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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General Comments

Thank you for taking comments! I have only been able to attend one meeting, and have only quickly reviewed the draft - so I have limited comments to offer...but I appreciate being able to do so. I think mixed use makes sense in many areas, especially when run-down commercially zoned buildings could/would be a viable option for housing - hopefully that doesn't mean traffic jams for neighborhoods or trashy parking/eye sores. It would be nice if green-scaping were required for more of the commercially zoned buildings and multi-unit residential buildings. I love sidewalks, trees, and small businesses. and...this may be more of a side-note, but the abandoned Walmart/Shoe Shoe/Cato strip malls with massive parking lots distress me...they are everywhere, I know, and other businesses try and come in to the space, but it still just leaves a sad crater in the areas where they land. ...that and all the easy money/check into cash joints littering Chapman Highway & Broadway, keeping folks in a debt spiral... can we zone those out of all areas, all towns...everywhere? ! :Thank you for the space to comment!
Staff Reply:

Rn-4 Puts E. Fifth Ave.'s Nrhp At Risk

This comment pertains to E. Fifth Ave. in Park City, which is part of Knoxville's largest national register of historic places. I want to see increased density in this area, but without design guidelines to protect our historic structures, I believe RN-4 is an inappropriate zoning as it leaves the historic homes vulnerable to demolition and inappropriate alterations and the community with little voice for development of empty lots. I would fully support RN-4 if H-1 were also put in place. I would also support H-1 guidelines that provide an easy path for multi-family infill housing.
Staff Reply:

Residential Design Standards

Basic residential design standards for single family homes were included in Drafts 1 and 2, but deleted in Draft 3 without explanation. (9-12, J)Design standards insure quality construction, protect property values, preserve community character, promote the aesthetics of neighborhoods and enhance quality of life. They attract new residents to the neighborhood. They make people proud to call their house a home. Everyone deserves to be proud of where they live.The following standards should be restored for single family dwellings:p. 9-12J. Two-Family DwellingsThe following do not apply to two-family dwellings where a NC or IH Overlay District is in place.1. On lots less than one acre in lot area, a dwelling must have a primary entrance from a façade facing the street. The front entry must be a dominant feature on the front elevation of a home and an integral part of the structure, using features such as porches, raised steps and stoops, and/or roof overhangs.2. Windows, entrances, porches, or other architectural features are required on all street-facing facades to avoid the appearance of blank walls.3. A 15% minimum transparency requirement applies to all street-facing façades and is calculated on the basis of the entire area of the façade.4. Front-loaded attached garages are limited to 60% of the width of the front building line or 24 feet, whichever is greater. Garage width is measured as the width of a garage door; in the case of garages designed with multiple garage doors, the distance is measured between the edge of the outmost doors.5. Front-loaded attached garages must be set back a minimum of five feet from the front building façade line. This façade building line does not include architectural features, such as bay windows or porches.
Staff Reply:

South Waterfront Form-based Code

Allowed uses in the SW2 in draft 4 do not include commercial. This is contrary to the SW code and would represent a major change. We were told before ReCode began that NO CHANGES would be made to the South Waterfront Form-Based Code. Although the narrative in the SW2 section of the SW code does suggest that acceptable uses include single-family, two-family, townhouse, and multi-family dwellings, in no place does it forbid commercial use. The intent of the South Waterfront Code was to have as much mixed use as possible. SW-1, because of the wishes of the existing neighborhoods, was the only district that was residential only.The South Waterfront parking requirements (page 11-5) represent major changes from the code. The SW code was intended to discourage overbuilt parking areas and so listed parking MAXIMUMS ONLY.Draft 4 adds minimums for the SW district. It increases the maximum in SW3 and SW4 from 2/1000 sq. ft. to 3/1000 sq.ft. The minimums in some of the residential categories in draft 4 are actually HIGHER in the SW table than in the general parking standards. For example, the minimum in the SW district is 2/du for three-bedroom residential but in the general code it is 1.5/du. ReCode needs to keep it's promise and go back to the original code and eliminating parking minimums all together.The original Hillside/Ridgetop Plan specifically excluded the SW district. In ReCode the hillside/ridgetop zoning standards should also apply in the South Waterfront Code. Commercial areas should be included in the hillside/ridgetop standards but I don't see that in draft 4. I know developers are pushing back on this, but it's something that is really important and needs to be included.
Staff Reply:

Commercial Areas

I suggest that all new commercial buildings be required to be LEED Silver certified in order to be constructed. This requirement would follow other major cities in creating green standards that other cities will soon emulate. I would also encourage amending section 10.3 K to encourage/mandate the use of renewable energy in supplying power to electric vehicle charging stations.
Staff Reply:

Recode Koxville Comments

Interior Landscaping of Parking LotsThe current parking ordinance allows for reduced or no perimeter or interior landscaping for lots smaller than 20,000 sf. All lots larger than 5,000 sf should be required to have some perimeter landscaping. Lots between 10,000 and 20,000 sf should be required to have graduated interior landscaping (smaller and/or fewer islands), depending on size of the lot.Lots larger than 20,000 sf should have a landscaping break every 10 spaces rather than every 15 spaces.Landscape Bond:A two-step LANDSCAPE BOND should be included. The city of Chattanooga successfully employs this process.1. PERFORMANCE BOND: This allows developers six months after issuance of the C O to install landscaping to offset the disadvantage of completing projects in late spring or summer months and to assure reasonable growth conditions.2. MAINTENANCE BOND: This would be applicable during the two-year period following the project's completion and would include a reasonable time period for proper landscape care to assure healthy plant material. The Maintenance Bond is released after two years, contingent on satisfactory inspection by a qualified professional, such as a landscape architect licensed in Tennessee and familiar with the design intent. Without a maintenance bond a lot of landscaping will not be adequately cared for and will die. Two years of proper care will greatly increase the survival of installed landscaping.Since the city operates on a complaint driven system and is chronically short staffed when it comes to enforcement, we don't have a lot of confidence that it will be successful at requiring developers to replace landscaping that has died. It also places an unfair burden on citizens who would be responsible for tracking and reporting landscaping that needs to be replaced. In our experience, this often requires follow-up phone calls and emails by the citizen.Mitigation Fund or Tree BankRecode should include some form of mitigation for the destruction of trees by developers, perhaps along the lines of how TDEC operates its stream and wetlands mitigation program. In the case of tree protection, the ordinance could specify that for each tree destroyed over a particular diameter, X number of trees of 2" caliper have to be planted; or, a value of the destroyed trees could be established and the developer pay the equivalent value into a mitigation bank, with the city using the funds for planting or landscaping projects.Storm Water SystemsGenerally, and specifically as pertains to Chapter 7.G. Storm Water systems should be required to conform to TDEC's MS4 NPDES General Permit for Storm Water Runoff, i.e., developments should retain the first 1" of rain within the site.Hillside ProtectionRecode should include at least a reference to the city-adopted Hillside Protection Plan.
Staff Reply:

Various Aspects Of Recode

LandscapingI would like to wholeheartedly endorse the call by Scenic Knoxville for stricter landscaping standards in the new zoning code. Parking lots are a necessity, but the kind of visual ugliness they introduce into the urban scene can be ameliorated by islands of vegetation and the plantings help to balance out the negative environmental effects of the automobiles parked there. Likewise their recommendation of Performance and Maintenance Bonds is sound, since without such guarantees there is no protection against substandard installation work or neglect of maintenance. Last year Town Hall East secured an agreement with Dollar General that they would install landscaping at their new store of Boyds Bridge Pike. They spent money on installation but do not seem to have expended a penny on upkeep since then, and crabgrass obscures the low growing shrubs. Transparency.I am concerned that issues surrounding notification of neighbors for use on review that have been raised by the Community Forum and League of Women Voters have not been resolved in a way that insures the greatest transparency and a required degree of community participation in reaching a decision.Accessory Dwelling UnitsPlease continue to push for the automatic right to build an Accessory Dwelling Unit as included in Draft 3. Owner occupancy of one of the units would be an acceptable limitation.Thank you for your hard work in this process.
Staff Reply:

Landscape Standards

LANDSCAPING STANDARDSMany great cities have landscaping standards that are much stricter than the ones proposed in Recode. We know from their experiences that these standards are not overly onerous either to carry out or to enforce. Knoxville can and should do this, too. There are numerous environmental, economic, aesthetic and quality of life benefits to enhanced landscaping. We believe the following standards should be included in the new ordinance.Interior Landscaping of Parking LotsThe current parking ordinance allows for reduced or no perimeter or interior landscaping for lots smaller than 20,000 sf. All lots larger than 5,000 sf should be required to have some perimeter landscaping. Lots between 10,000 and 20,000 sf should be required to have graduated interior landscaping (smaller and/or fewer islands), depending on size of the lot.Lots larger than 20,000 sf should have a landscaping break every 10 spaces rather than every 15 spaces.Landscape Bond:In regard to compliance with Landscape Ordinance requirements, based on discussion with those professionally qualified to understand both the value of proper landscaping for any development and the challenge of achieving compliance, a two-step LANDSCAPE BOND should be include. The city of Chattanooga successfully employs this process.1. PERFORMANCE BOND: This allows developers six months after issuance of the C O to install landscaping to offset the disadvantage of completing projects in late spring or summer months and to assure reasonable growth conditions.2. MAINTENANCE BOND: This would be applicable during the two-year period following the project's completion and would include a reasonable time period for proper landscape care to assure healthy plant material. The Maintenance Bond is released after two years, contingent on satisfactory inspection by a qualified professional, such as a landscape architect licensed in Tennessee and familiar with the design intent. Without a maintenance bond a lot of landscaping will not be adequately cared for and will die. Two years of proper care will greatly increase the survival of installed landscaping.Since the city operates on a complaint driven system and is chronically short staffed when it comes to enforcement, we don't have a lot of confidence that it will be successful at requiring developers to replace landscaping that has died. It also places an unfair burden on citizens who would be responsible for tracking and reporting landscaping that needs to be replaced. In our experience, this often requires follow-up phone calls and emails by the citizen.Mitigation Fund or Tree BankRecode should include some form of mitigation for the destruction of trees by developers, perhaps along the lines of how TDEC operates its stream and wetlands mitigation program. In the case of tree protection, the ordinance could specify that for each tree destroyed over a particular diameter, X number of trees of 2" caliper have to be planted; or, a value of the destroyed trees could be established and the developer pay the equivalent value into a mitigation bank, with the city using the funds for planting or landscaping projects.
Staff Reply:

Design Standards

I was disappointed to see that design standards had been removed from the Recode proposal. Most other cities have design standards for single family homes. What was initially proposed is not unduly burdensome and really makes a lot of sense to maintain the beauty and compatible development in our community. Design standards protect existing homeowners as well as new developments. Please consider reinstating design standards for single family homes and other residential zones.Further, I would like to see stricter landscaping standards codified in Recode as endorsed by Scenic Knoxville and other organizations and individuals.
Staff Reply:

Open Space District Definition

Either definition of OS needs to change (Special Purpose Districts section, https://recodeknoxville.com/documents/library/drafts/draft3/chapters/Article%207-Special%20Purpose%20Districts.pdf), or you need to keep the two separate OS2 (park and open space district) and OS1 (open space preservation district) definitions and zones from the existing code.There are multiple cemeteries and historic sites (Sheildstown Cemetery, Temple Beth-El Cemetery, Odd Fellows Cemetery, James White Fort, Fort Dickerson just to name a few examples) that are important for archaeology and anthropology; these and other sites should not be defined as supporting the "passive and active park and recreational needs of the city." Cemeteries and battlefields are not "recreation sites." The new definition in ReCode is a step down in sophistication from the existing OS-1 (OS-1 open space preservation district) definition: "This open space preservation district is established to provide areas in which the principal use of land is devoted to the preservation and protection of recreational and conservation open space." The existing Open Space Preservation District also supports accessory structures, such as caretaker cottages found at Bethel Cemetery.It makes sense to zone cemeteries and other sites important to archaeology and anthropology as OS, but merging the definition of OS-1 with OS-2 to create a new definition of OS that is clearly centered on "recreational needs" is both a mistake and a step backwards for Knoxville.
Staff Reply:

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