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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Taxes

How will the recoding affect taxes? Will they go up, even if we choose not to construct an ADU on our property? Will our current infrastructure be able to handle the increased usage of ADUs in residential neighborhoods? How will this affect property values in neighborhoods? What kind of standards will these ADUs be held to? There are quite a few questions that this website doesn't answer
Staff Reply:

Nonconforming Uses And Structures

First, I would like to say that I am in support of the effort to overhaul the City's zoning ordinance. And, I appreciate the effort that has gone into that process to this point. I appreciate the solicitation of public input on many levels. I think many of the changes being pursued are good. I do think there are some critical issues that are not getting the attention they disserve.The vast majority of the City is already developed and will be "grandfathered" under prior codes, meaning the requirements of the new code will not apply to most current uses and structures in the City, except to the extent the new code requires compliance at some point in the future. I believe that fact is underappreciated by just about everyone involved in this process. I believe the mechanisms by which grandfathered properties will be brought into compliance in the future needs much more discussion and consideration, including the following:1. The triggers in the proposed code for eliminating nonconformity are not clear enough. The concepts of "change of use," "abandonment," creation of a "new nonconformity," and "increase in the degree" of a nonconformity all need much better definition. 2. Almost everyone can agree on a preference for more greenspace, more trails, beautiful landscaping, wider roads, sidewalks everywhere, aesthetically pleasing facades, fewer signs and billboards, larger setbacks, etc. They are all desirable goals. But they have a very substantial cost. Imposing these requirements on properties that are not yet developed might be reasonable - at least those owners understand the costs before they make an investment decision. But, in the case of previously developed property (again, the vast majority of the property in the City is developed), the cost of compliance is being imposed upon them. I have heard no conversation in this process about the potential cost over a period of years of bringing nonconforming properties into compliance with the new code. Surely that cost will be in the billions of dollars. How could decisions like these be made without ever even considering the cost and how that cost should be allocated? I would urge a thorough evaluation of the cost implications, and an open dialogue about how they should be allocated within the community to achieve the desired change.3. Without careful consideration, the requirements of the new code may very well have significant impacts exactly opposite those intended. If the cost of compliance with the new code is excessive, owners of previously developed properties will work hard to avoid triggering those requirements. That will result in worn out properties remaining stagnant longer. The new code should allow owners to make incremental, reasonable, cost effective steps toward compliance. If full compliance is mandated, it will almost certainly result in less properties being improved, and very likely an overall lesser quality of commercial property inventory than would have resulted if the code were not revised.4. Historical patterns of development were very different from those envisioned by the proposed code. In most cases, making fundamental changes in parking, buffer zones, significant increases in landscaping, building setbacks and building orientation will be extremely difficult to change, and in some cases impossible without completely demolishing all of the existing improvements. The new code should explicitly accommodate those and similar realities, while incentivizing incremental movement toward the new requirements.Addressing these issues will require a significant amount of additional time and effort. I believe that failing to address them could be much more costly for our community.
Staff Reply:

Attached Garage Setback In A Rn1 Zone

The section 3. b. below requires front-loaded garages to be setback from the front facade no less than four feet in a RN1 zone. I know of many houses that have garages in front of the front facade. I don't see the need for this requirement. Would the hundreds of houses that don't meet this requirement be grandfathered in the adoption language of the ordinance when adopted?3. Garagesa. Front-loaded attached garages are limited to 40% of the width of the front building line. Garage width is measure between garage doors; in the case of garages designed with multiple garage doors the distance is measure between the edges of the outmost doors.b. Attached garages with front facing garage door openings must be set back from the front façade of the structure no less than four feet.
Staff Reply:

Comments On South Waterfront Portion Of Recode, Version 2

First, thank you all for all the hard work on Recode. Knoxville has needed this for quite a while and I'm delighted to see it finally moving forward.I'm a resident of south Knoxville and a former member of the South Waterfront Advisory Committee who was very involved in the creation of the South Waterfront Vision Plan and Code. For weeks, I've had various people tell me that Recode wasn't going to make major changes to the SW code, so I've really not paid much attention to that section of the proposed new code. However, after reviewing Recode version 2, I'm very concerned to see that there are indeed major changes being proposed including some that violate the entire spirit of what the SW code was intended to accomplish.The creation of the Vision Plan and code included months of work and more meetings than I can count. The community was very engaged in this process. A lot of south Knoxvillians were originally wary of the entire endeavor but by the end of the process had embraced the adoption of the code. They were endorsing an urban (rather than suburban), pedestrian-friendly (rather than car-centric) connected community that provided maximum public access to the river. Most of my concerns about changes relate to these goals.
  • The entire first section on prohibited uses has been deleted. Granted, we wanted a form-based rather than a use-base code, with maximum mixed usage. But we need to keep the few prohibitions listed in this section, such as heavy industrial.
  • The prohibition on gated communities has been deleted. Gated communities are not urban, they are not pedestrian friendly, they don't create a sense of community, they negatively impact connectivity, and depending on where they are located they may diminish access to the river. This prohibition was strongly supported by the south Knoxville community and needs to remain in the code.
  • The entire section on off-street parking has been deleted and replaced with a reference to the general parking section in the Recode document. Unless that section includes a prohibition on parking lots in the front, which I doubt, this prohibition needs to remain in the code. Front parking lots are not urban and they are not pedestrian-friendly. Also, the original code has different parking max/mins for each of the seven SW districts. Deleting all the parking-related code presumably deletes these differing standards as well. We need those in the SW code because since it's form-based, parking min/max requirements can't be determined by use.
  • The provision setting the maximum block size perimeter at 1400 feet has been deleted. This provision was included to prevent superblocks, which are absolutely not what the Vision Plan envisions. Again, superblocks are not urban, they're not pedestrian friendly, they have a negative impact on connectivity, and depending on their location could diminish access to the river. This provison needs to stay in the code.
  • The 70 foot river buffer (measured from the riverbank) has been deleted. This was thoroughly debated before the code was adopted and needs to remain.
  • 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.
  • The SW5 and SW7 front setbacks have been changed. I personally am okay with this change but it's one the community should be aware of.
  • The entire signage section has been deleted. Perhaps most of this is covered adequately in the new sign ordinance which was adopted after the SW code. But again, the community should be aware of this and there should be a point by point comparison to make sure that nothing crucial has been deleted
Finally, I plan to share my comments with my south Knoxville neighbors who may not be aware of what's proposed. I also strongly suggest that a meeting in south Knoxville should be scheduled to go over all the proposed changes to the SW code since these are indeed major changes.Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
Staff Reply:

Recode's Impact On South Waterfront Form-based Code

I am writing you with dismay about how the current 2nd round draft of Recode Knoxville handles the long studied, community-based, community-requested South Waterfront Form-based Code. I participated in the public discussions and feedback as part of the Round 1 of Recode Knoxville. At that time I was told explicitly in a public meeting in regards to a question about the current, existing form-based codes used in Knoxville that there wouldn't be major changes to current form-based codes used in Knoxville, only clean-up on the edges where ideas hadn't solidly been hammered out in the code.The current 2nd round draft of Recode Knoxville does not appear to hold to the statement made at that meeting. I'm concerned to see major changes being proposed, including some that go against the very intent of what the SW code was set-up to accomplish.Form-based code districts should be dealt with individually if any changes are made. That's the very nature of form-based districts. They're customized, specialized and unique. The form-based code for each district is meant to "fit like a glove" to address the particular development opportunities for that district, and has to be handled accordingly at every step. That clearly includes revisions. A board, sweeping update to the entire Code, such as Recode Knoxville, is not the appropriate place to dig into the guts, the thrust of the South Waterfront Form-based Code and muck around.The South Waterfront Form-based Vision Plan and Code included months of work and community involved meetings. The community was engaged in the process and had embraced the adoption of the code at it's completion. The public was endorsing an urban, pedestrian-friendly connected community that provided public access to the river. Below are a few examples of how the 2nd Round of Recode Knoxville glosses over these facts and preverts the intention of the South Waterfront Form-based Code:The prohibited-use section has been deleted. We need to keep the few prohibitions listed in this section, such as heavy industrial. This is critical to a successfully grown community where people want to live and engage.
  • The prohibition on gated communities has been deleted. Gated communities go against the intent of the South Waterfront Form-based Code's goals of an urban, pedestrian friendly, community with a sense of place. Gated communities negatively impact connectivity, and can diminish access to the river. This prohibition was strongly supported by the South Knoxville community and needs to remain in the code.
  • The off-street parking section has been deleted and replaced with a reference to the general parking section in the Recode document. Unless that section includes a prohibition on parking lots in the front, which I doubt, this prohibition needs to remain in the code. Front parking lots are not part of an urban, pedestrian-friendly community. Also, the original code has different parking max/mins for each of the seven SW districts. Deleting all the parking-related code deletes the different parking max/mins for each of the seven South Waterfront districts. We need those in the South Waterfront code because parking min/max requirements can't be determined by use in a form-based code.
  • The provision setting the maximum block size perimeter has been deleted. This provision was included to prevent superblocks, which are not what the South Waterfront code intended to build an urban, pedestrian-friendly community. Superblocks have a negative impact on connectivity, and can diminish access to the river. This provison needs to stay in the code.
  • The 70 foot river buffer has been deleted. This was strongly supported by the community and well-vetted before the code was adopted and needs to remain.
  • The entire streetscapes section has been deleted. If we are treating the South Waterfront streetscapes like all other streetscapes in Knoxville, then the South Waterfront will lose it's opportunity to be a unique district with it's own pull and character to help strengthen and diversify Knoxville. This section need to remain.
Thank you.
Staff Reply:

Recode Knoxville

I have a concern which was identified in the first draft of the RECODE Knoxville that could impact West Hills. The concern is regarding the changing of the zone for the area on Middlebrook where Tennova was to build. The recode Knoxville seems to be a backhanded way to change allowed land usages without input from impacted neighborhoods. Several other concerns with the recode draft include:- Less restrictive Accessary dwelling unit (ADU) requirement in residential neighborhoods.- Zoning changes without specific notice of changes.- Expanded allowable land uses in certain zones.- Increased administrative challenges for impacted citizens and neighborhoods to challenge proposed changes to allowed land use.- A rush to obtain city council approval of the recode to meet an arbitrary project schedule at the sacrifice of resolution of identified issues.I am opposed to the changing of the Zoning of the hospital property from “Office" to "Office Park” for the reasons identified above.
Staff Reply:

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