residential multifamily above a commercial ground floor be permitted in a C-H zone? I see in the Use Matrix that "Dwelling - Above the Ground Floor" is permitted in a C-H zone, but I don't understand whether that implies, multifamily, single family, etc.Thanks for the help!
Staff Reply:
The intent is to permit either a single dwelling or multiple dwellings on the upper floor(s) of a building in the C-H zone. We will clarify this so there is no confusion.

Hillside Protection

I notice that a portion of my property, that includes about half of my house, falls within an area designated HP. I can't find any definitive resource regarding HP online, except references back to 2008-2011. I'm interested in what restrictions the HP designation will place, both on me as an established homeowner and on the newly developed apartment complex abutting my property. Can you point to a resource so we may understand what's about to happen to us?
Staff Reply:
The hillside protection standards would place density and land disturbance limitations on new development located on properties within the HP overlay (properties with grades in excess of 15%). The greater the grade of the property, the greater the limitations on density and land disturbance. The hillside protection standards would not apply to existing single family homes and existing lots of record, so your home would be exempt. As a developed project, the apartment complex abutting your property would not be subject to any limitations either. If the apartment complex proposed expansion (new buildings), the hillside protection standards might limit density (# of dwelling units) and land disturbance.

Hillside Protection?

I own property on Sherrod Rd and it has the small green dots with Hillside and Ridge Protection.  What does that mean to the property owner?
Staff Reply:
The Hillside Overlay (HP) section of the code can be found on page 8-12 here.These regulations apply to all lots within the HP Overlay District with the exception of existing single-family homes (which yours appears to be) and existing lots of record for a single-family dwelling existing as of the effective date of this Code.If you have any further questions please let us know.

Auto Sales And Service Facility

I just built a auto sales and service facility on my property. The recode doesn’t appear to be for auto retail. Please review this and call me.
Staff Reply:
The designation proposed for your property on the draft map is IG (General Industrial). Given the use of your property, CH (Highway Commercial) would be a better designation. I will make this note on the draft map and the change will be made on the next draft map, which will be available in mid to late April.Thanks for contacting us regarding this.

C-g-2 Code / Multi-tenant Housing Numbers

I have a question regarding multi-tenant housing numbers. According to the code C-G-2, how many people can reside in an apartment of the same family-last name? If not the same family-last name?Thank you.
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your interest in the Knoxville zoning code update. In response to your comment:I have a question regarding multi-tenant housing numbers. According to the code C-G-2, how many people can reside in an apartment of the same family-last name? If not the same family-last name?Zoning ordinances can address the development density (number of dwelling units per acre, etc) but generally do not address the number of persons, related or unrelated, who can reside in a dwelling unit. The proposed update of the City of Knoxville zoning ordinance does not establish a density (number of dwelling units per acre) cap in the C-G-2 zone. Density in this proposed district would be addressed by building height, lot size, need for parking etc. The building code does establish standards for minimum square footage per occupant.

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.


Will we be able to have our 16 foot camper parked in our driveway? Also, is the land in front of our house going to be developed, it's full of sink holes. One final question, is Rohar Road going to be extended, right now it's a dead end. We like the way our street is now. Thank you for reading my comments.
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your interest in Recode and for your questions. You will still be able to park your camper in your driveway but you may have to screen it with landscaping from the street. The development of the land in front of your house is dependent upon the desires of the property owner. If the owner did desire decide to pursue development of the property, all applicable standards would have to be met. The zoning ordinance does not dictate nor does it propose street extensions. The City Engineering Department may know if there are plans to extend the street.

Zoning For Equipment Rental Business

My properties 6721 & 6727 Campbell Lane located off of Callahan Drive are currently zoned RN-1 and planned A-1. I am planning on having an equipment rental/sales business on these properties. which zoning should i seek? the property already neighbors another commercial property. thank you!
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. You are correct that your property is currently zoned A-1 (Agriculture) and is proposed to be zoned RN-1 (Residential Neighborhood 1). Under the existing zoning ordinance, a C-4 zoning would likely permit the use you propose. Under the proposed zoning ordinance, A CH zoning would likely permit the use. More details regarding the use would help better define the zoning you would need. It appears that a one year plan amendment and a sector plan amendment also would be required. Such a change may be challenging.

Questions On Recode

Can you summarize the differences between the old code for R-1 and the new RN-2 in layman’s terms for me?  The same with C-G-1 vs. C3 ?I don’t understand some of the verbiage and how it may impact things if different.Also, am I reading correctly that in EN all new primary dwellings must have a 2nd floor ?  (4.4) and that parking is only allowed behind a house ? (4.4 b.1). Also,can you describe what a corner side yard is 11.3 - d.Have there been any public discussions about people’s RVs no longer on side of house etc. ?  And, I noticed a comment on use that Drive-thrus would be allowed on Cumberland - is that different than the new code adopted?  I thought there was effort to get rid of the curb cuts and drive thrus. ?
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. These documents summarize the difference between the existing zoning districts and the proposed districts: current EN standards include the provisions you noted and are being incorporated unchanged into the proposed updated code.Corner side yard is defined in Section 2.4.O.4.a.There has been discussion of the requirement for screening RV's with landscaping if parked where visible from the street at some of the public/community meetings.The Cumberland Avenue form code will be incorporated unchanged into the proposed updated code.

Property At 5300 Chapman Highway

This property has been in my family over 70 years. Since the property up to Stone Road on Chapman Highway is zoned commercially, is there a possibility that our property would ever be zoned commercially. I have viewed your proposed zoning and it looks like the zoning laws will stay the same (residential) Do I have this correct? Thank you .
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. The property at 5300 Chapman Highway is currently zoned R-1, is in the midst of a residentially zoned area, and is approximately 1,000 feet from the nearest commercially zoned property. You are correct that it will remain residentially zoned.

1511 Washington Pk Knox 37917

I need clarification please as to how Knoxville Recode will effect this property. This house was built in 1918 has been well cared for and was zoned commercial/resident long before I acquired it. It is not used as commercial property and has not been so in at least 50 years (if ever ?) Taxes are astronomical due to commercial zoning. I am an investor and it is my goal to make a positive impact in any community that I invest in. The struggle is real.
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. The property at 1511 Washington Pike is currently zoned R-1A, single-family residential, and the proposed zoning isRN-2, single-family residential. The proposed RN-2 zoning is equivalent to the current R-1A zoning, You may want to inquire with the tax office regarding the classification of your property as commercial for tax purposes.

Hillside Protection Overlay

Our home at 5112 Mountaincrest and our attached undevelped lot at 5113 Ridgemont have the HP designation in the December draft. It appears on Section 8.9 that both properties would be grandfathered except that both lots would be subject to the maximum land disturbance limitation.Questions - 1. Please confirm that both properties would be grandfathered per 8.9.2. What % grade is assigned to each property?3. What constitutes "land disturbance"? I would like to understand how the draft language will affect the future use of our property at 5113 Ridgemont - could a house be built? If not, the value of the property would be greatly reduced.Thank you
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. The Hillside Protection overlay would not apply to lots on which existing single family homes are located or to lots of record, so both your lots would be grandfathered. You could build a home on the vacant existing lot. Properties must have a minimum grade of 15% to be considered hillside.

Project Update

are you building apts. or projects over a couple of streets from us. if you are, this concerns me greatly. hope you answer soon please....
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. Neither Knoxville-Knox County Planning nor the City of Knoxville builds apartments. I did a quick check of recent development applications and could find none for an apartment development in your area. If you can provide a location for the development you are referring to, I may be able to provide additional information.

Rezone On Strawberry Planes Pike

How can I voice an opinion of this rezoning. This will really create driving issues ...... children on school buses. We have enough traffic in the area now!
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your email. I will pass your concerns on to the Planning Commission members.

What Does This Even Mean?

What does this even mean? "Our current zoning ordinance is very rigid and in some cases prevents neighborhoods from achieving their full potential. An updated ordinance can protect the things we value about our neighborhoods and commercial areas while allowing the kinds of smart, sustainable growth that will move Knoxville Forward" What is the definition of full potential, and give me three neighborhood examples of full potential. You're telling me that we can't build sidewalks in neighborhoods? Is this the "full potential?" What are three examples of "smart" growth in a neighborhood in Knoxville. What are three examples of "sustainable growth" in a neighborhood here.
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your comments regarding the updating of the City of Knoxville’s zoning ordinance. In response to your question regarding building sidewalks in neighborhoods, the short answer is no, the City cannot build sidewalks in all existing neighborhoods that lack them. The cost of retrofitting sidewalks (constructing them after development of the property occurs) is at a minimum $250 -$350 per linear foot. This cost covers land acquisition, design, grading, construction, stormwater drainage, utility relocation, and related costs. The cost of addressing all sidewalks identified on the City’s current priority list is approximately $150 Million. The cost to provide sidewalks on both sides of all streets in the City currently lacking them is at least $3 Billion. So no, the City cannot build sidewalks in all neighborhoods. The City is taking a pragmatic approach to sidewalk construction: budgeting more money for sidewalk construction and maintenance; beginning the development of a pedestrian priority plan that will identify and rank sidewalk needs so that future funding can be allocated to the greatest identified need; and drafting an ordinance that would require sidewalk construction when new development and major redevelopment occurs in the City.I will provide a couple examples of combined smart/sustainable development as in my opinion they are the same thing. The first example is the redevelopment of a vacant building at the corner of Sevierville Pike and Lancaster Drive to house a restaurant. An abandoned existing structure was repurposed for a use that serves the neighborhood and the broader community. The parking area is constructed of previous pavers and the site is well landscaped. The redevelopment of this property in a smart/sustainable manner will enable the building to be used for other purposes in the future should the current business relocate, close, or vacate the property for some other reason. Due to this thoughtful redevelopment, rather than a vacant building that detracts from the neighborhood there is a viable business at this location that serves and strengthens the neighborhood.Another example of smart/sustainable development is the redevelopment of the vacant building on Sevier Avenue that now houses Alliance Brewing and Three Bears Coffee. The redevelopment incorporated many sustainable features that will reduce its environmental footprint, from lighting to pavement materials. Once again, rather than a vacant building that detracts from the neighborhood this location now houses thriving businesses that serve and enhance the neighborhood.An example of a redevelopment made challenging by the current zoning ordinance, and thus difficult to reach the neighborhood’s full potential, is provided by the property at the corner of Broadway and East Glenwood Avenue. The City’s current zoning code requires significant parking (40 – 45 parking spaces) for the businesses in this building. Given the size of the property there is no way the current parking requirements could be met. In addition, the setback requirements in the current ordinance for this zoning district (25 feet front and side, 15 feet rear) make the existing building non-conforming. In order to redevelop this property, and assist in the neighborhood reaching its full potential, the owners had to incur the expense and delay of obtaining variances from the zoning requirements. An updated zoning code that acknowledged the character of existing neighborhoods will make it easier to redevelop properties such as this that serve neighborhoods and are easily accessible to neighborhood residents.With regard to neighborhoods reaching their full potential, I will provide a brief list of items that would be characteristics of a neighborhood that reached its full potential. Typical characteristics of a neighborhood that has reached its full potential are:
  • A variety of housing choices, from large single family homes to small apartments;
  • Access to transportation options, from private vehicles to transit to walking and biking;
  • Using vacant and blighted properties to provide amenities that are easily accessible to neighborhood residents. Examples of this include using vacant lots for mini-parks, children’s playgrounds, and/or community gardens.
  • Small commercial areas that are integrated into the neighborhood, of compatible scale, and that respect the neighborhood character.

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

Omitted Rezoning

There is a five-foot buffer strip on the west side of Sherrod Road, south of Mimosa that was left in the R-2 zoning when the eastern portion of the Kerns property was rezoned in 1982. The current zoning map very clearly shows that the R-2 zoning extends to the west side of Sherrod Road. The recode map does not show this. This was done at City Council, July 6, 1982. This was done to prevent increased traffic on Sherrod should access to the Kerns property be allowed from Sherrod Road. Sherrod road is a narrow, winding road that cannot take anymore traffic than that of the residents.
Staff Reply:
Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I will pass this on to our GIS staff so that the map can be corrected. The change will be shown on the next draft of the proposed zoning map, which will be released in mid to late April.

Rezoning Preposal Of The Cottage Neighborhood On The Corner Of Sutherland Ave And Tobler And Flanked On The East And South Sides By The Third Creek Trail

I am very much opposed to the zoning of this neighborhood being reversed from R-1 to R-2. This neighborhood of cottages has been intact as single family dwellings since it was built in the 1940’s. The property was formerly a dairy, and the land was carefully planned to host family homes. The streets were laid out in curves to give an expanded view, the foundations and chimneys where built on site, the windows manufactured in Cookeville, and the rest of the construction was prefabbed up north and brought to the site and put in place.This little neighborhood has been intact as home to families since it was created. Several years ago, when I moved into 3935 Briargate Ave., I found out that the neighborhood was zoned R-2. With help and encouragement from the Historic Association and some members of city council and the Bearden Council, several of us in the neighborhood, formed a neighborhood association to promote unity in the neighborhood, clean up the neighborhood and set about seeing about changing the zoning from R-2 to R-1. After several months of creating interest and good will in the neighborhood and lots of very hard work, we presented our request to City Council and the MPC - the request was voted on twice by and passed unanimously. To go backwards would be detrimental to this historic neighborhood and would set it up to be in jeopardy and undercut the sincerity of purpose to keep it intact. The little neighborhood association that began as seven hopeful neighbors in an open carport on the corner of Tobler and Greenleaf has grown into a full fledged association that meets regularly at the little Baptist church a little ways up Sutherland and has just elected the next roster of officers. This is progress that supports the best of Knoxville, and it would be a mistake to this area and the unity of this neighborhood to reverse the zoning back to R-2.
Staff Reply:
Thank you for your email. The RN-2 designation proposed for your neighborhood is a single family zone which restricts permitted uses to single family dwellings, with duplexes permitted upon approval by the Planning Commission provided certain standards are met. The proposed RN-2 zone is very similar to the existing R-1 zone.

Cross-references And Old Zone Rp-1

To Whom It May Concern:My address is going from RP-1 to RN-1.I don’t see any references to RP-1 in your cross-references.  Can someone elaborate?  So, there is not an Planned Residential any longer?  Or the commercial areas will have their own zone now?  So, there will not be any new commercial development on our RN-1 zoning?  (we hope).
Staff Reply:
Thank you for your email. The Planned Residential (RP) and Planned Commercial (PC) zones in the current zoning ordinance will be replaced by a Planned Development approval process in the proposed zoning ordinance. This approval process is found in section 16.7 of the current draft of the proposed updated zoning ordinance. All permissions, conditions, restrictions, etc approved as part of an existing Planned Residential or Planned Commercial development will still apply to those developments. The development of commercial uses in your RN-1 zoning is unlikely.

3033 Fountain Park Blvd

I am reviewing the proposed zoning of my neighborhood (North Hills) and it looks as though a majority is proposed RN2 and the remainder is RN1. I am trying to understand the difference between the two and also understand why a small portion of North Hills is proposed to be zoned differently as RN1? Why is the whole neighborhood not treated the same? I own several homes in the neighborhood and 2 would be in the proposed RN1 and the other in RN2- right across the street. Looks as though the RN1 will be more restrictive with low density and RN2 will be low to medium. I have a garage at my home. If i decided to add an apt to the current structure would i be able to do that in RN1? Seems I would in RN2? I also have and extra lot next to one of the homes i own in proposed RN1. Would it be able to be developed in either zone? Seems setbacks would be similar. Im not looking at developing the lot but trying to understand the differences.
Staff Reply:
Thank you for your email regarding the update of the City of Knoxville's zoning ordinance. The RN-1 and RN-2 districts are very similar, with both being single family residential districts. The most significant difference in the two districts are the dimensional standards, with the RN-1 district having a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet and the RN-2 district having a minimum lot size of 5,000 square feet. Looking quickly at the proposed zoning map, it appears the RN-2 mapping is in an area of North Hills where the size of some lots is less than 10,0000 square feet. Garage apartments (accessory dwelling units) are permitted n both the RN-1 and RN-2 districts provided the standards for the accessory dwellings are met. Lots can be developed with a permitted use (dwelling, etc) provided the lot size and setback standards are met.

Article 4.1 Purpose Statements

At the end of every Residential Neighborhood Purpose Statement is the sentence: Limited nonresidential uses that are compatible with the character of the district may also be permitted. I can not find anywhere in this draft where the elements that make up the "character" of the district are defined nor the weight that would be applied to each of those elements when/if a permit for a nonresidential use is applied for. Such a broad statement with no definition is exactly what citizens fear and have been accustomed to as uses that do not appear to be compatible encroach into residential and non-residential zoning districts alike. Character, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. If you are unable to define it, you are not afforded the luxury of making up the rules as you go along!
Staff Reply:
Thank you for taking the time to review the draft ordinance! The character of each district is defined in multiple ways within the ordinance:
  • The purpose statement for each district, which identifies the intent of the regulations, and outlines a general character for each of the districts through descriptive language like “exhibiting a predominantdevelopment pattern of single-family homes on relatively large lots and with generous setbacks,”(RN-1) or “comprising a heterogeneous mix of single-family, two-family, townhouse, and multi-family dwellings.” (RN-5)
  • The dimensional standards for each district, which establish the physical parameters for development in the districts, and as such are probably the most explicit means of defining the character of each district.
  • Design standards (where applicable), for the EN district, or for pocket neighborhoods in the RN-4 add further detail to the character of those districts.
  • Site Development Standards, Use Standards, Landscape, etc. All work together to further define character â€" through lighting standards that vary based on location and district, to accessory structure regulations that acknowledge the physical size of lots, use standards with varying applicability by district and lot size, etc.
Finally, when we’re talking about nonresidential uses that are compatible with the character of these districts, the things permitted as compatible are uses like parks, community centers, daycare homes, etc. If there’s anything that potentially has greater impacts, they have been made special uses, which would necessitate review to ensure that they meet the approval standards for a special use. The allowable uses for each district can be found in this section. If you have any further questions or comments please let us know.

Recoding Questions

My wife and I have been on a scavenger hunt for information for the last year since relocating to Knoxville from Boston, hoping to bring our brand to join the thriving art community in The Old City. Today we finally gained clarity on how our business would fit into the current zones of the City of Knoxville. We hope to support local artists through consistent art shows and artist retail branding as well as volunteer for events and give back to the flourishing artisan community through outlets such as fund raising and scholarships. Unfortunately, the most profitable source of income through our business model is high quality tattooing and tattoo studio management, mainly from the high income/low overhead cash flow associated with our proven model. We learned to our surprise today that tattooing (C3) is scarcely mapped in the Downtown/Old City, which we found unusual in comparison to the locations of our other tattoo studios as well as inconsistent with the development of other US cities we have worked and networked in. We are reaching out to multiple organizations and connections such as realty groups and local businesses in search of our next step in growing and giving to our community. Can you offer us any advice or contacts that could lead to information that would assist us in changing the current ordinance of the Central Business District to include Art Galleries that offer tattooing? We look forward to planting our roots in Downtown Knoxville where we plan to stay and raise our son and give back to our community.
Staff Reply:
Tattoo studios are included in the Body Modification Establishment use (See Article 4, Section 2.3 Definitions). The Use Matrix (See Chapter 9 of the draft ordinance) outlines in which districts the that use is permitted by right or by special use.

Rezoning Areas

what areas are being rezoned
Staff Reply:
Pelase check this website to identify the current zoning of property and the proposed designation. Please note that all zoning district designations will change but the development standards may have minimal changes.

Medical Dental Office

Why did medical/dental office get changed from P to S in C-N?
Staff Reply:
P is for "Permitted use" and S is for "Special use", which is essentially equivalent to the current use on review process. Medical office was changed from permitted to special use in neighborhood commercial because it is currently not allowed at all in the C-1 zone. Some medical offices can be big operations that may not be appropriate for all neighborhood oriented locations.

Impact On Building Codes

Is this project related to City of Knoxville or Knox County building codes?
Staff Reply:
No, the project is a comprehensive update of the City of Knoxville zoning ordinance and it is not related to the building codes, The City of Knoxville Plans Review and Inspections department maintains a list of the international building codes that are in effect in City of Knoxville.

Draft 3/map Draft 2 Comments Deadline

I hope that you will consider extending the deadline for comments on the recent drafts. I have reviewed the ordinances, attended events and contributed comments on the previous drafts, and I find the ReCode work to be very important. I would like to review and comment on the recent draft but I will be traveling from the 20th-30th, leaving little time for me to review and comment, and I will be unable to attend any of the community meetings. I realize this may be a personal issue I will need to work around myself, but I write because I may not be alone in finding the timeline for these comments to be very short. Thank you.
Staff Reply:
MPC staff realize that the time to submit comments in order for revisions to be recommended in the third draft of the ordinance and presented to the Planning Commission at their Nov 8 meeting may be challenging. We also realize that the involvement of the community and your comments are important. While we may not be able to include comments received after October 31 in the first compilation of comments for presentation to the Planning Commission, MPC staff will continue receiving comments and adding them to the list of comments for consideration as revisions to the draft ordinance are made. We anticipate receiving comments, and revising the draft ordinance and map, until the ordinance and map are adopted.

16.2 Nonconforming Use, D. Discontinuation And Abandoment

D. Discontinuation or Abandonment If a nonconforming use is discontinued for a continuous period of six* months**, the nonconforming use terminates automatically. Any subsequent use of such land or structure must comply with all regulations of the zoning district in which the structure or land is located. * strike "six" and insert "18"insert ", and is not actively marketed,"Add definition for "actively marketed" to 2.3 Definitions sections:Property is marketed continuously online through professional multiple listing services (example,, FlexMLS, Knoxville Area Associaton of Realtors Commercial Information Exchange, LoopNet, Costar, Zillow, etc) and/or signage indicating that property is for sale or lease.
Staff Reply:
MPC and City staff will work with our consultants to make the changes noted to the non-conforming use section and the addition of a definition for "actively marketed".

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.


Is there anything in the new planning regarding noise in residential districts? I don't believe current ordinances are adequate.
Staff Reply:
It is typically not within the purview of zoning ordinances to address noise, as this issue is usually handled through a separate noise ordinance. This is the case in Knoxville and you may want to contact City staff and your City Council member to advocate for enhancements to the City's noise ordinance. The draft zoning ordinance does propose a requirement for a landscape buffer between non-residential and residential development, which may help mitigate the impact of noise.

Rezoning In Knoxville

I would like to have more information on the rezoning in Park City in Knoxville and when public meetings will be held.
Staff Reply:
Information on the zoning designations for Park City can be found at this site: You can locate the property you are interested in by address, find the proposed zoning designation, compare the proposed designation to the existing designation, and leave a comment. Three community meetings were held last week, including one at Payne Avenue Baptist Church, and two community meetings are scheduled for this week. A community meeting was held last evening at Overcoming Believers Church and a community meeting will be held this evening at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Additional information about upcoming meetings and about the updating of the City's zoning code can be found at

All C-2 Zonings

We have intentionally applied and been granted re-zonings of a number of properties around the downtown perimeter from C-3 to C-2. The proposed zoning is C-G-3. The reason we had these properties re-zoned was due to no to insufficient parking. These properties need to be zoned DK requiring no parking. Examples are 300 West Fifth Ave. and 3 through 23 Emory Place. Please comment. Thank you,
Staff Reply:
In response to the concerns identified in your email and in conversations with you, we are drafting proposed standards for a Downtown 2 (Downtown "Lite") zone, with standards that would be appropriate for areas immediately adjacent to the downtown core that have developed in an urban fashion with little or no parking, mixed uses, and no setbacks.

Kingston Pike Sequoyah Hills Association

KP-SHA board has adopted the following positions on the ReCode proposals. KP-SHA represents one of the oldest established neighborhoods in Knoxville. We support the maintenance and improvement of the residential qualities of the Kingston Pike-Sequoyah Hills community, including immediately adjacent areas of Knoxville.KP-SHA bylaws mandate cooperating with governmental units and civic organizations to further community interests, maintain the integrity of the Scenic Highway concept, promote appropriate zoning and deed restrictions, and oppose community deterioration and development of multi-family dwellings.The ongoing ReCode initiative offers many positive opportunities for Knoxville's future growth and development. Members of the neighborhood and the KP-SHA Board of Directors are actively participating in the ReCode process. However, some of the changes in ReCode appear to threaten the character of the KPSHA neighborhood and raise concerns that are important to the KPSHA community.The following positions identify these concerns and represent the views of the KP-SHA Board of Directors:- The KP-SHA neighborhood should retain the existing character of the present R1 zoning definition as a low density, single family neighborhood.- The KP-SHA area should be considered for EN (Established Residential Neighborhood) zoning.- The KP-SHA neighborhood should be zoned to exclude the introduction of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).- The KP-SHA neighborhood should be zoned to exclude the introduction of two family dwellings (duplexes), regardless of lot size.- Zoning along the Western Plaza to Northshore corridor should not allow unlimited height buildings.
Staff Reply:
In response to comments regarding the proposed unlimited height in the CG-3 zone, staff will be recommending a maximum height of 120 feet for the CG-3 district and the CG-2 district has a proposed maximum height of 70 feet.Staff is not recommending new EN districts as part of the zoning code update. The neighborhood could ask for this designation following the general code update. In response to such a request, MPC and the City would evaluate the request and the appropriateness of that designation for the neighborhood. Duplexes are permitted through a use on review by the current R-1 zoning of the neighborhood; the change with the proposed zoning would increase the minimum lot size required and add design standards for duplexes. Staff has heard a mix of comments regarding ADU's and this will be an issue on which City Council will have provide direction.


If the zoning for an existing multi apartment house is R-1A, will the new zoning of RN2 prohibit the house from being used as a multi apartment building?
Staff Reply:
If the apartment building were legally established (obtained required zoning and building permit approvals), it can continue to operate, could be maintained, could be sold or leased, etc. It likely could not be expanded - more dwelling units created or additions made to the building.


I attended the informational session at the Chamber on 8/21 and found it helpful in understanding the information. I do have a couple of comments and questions.1. As far as the unlimited height restrictions go, this might be a scary idea to some neighborhood residents, without a further explanation. As I understand it, developers would be subject to review and approvals for the design plans, including height, is that correct? Is there a public component to that review? 2. I like the idea of being able to add additional dwellings on one lot or to build on small lots to assist with infill in the City and help with the housing crunch (this is sort of old-school, isn't it? But it seems it would really work). I think it is important to emphasize that mixed use residential can be added to commercial zones but not the other way around (is that indeed a correct interpretation?).3. Contrary to an opinion I heard expressed at the Chamber meeting, I believe that "walkability" is not just a buzz word but is an extremely important component of making our City livable for all. The idea that people don't want to or need to be able to comfortably walk along a state highway in the City just doesn't make sense to me. The transit routes with the highest ridership travel the main corridors (state routes) and people have to be able to walk to the bus stop and to their destinations when they get off the bus. I have walked the block along Kingston Pike near Shrimp Dock (referenced at the meeting by Mr. Hill) many times and I do not agree with his assessment that this is something people don't want or need to do. They do it every day now and could enjoy it more with "walkability" improvements.4. I did not really understand Mr. Hill's comments about not being able to place an L-shaped strip center on property with parking in the rear and that trash bins, etc. would be visible to people parking in the rear. It seems to me that bringing some imagination to bear on how a shopping center is designed could address many issues. My 2 cents. Thank you for all you do!
Staff Reply:
If response to question 1, the height would be permitted by right and there would be no additional review of plans that would provide for a public component. The proposed unlimited height standard in the CG3 zone is still being discussed.

3812 Boyds Bridge Pike

3812 Boyds Bridge Pike is proposed C-N from C-1. I think you stated that this area should not be a C-1 designation in our last meeting. Which zoning would you deem most appropriate?
Staff Reply:
Given the location of 3812 Boyd's Bridge Pike at the edge of several neighborhoods and that it is accessed primarily by autos, C-G-2 may be a more appropriate designation than C-N. We will look at this zoning option.

Process Of Reaching The Citizens

I have now been to two of your public meetings. Both meetings combined had maybe 90 people. When I talk with my neighbors almost 100% are completely unaware of this radical transformation of the city. Even if they would find out, the complexities of the code changes preclude comprehension for the average citizen. No hard data is presented about the impact of these changes on property values and city services. The presentation team "sells" the concept and obfuscation rules. If they were to spell out explicitly that the "Single Family Residence" will be dead throughout the city after these changes and that all residential properties will be zoned as "duplex," the majority of tax payers would be outraged.
Staff Reply:
First, the R-1 (Low Density Residential) zone currently allows duplexes as a Use on Review. This can be viewed in the City's Code of Ordinances, Appendix B, Section IV, Section 2.1.1. Part C.10. A review of the City's older zoning ordinances shows that the provision for two-family housing units was introduced as an amendment in mid-1960's (Ordinance 3616, September 22, 1964). It should be further noted that the Established Neighborhood districts (EN-1 and EN-2) also permit duplexes as Use on Review, although with a specification that they property be located on a lot with two-street frontages. At present, if a property owner in an R-1, EN-1 or EN-2 zoned area wished to construct a duplex, an application is made to the MPC and a public hearing would be held. The new RN-1 and RN-2 districts propose a continuation of a similar procedure with the issuance of a building permit contingent upon a public hearing being held and approval by the Planning Commission.Second, an examination of MPC records for the period from 1992 to present show only a handful of instances where owners sought to construct duplexes within the R-1 zone. Over that 27-year period, there were a total of 54 applications with 32 ultimately receiving approval. On average, that equates to a little more than 1 duplex a year being approved in R-1 districts. Since 2015, only two applications have been made and both were withdrawn prior to the hearing. For reference, the R-1 district covers over 33,000 parcels in the City and represents about 53% of all residentially-zoned parcels.Third, in zoning districts were duplexes are permitted by right (without the requirement for a public hearing) new construction of this style of housing is slightly more common, but still represents a fraction of the housing stock constructed in the City. These zones include the R-1A and R-2 district where, on average, about 18 duplexes have been constructed annually over the period from 2005 to present.

? Regarding Zoning Ordinance Update

Will the update include any new sections using form based code?
Staff Reply:
Draft 1 incorporates the existing the form cords for South Waterfront and Cumberland Avenue, but does not propose additional form districts.

Recode Knoxville

I do have concerns as to the RN4 coding will play into the H-1 overlay process......not sure what the multi-family /townhouse would look like in relation to our H-1 overlay or is that something that would not pertain to an H-1 Overlay area ??
Staff Reply:
Any proposed multi-family or townhouse projects within the Historic District Zoning Overlay (H-1) would reviewed by the Historic Zoning Commission for compatibility within the streetscape, as are all new construction projects within the district. Depending on the immediately surrounding context, these structures may take on the appearance of existing multi-family buildings, or may have the appearance of a single-family structure.

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.

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.

Project Timeline?

I am interested in the project timeline. I was not able to access it from the web page. I would like to know when the next draft will be available for review, dates / times and locations of upcoming public meetings, and the projected date for the final draft.
Staff Reply:
A timeline is available on the project website. I can be accesssed at

The Recode Of My Newly Built Home

Currently own a newly built, 2015, single family home at 6012 Blossom Rd. Zoned as Low Density residential. New Zoning turns it into Hillside & ridgetop protection. How do I get that changed to Low density residential once again?

Staff Reply:

Your property is currently designated R-1, low density residential, and is proposed to be designated R-1N, single family residential, a low density zone. A portion of your property is within the hillside protection overlay. Existing single family homes and lots of record are exempt from the density and grading limitations of the HP overlay, so your property would not be subject to the HP overlay.

Zoning Code

I own the building at 908 Tyson Street and note the zoning code is CG2. What does that mean? I couldn't find an explanation anywhere for the codes.

Staff Reply:

You can find a description of the commercial districts here: Additional information regarding the updated zoning code can be found in the draft code here:

Small Lots Of Record

Is there no longer a provision for Small Lots of Record in ReCode? If I want to build on a nonconforming lot (i.e. RN-4 with <50' lot width) would I need to seek a variance?

Staff Reply:

Yes. You would need to seek a variance.

Sherrod Rd.

On March 25, 2019 I sent you the following.  I am resending it to make sure that you received it.

Recently I communicated with you about the zoning on the west side of Sherrod Road, north of Mimosa. I need to make some corrections. The east side of Sherrod Road is zoned R-3. The five feet on the west side of should be zoned R-2. I quote from a rezoning ordinance passed by the Knoxville City Council at a meeting on July 6, 1985 entitled &quot;An Ordinance to rezone property of Kern&#39;s Inc from R-2 . . .to I-3, east of Chapman Highway, west side of Sherrod Street . . . - MPC approved I-3 General Industrial District with a 5&#39; buffer strip at eastern portion to property (west of Sherrod St) to be eft in the R-2, General Residential District) (11-3) (5-U-82-RZ).&nbsp;

Below is my original posting on March 6, 2019

There is a five-foot buffer strip on the west side of Sherrod Road, south of Mimosa that was left in the R-2 zoning when the eastern portion of the Kerns property was rezoned in 1982. The current zoning map very clearly shows that the R-2 zoning extends to the west side of Sherrod Road. The recode map does not show this. This was done at City Council, July 6, 1982. This was done to prevent increased traffic on Sherrod should access to the Kerns property be allowed from Sherrod Road. Sherrod road is a narrow, winding road that cannot take anymore traffic than that of the residents.

Staff Reply:

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I will pass this on to our GIS staff so that the map can be corrected. The change will be shown on the next draft of the proposed zoning map, which will be released in mid to late April

Staff Reply:

We received your initial email and continue to research this issue. A couple questions have arisen:

  1. The rezoning you noted was for the I-3 designation for the Kerns property. The property was rezoned to a South Waterfront designation as part of the South Waterfront code adoption approximately 6 years ago. Question: Did the South Waterfront designation (rezoning) maintain the buffer strip of R-2 zoning on the west side of Sherrod Road? We are still researching this question.
  2. It appears that the R-2 buffer strip on the west side of Sherrod Road was provided to prevent industrial traffic generated by uses of the Kerns property from accessing Sherrod Road. Question: Because the R-2 zoning permits multi-family development, can the proposed multi-family development planned for the Kerns property be prohibited from accessing Sherrod Road? Our research indicates that access to Sherrod Road for the proposed multi-family development cannot be prohibited as it is a permitted use in the R-2 zone.


Dear Knoxville Planners,

Several people have asked me about RV issues in the proposed changes.  If you have a pop-up camper or other vehicle that fits the RV definition, could you still park it in your personal driveway under the proposed changes?  The people who have asked me (two different households) currently park their RVs in their driveways and have steeply sloped yards that would preclude them from parking them any other place.  

They say that the proposed changes are a solution looking for a problem, that if their RV is not bothering anyone, why should it be prohibited? A screen is pricey, etc.  

Can you help me understand this issue better?

Staff Reply:

We have received a number of comments about the proposed standards for parking of recreational vehicles in residential areas. The standards were drafted by the consultants, likely based on their experiences with other communities. I do know if RV parking is a concern in the City and will ask Peter to chime in on that question. If RV parking is not a problem, staff can propose a revision to the standards to make parking of RV's, boats, etc in residential areas easier.

Definitioins Question About Legend

where can I read exactly what all the different designations on the map legend mean? For example, R-2, infill housing, R-5, ridgetop, historic overlay , etc…

Staff Reply:

There is a residential comparison chart and a commercial, office and industrial comparison chart that may help. Also definitions are found in section 2 of the draft code.

Will Taxes Go Up?

We are at 8701 Unicorn Dr. Right now we are zoned commercial. The current proposal has us going to mixed use. Will that make the taxes for this property go up?

Staff Reply:

The tax assessment of a property is determined by the use rather than the zoning. The expanded zoning designation should have no impact on your taxes.

3817 Kincaid

This is a one BR duplex I own . How will recode affest it

Staff Reply:

The property at 3817 Kincaid is proposed for Office zoning by the draft map. Duplexes are a permitted use in the Office district. You could also convert the residential use to office use if you so choose.

Recode Draft 4 And Sw

Hello everyone, I've only had time to do a quick review of the SW portion only because of the holidays, but I want to thank all involved for addressing my previous concerns.  Right now I'm only seeing two thing that give me heartburn. We seem to have lost the 70' river buffer again (not in draft 2, in draft 3, not in draft 4) unless you've moved it and I can't find it. The parking maximum for SW2-SW4 has been changed from 2/1000 sq. ft. (in the original code) to 3/1000 sq. ft.  I consider this a major change, which we were promised wouldn't happen. Thanks for all your hard work on this effort.  It's been needed for a long time.

Staff Reply:

The most recent draft from the recode website on page 7-12, Table 7-3: 'SW Subdistricts Dimensional Standards' has the building line of 70' from normal pool.

Statement Under Every Residential Neighborhood Districts

What is the definition of this statement: "Limited nonresidential uses that are compatible with the character of the district may also be permitted.". This is under every single residential neighborhood district listed. Is this how the City is going to get around the roll-out of 5G small cell antennas in all the neighborhoods. Is it a coincidence that the City has decided to recode all of Knoxville right at the same time that 5G is being deployed?

5G will require the buildout of literally hundreds of thousands of new wireless antennas in neighborhoods, cities and towns. A cellular small cell or other transmitter will be placed every two to ten homes according to estimates. The purpose of this massive infrastructure build out of small cells, distributed antennae systems and microcells is to increase range and capacity in populated urban areas and prepare for the future 5G rollout. 5G frequencies will utilize higher frequencies that do not travel as far as the lower frequencies.
US state and federal governments are moving forth regulations which would make the right of way in front of homes as available sites for 5G transmitters - without consent of the property owners. In response, communities are protesting en mass as they do not want these transmitters built in front of their homes and communities want to be able to regulate the placement on right of ways.  Some municipalities are taking the case to the courts with litigation.
5G will utilize multiple frequencies from those currently in use for cell phones and wireless to higher millimeter frequencies.
Today's cellular and Wi-Fi networks rely on microwaves - a type of electromagnetic radiation utilizing frequencies up to 6 gigahertz (GHz) in order to wirelessly transmit voice or data. However, 5G applications will require unlocking of new spectrum bands in higher frequency ranges above 6 GHz to 100 GHz and beyond, utilizing submillimeter and millimeter waves - to allow ultra-high rates of data to be transmitted in the same amount of time as compared with previous deployments of microwave radiation. Each carrier will use a different set of frequencies.  
This will be worse than living next to a cell phone tower!

Staff Reply:

The limited non-residential uses permitted in residential districts include kindergartens, schools, and places of worship. The standards for wireless telecommunications facilities are found in section 9.3.FF and are those adopted by City Council approximately one year ago.

Hillside Protection

I notice that a portion of my property, that includes about half of my house, falls within an area designated HP. I can't find any definitive resource regarding HP online, except references back to 2008-2011. I'm interested in what restrictions the HP designation will place, both on me as an established homeowner and on the newly developed apartment complex abutting my property. Can you point to a resource so we may understand what's about to happen to us?

Staff Reply:

The hillside protection standards would place density and land disturbance limitations on new development located on properties within the HP overlay (properties with grades in excess of 15%). The greater the grade of the property, the greater the limitations on density and land disturbance. The hillside protection standards would not apply to existing single family homes and existing lots of record, so your home would be exempt. As a developed project, the apartment complex abutting your property would not be subject to any limitations either. If the apartment complex proposed expansion (new buildings), the hillside protection standards might limit density (# of dwelling units) and land disturbance.

605 Yarnell Avenue

I have looked at the City's master plan of the South Knoxville Waterfront and specifically at the Bell Tower Walk which is on axis with Atchley. My concern is that with the I-G zoning following the old rail tracks, the Bell Tower Walk will be limited in the future and the residential district above will be disconnected from the pedestrian friendly area below. As a designer myself, and stakeholder in the neighborhood, I think the SW-3 zoning should continue up Atchley Street at least to Yarnell Ave to reinforce the power of that axis and be in place for future development. Regardless of whether Atchley remains predominantly residential or the Bell Tower Walk eventually moves up the hill, having SW-3 would prevent an industrial development from cutting off the neighborhood from the riverfront or the Tower Walk from being visually terminated by industrial buildings. I think this will be especially important once the Rails to Trails path is installed and large groups of people are going to it right at that point. Finally, the river is visible up to Yarnell and there is a clear connection to what is the SW zone, I think the pattern already in the plan that has SW-3 on the North end of Atchley, should continue up the hill. Thank you very much! 

Staff Reply:

Thanks for your email regarding the need to extend the SW-3 designation up Atchley Street to Yarnell Avenue. One of the commitments made in undertaking the updating of the City's zoning code was that neither the text nor the mapping of the form districts would be altered. Having made this commitment, we must honor it. However, Councilmember Stephanie Welch has asked that the South Waterfront code undergo a comprehensive review following the adoption of the updated zoning code. This effort may get underway in early fall. Please keep in touch and get involved in that effort.

Recoding For Knoxville Question

I had a concern about the new recode regulations for Knoxville. I am concerned primarily with the work of artisans. I am wondering if these new zoning regulations would limit the ability of talented artisans from engaging in their art. As you are probably aware the work of artisans not only contributes to society in a major way, it can be a free speech issue as well. I would hate to see artists of meager means who are unable to afford moving to a zone that fits their skills be penalized. I am concerned about segregation of the artist community, which includes some poor and disadvantaged youth of all racial groups. We would not want zoning to keep these young people from obtaining a better life through art, due to zoning concerns. I am wondering if you would consider a special addendum to your zoning regulations to protect the artists in this city from the awful possibilities of segregation and discrimination that could occur in overzealous enforcement of zoning. There was a blacksmith at one time in the Mechanicsville area, who I don't think is currently working. But, I think of all the beautiful things he made, how he contributed to our city with his work as an artist. What if the zone had limited his ability to create such art? His life was improved by the income he was able to make, lets not let his legacy die and lets not limit our young people from becoming all they can be by engaging in those art skills with zoning regulations that limit their engagement in art. 

Staff Reply:

Thanks for your comments regarding providing opportunities for artisans to work in Knoxville and not limiting these opportunities through zoning. The proposed zoning update addresses this issue in two significant ways. The first is by allowing craft industrial, a use designation that would include artisans, in all commercial districts. The space limit for this use is 8,000 square and the designation and use permission are designed to allow opportunities for an artisan or group of artisans to have a space where they could produce and sell a variety of artisan made items. The second is by expanding opportunities for home occupations, which would permit a person to work in their home, provided the impacts of the work do not adversely affect neighbors. There are some limits proposed for home occupations - only one employee, occupy no more than 25% of the home, limited signage. Representatives of neighborhoods have requested that the limitations on home occupations be tightened to reduce potential impacts on neighborhoods. You may want to contact your Council representative to advocate for these provisions that would benefit artisans.

New Policies For Recode Knoxville

Please consider these suggestions for the new codes in Knoxville. Thank you.
Addressing affordable housing/tiny houses
Property owners can put a tiny house on their property if they are going to occupy the house.
This code must exclude/forbid major developments of “trailer parks” or track housing by large developers, that is, limit the number of units per acre.
Affordable housing must be encouraged and maintained.
Developments of over 5 housing units must include one affordable unit per 5 units that is a significant proportion of all developments must be affordable housing. Wording must exclude a developer setting up multiple licenses for developments of 4 units, that is write the code so that the obvious ways around the requirement are addressed. The affordable unit must be within one mile of the other units so as to spread affordable housing through the county and reduce the building of slum developments. The affordable unit must be deeded in such a way that it is owner occupied for a long time, 20 years or more, before it can put put on the open market. The affordable unit will only be available to buyers/families who are near the poverty line.

Sidewalks must be required in all new developments/construction and any substantial redevelopment projects.

All new developments must site houses/buildings so that solar collectors can easily be fitted.
Developments must include a certain number of trees per acre, the more the better. See above for solar siting.
All new developments must provide storm water abatement for all impermeable surfaces, roofs, driveways, streets, patio/porches etc.

New developments must offer ground source loops for heatpumps.

Up to 6 female chickens should be allowed as pets. Get rid of the present City code/ordinance regarding chickens and model it on the language used to address pot bellied pigs.

Short term rentals
owner occupied houses must be allowed to do short term rentals that follow common sense noise and nuisance norms. Absentee landlords must be discouraged from short term rentals in residential neighborhoods, that is they cannot own/operate more than 1 in any given neighborhood.

New developments must maintain wildlife corridors.

New developments must set aside right of way for greenways, walking biking trails. Ideally these would be off street and connect to the right of way in adjoining neighborhoods/developments.

Staff Reply:

Thanks for the suggestions; we will consider all that we can. Requiring set aside of affordable housing is prohibited by state legislation (talk to your legislator). Others, such as requiring sidewalks, are addressed by other City policies.


STOP this stupidity! Leave the single family neighborhoods alone! The students/temporary residents have much of the urban area of Knoxville so leave working families alone in the neighborhoods they have made stable, safe, thriving, productive areas! Don't run the people, that have worked hard to make their communities better, out! We purchased in single-family, leave it the freak alone. Transient and multi-family residents usually do not have the same desire to maintain and improve upon and invest in (emotionally and financially) their neighborhoods. The area I am in is the Belle Morris area. We all know this BS wouldn't fly in a more affluent area such as Sequoya Hills and Farragut! So STOP messing with the more urban areas! These urban areas are now the safest, most stable, and valuable in modern history! How can you change the zoning of people's homes?!!. How is that fair and equitable?? They have purchased and invested in single-family areas and it is very unfair to change the nature of their neighborhoods by fundamentally changing the environment by re-zoning it ! I am from the Atlanta area where unbridled growth has ruined many established (safe, solid, stable) neighborhoods. Smart growth and planning is needed but the changes noted in Re-Code are not that. For goodness sakes, LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE! DO NOT RE-ZONE SINGLE FAMILY URBAN AREAS! Knoxville used to be a GREAT and AWESOME place to live. However, our government seems to think bigger, better, faster is better and we all know it isn't. Monkeying around with zoning by changing single family areas to multi family or multi residential will be the death-nail of this area. HOMEOWNERS are the key. The students don't stay, renters usually move on,. Market-square, downtown will slowly die. The revitalization of the Central Corridor will slow and eventually stop. Past is prologue. 20 years ago this area was the pits. Abandoned homes, high crime, etc. It's stabilized and thriving. Crime and traffic will increase and good quality caring residents will flee. Not being smart about growth and fundamentally changing the Knoxville Downtown urban neighborhoods will drive this place into the ground and drive good quality citizens to the nether regions. Stop it!

Staff Reply:

Thank you for your email. The Belle Morris neighborhood is proposed as RN-2 on the draft updated zoning maps. This is a single family residential designation that permits single-family residential development on lots with a minimum size of 5,000 square feet and also permits duplexes as a special use. Review and approval of duplexes by the Planning Commission would be required at a public hearing and neighbors would be notified of the hearing. The proposed zoning is equivalent to the current R-1A zoning of much of the neighborhood. Planning staff worked with the neighborhood association to preserve the single-family designation and to identify locations for small scale multi-family development on Cecil and Brown Avenues near the industrial area. Also, properties currently designated as multi-family and/or on which multi-family development is currently located were designated multi-family. The multi-family designations represent a small portion of the neighborhood. We appreciate the effort expended by the neighborhood association in working with Planning staff to develop the draft zoning map for the Belle Morris neighborhood.

Rezoning Areas

what areas are being rezoned

Staff Reply:

Pelase check this website to identify the current zoning of property and the proposed designation. Please note that all zoning district designations will change but the development standards may have minimal changes.

424 And 428 E Scott Ave

I believe RN-5 is the appropriate zoning for this property - given existing surrounding land use and conditions within proximity. 

Staff Reply:

On the staff draft of the next edition of the proposed zoning map, we have recommended RN-5 for this property. The next draft of the proposed map will be released in late April.

Recode Knoxville

To whom it may concern,
There is a lot about this recode Knoxville that I am unaware of. I would like to gain more insight as to what this entails and how my household will be affected.

Thank you.

Staff Reply:

I encourage to visit the website ( to find information about the effort and to attend the City Council workshop schedule for 5:30 on April 4. The workshop will be about the 85th public/community meeting regarding the project.

Neighborhood Concerns

the old Bob Cawrse land on Rennoc rd and Tillary rd and Crawford is a big concern to the area that we life in. it was multifamily apartments.[ since torn down ] we are afraid of the owner putting in small houses for rental that will further deteriorate the area we live in. is there any protections in place for us homeowners to prevent futher deteration from future unwanted developement

Staff Reply:

I cannot locate the property you are referencing. Most of the property along Rennoc is proposed to be designated RN-2, a single family residential designation. I urge to continue to be involved in the process of updating the City's zoning code and to be involved with your neighborhood organization, as they maybe aware of any future efforts to rezone property in your neighborhood.

No House #

If there is no house # on lot, what does that mean?

Staff Reply:

I am not sure I understand your question. Do you mean there is no number on the lot as shown on the Recode proposed zoning map?

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