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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Recode Knoxville

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

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

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

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

Czimmerman@advantagetn.com

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.

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

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.

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.

Rv Parking And "screening"

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

Min Lot Width Prevents New Housing In Rn-4

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

Accessory Dwelling Units

I live in South Knoxville, and I want to voice my robust support for allowing accessory dwelling units on existing properties.
Staff Reply:

Sw1 Removing Edu. Facility From The Last Draft

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

Staff Reply:

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