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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Rv's And Trailers

My comment is in regard to trailers/RV's.The current code, Article V, Section 8 C, states that:"On each lot, a total of two (2) (one (1) from any two (2) of the subsections listed below) of the following vehicles may be parked or stored per household living on the premises, and said trailer, or recreational vehicle, shall not exceed forty-five (45) feet in length or nine (9) feet in width; and further provided that said trailer, or recreational vehicle, shall not be parked or stored for more than forty-eight (48) hours unless it is located behind the front yard building line:1.Recreational vehicle.2.Hauling trailer.3.Boat trailer."In the proposed code 11.12 B"Recreational vehicles must be located within the interior side yard behind the front building line or in the rear yard. If stored in the interior side or rear yard, the recreational vehicle must be located at least ten feet from any lot line and screened from view from any public right-of-way by a solid fence or wall. If the recreational vehicle is screened by an existing structure or landscape so that it is not visible from the public right-of-way, it is considered to meet these requirements. Temporary storage tents and tarps for recreational vehicles are not considered screening and do not meet these requirements."I have a few concerns about the new code:1. There appears to be no limit to the number, or size, of RV permitted, as long as it/they are properly screened from the public ROW. 2. What about trailers that do not meet the Recode definition of a RV? Cargo trailers, utility trailers, equipment trailers, etc.3. Why is parking behind the front building line no longer considered adequate, the new screening requirements seem excessively restrictive?
Staff Reply:

Rv's And Trailers

My comment is in regard to trailersThe current code, Article V, Section 8 C, states that:On each lot, a total of two (2) (one (1) from any two (2) of the subsections listed below) of the following vehicles may be parked or stored per household living on the premises, and said trailer, or recreational vehicle, shall not exceed forty-five (45) feet in length or nine (9) feet in width; and further provided that said trailer, or recreational vehicle, shall not be parked or stored for more than forty-eight (48) hours unless it is located behind the front yard building line:1.Recreational vehicle.2.Hauling trailer.3.Boat trailer.In the proposed code 11.12 Recreational vehicles must be located within the interior side yard behind the front building line or in the rear yard. If stored in the interior side or rear yard, the recreational vehicle must be located at least ten feet from any lot line and screened from view from any public right-of-way by a solid fence or wall. If the recreational vehicle is screened by an existing structure or landscape so that it is not visible from the public right-of-way, it is considered to meet these requirements. Temporary storage tents and tarps for recreational vehicles are not considered screening and do not meet these requirements.I have a few concerns about the new code1. There appears to be no limit to the number, or size, of RV permitted, as long as it/they are properly screened from the public ROW.2. What about trailers that do not meet the Recode definition of a RV? Cargo trailers, utility trailers, equipment trailers, etc.3. Why is parking behind the front building line no longer considered adequate, the new screening requirements seem excessively restrictive?
Staff Reply:

Article 12: Landscaping

Most large to medium cities have stricter landscaping standards than what Recode is proposing. Those standards are not difficult to enforce. Stricter landscape standards will be a benefit to Knoxville economically, environmentally, and socially.Native and Drought Tolerant species should be required, not encouraged. No one does the "encourage" line items. The line has no teeth.All parking lots over 5,000 sf should have perimeter landscaping requirements.Lots of 10,000 sf or greater should have interior landscaped islands.A mitigation fund or tree bank should be required. If existing trees of a certain caliper are destroyed in development, X number of 2" cal. trees need to be planted on site or given to the city for planting.A landscaping bond similar to Chattanooga's should be required.
Staff Reply:

Landscaping Standards

Many 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.Thank you.Scenic Knoxville
Staff Reply:

Recode Draft Oct

Main items that concern us the most in our neighborhood are1. ADUs in ALL residential zones and the sizes of ADUs allowed, as well as the fact that neither home ust be owner occupied. We've been told in meetings with MPC that people for and against ADUs are equally divided, but after talking with many (over 10) large neighborhood groups across the city- I have yet to find one neighborhood group in support of ADUs. Please let us know which neighborhoods like this idea and then let's see what kind of compromise could be reached. We think ADUs destroy the fabric of established neighborhoods, increasing the density and defeats the purpose you are trying to achieve. Homes will be more expensive with a second home on the property and it is doubtful those homes will be rented to the people who you are trying to help. In essence, with property values raised- the people will be forever renters. From our research ADUs tend to work better in walkable neighborhoods with reliable close transit. Neither one of those criteria are met in many of our neighborhoods. Also, by opening it up to ALL residential districts, you have nop idea how many ADUs will be built- we can't write an ordinance on "I don't think that many people will actually build an ADU"- which is what we have heard at at least 2 meetings. Additionally, most cities have quite a few restrictions regarding ADUS, they are limited to certain zones, and especially the largest size (1200 square feet) is a much smaller requirement in other cities.2. Home occupation definition-"any commercial activity carried out for economic gain..." and (10-9 P) the removal of standards and permitted and prohibited uses from existing ordinance.3. Removal and changes in wording in MANY definitions4. We were told that "RN-1 and RN-2 are EXACTLY alike except for lot size" but that isn't accurate. RN-1 for 2-family home -requirement of 15,000 sq ft in lot size and in RN-2 for 2-family home-requirement is 10,000 sq ft. In a lot of neighborhoods homes with 10,000 sq ft are being lumped together with 5,000 sq ft lots. By right, the 10,000 sq ft lot could be subdivided and then a second home plus 2 ADUs could be built and all four homes could be rentals with no requirement for homes to be owner occupied.submitted for Tazewell Pike-Beverly Station Neighborhood (presently R-1 NC-1 overlay)
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:

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:

Support For Adu's And More Multi-family Housing

Knoxville needs more affordable housing! I think there is a myth that multi-family housing units bring down property values (a racist/classist belief to begin with) and the assumption is people in expensive neighborhoods will somehow rise up if an apartment building or a duplex is too close to their fancy house. I live in a fancy neighborhood in the Rocky Hill area and I want other families to be able to afford to live here too and send their kids to our excellent elementary school. I support multi-family units in this area, I support ADU's, I support duplexes built on a single lot, I support allowing developers to use vinyl siding to lower costs. My $300,000 house has vinyl siding on three sides - it looks very nice it would be fine on the whole thing.When a multi-family unit was proposed a 2-3 years ago on Wallace there was backlash and complaints of how terrible the traffic would be. Those units went in and traffic is fine but those units are still outside the price range of most families. We need options.I am a homeowner and I want to live in a city that supports all citizens and provides opportunities for lower income families to have options. Give Knoxville more orange!
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:

Lot Size Distribution (by Width)

In the presentation used at the City Council worksop, the distribution of residential lot sizes by square footage shows that most lots are conforming based on minimum area. Although this is great, it does not tell the entire story of how many lots will be non-conforming. Can you please put together a distribution of lot sizes by width? There are many lots in the inner city that are smaller than the minimum 50' width. Many homes in Beaumont, Mechanicsville, Lonsdale have small lot sizes, and homes that use a very large percentage of the lot width. With the required side setbacks in the draft, we are setting ourselves up to build skinny homes that do not fit the neighborhood, and also result in less incentive to build on smaller lots because. I suggest something that looks at, for currently existing lots, allowing minimum side setbacks of the primary structure in residential areas, to take into account the average of the blackface. Or make setbacks a % of the lot if the width is within 35-50'. Something that will reduce the number of nonconforming lots when taking into account width. These type of lots are in some of the poorest of our neighborhoods and we can't afford to create disincentive to invest in new structures. Not everyone will have the time/money to jump through hoops of BZA to get setbacks waived on small lots.
Staff Reply:

Residential Design Standards

In the first two Recode drafts, minimal design standards for single family homes were included (see p. 9-12, Section 9.3.J). These were inexplicably dropped from the third draft. These standards are not onerous to comply with or to enforce and should be put back into the ordinance. Many cities include design standards in residential neighborhoods, demonstrating that this is feasible.
Staff Reply:

Recode Knoxville

If the zoning changes to allow extra residencies in an existing residence, will there be any oversight on how the rental properties are run?   Ex. If you have Section 8 housing voucher, your proposed space is inspected before signing the lease and biannually after that.  If I am not using a voucher, how will I not be taken advantage of by a terrible landlord who keeps a house in terrible condition, but I can’t afford anything else?
Staff Reply:

Policy On Rvs

I've lived in Knoxville most of my life. I grew up there, my parents live there, and a lot of my family, and I'm a land owner. Together we all own about 50 properties through Knoxville, and we are all adamant RVers.There's no greater way to get out and explore the country in my mind, and some of the best times of my life were travelling with my family throughout the country, which is why it is so painful for me to see so much animosity towards the RVing community.And I get it. A lot of RVs are unmaintained, and sometimes they are used by people whose only other option is to live on the street. It's an aesthetic thing where you don't want a shanty town, but that is changing.Millenials are moving towards tiny houses, tiny houses on wheels, and more and more jobs are becoming remote as we become a more and more digital society.This is especially true in California, where I am typing this right now actually for the weather. People are trending more and more toward a mobile lifestyle, and I have to say, it's quite amazing to be in your 20's travelling the country with a mobile office.So, this is why I'm asking to reduce the prejudice towards RVs in legislation. In my humble opinion, RV laws should be lessened, not tightened, and this will keep Knoxville on the cutting edge, like so many of the improvements that have been made already. There are so many good things in the Recode Knoxville that I'm excited about, which is why it is so devastating to see the laws towards RVs.If certain HOAs want to ban RVs or make them covered, I can understand that, but I ask that you please not make that a city law. In fact, it would be great if more areas and parks were designated to allow RVs and street parking.This will bring in tourism and attract people who are curious about living in Knoxville, but need to see more before they make the move.All in all, I think it will draw a diverse crowd of interesting people that add so much color to the city and the cities I've seen. There are lots of artists, photographers, videographers that I've met who travel the country in an RV or a conversion van who are very friendly and interesting people and generally avoid cities with a less than friendly attitude towards RV/van tourists.But if there must be restrictions, I would propose they be applied to older, not well maintained RV's. For instance maybe have a special permit required for RV's over 15 years old, which is what a lot of RV parks do anyway. There are retro and restored RVs that are older and still look really good. Have sections of public land dedicated for RVers so they don't crowd the streets. Allow RVs on commercial property, so there are more appropriate places for them to go, and maybe, if it's a problem require privacy fencing be built around it.As I said, many of the "trendy" cities are becoming more and more tolerant of a mobile lifestyle, and from what I've seen and experienced, it doesn't seem to have an adverse effect on the city. In fact, on the contrary, it seems to give the city new life kitsch value that has become the signature of Knoxville. In the past day, I've met 3 artists and one content creator "van life-ing", and one worked for a company called "outdoorsy.com" which operates almost as an AirBnb for RVs. The opens up a whole new tourism market that would otherwise be nonexistent, and Knoxville could be a part of that, just as one example of the creativity and diversity RVs/vans bring to the table.So, it is my utmost hope that the new ordinances for RVs will be completely redone if not removed, and I know I'm not the only one.
Staff Reply:

Food Policy Council - Recode Knoxville Comments

I've attached the official comments from the Knoxville-Knox County Food Policy Council regarding ReCode, please let me know if anything needs clarification. Thanks for all your work on this!
Staff Reply:

Adus And Owner Occupancy

I would like to see the matter of an owner-occupancy requirement for ADUs given more discussion, at the very least for EN, RN-1, and RN-2 neighborhoods. Previously we have been told that this is not enforceable, but many other cities do enforce this requirement or at least have it on the books. Not doing so opens up our neighborhoods to opportunistic developers who may or may not care about the impact they have on neighbors. Citizens who chose to make the biggest investment of their lives in the city did not expect their beautiful "single family dwelling" neighborhoods to be potentially doubled (or more) in density by a mere stroke of the pen. In my opinion, this issue alone should be put to a referendum, but I understand this is highly unlikely. I make this appeal here to ask that you please give further thought to allowing the taxpayers a little more control in protecting their investment in this city, both monetary and sentimental.Thank you.
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:

(no Title)

I think it is ridiculous that you would change the rules for boat storage. It is already very hard to find a place to keep your boats and doing this affects lower income people substantially. Leave this up to the HOA's. If they think it is a problem, then let them address it, and RVs. Also, this seems to be a little short sighted when your consider all of the boat manufacturers that are headquartered in and around Knoxville. Seems like we would do everything in our power to support this industry and jobs. Making boat ownership increasingly difficult does not support this industry. I see no problem with the way the laws are now.
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:

I really appreciate the change being proposed for my home/lot section of the neighborhood.  It is, in effect, a ‘down-zoning’ from R-2 to RN-2.  My neighborhood, South Haven, has a lot of variety in housing choices – multi-family to single family which I appreciate.  However, I don’t want all small, relatively affordable, single family houses to disappear, just because the lots are less expensive & may be easier to develop large, multi-family housing on.  Thank you!
Staff Reply:

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.

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.

Rv Parking

I do not believe that a city should be a HOA. Restricting RV parking to the side yard is, I assume, because of how it might look to a neighbor. I can say that a beautiful Winnebago is prettier to me than someone's Hummer or minivan or fancy car. It can't be for obstructing views, because your language indicates that if it's screened then that is just fine. So what I'm hearing is that if you have a ton of money it's okay, but if you are middle class you can't have the same pleasure of going out camping for the weekend. Please rethink this legislation and provide some reasonable opportunity for all to have the ability to welcome rver's to their properties. I'm currently caring for a family member for a month while they recover from surgery. Your 7 day requirement and not allowing me to hookup to public utilities would make it difficult to keep my cats warm and housed in the RV, while caring for my family.
Staff Reply:

Proposed Residential Zoning Changes

I am writing as a long-time resident of the West Hills Community. I have lived in West Hills for more than 50 years. I value the historical and cultural significance of our community and am hoping you will take steps to preserve our zoning.Please don't allow my neighbors to build structures for alternative housing in their back yards. Please don't allow my neighbors to park their motor homes in their driveways.Please don't open us up to greater housing density.West Hills is an important part of the West Knoxville community. We need your help in preserving the continuity of our well-kept neighborhood with its large spacious lots, mature trees and play areas.Thanks for your help!
Staff Reply:

Clairborne St

I am very much against the proposed RN-4 zoning for Claiborne Place that would allow low rise multi family structures. If allowed, these buildings would be out of character for that street as there are mostly bungalows with beautiful architectural features. The only way these multi family structures could be built is to tear these beautiful historic homes. The Edgewood Park Neighborhood is doing a wonderful job of preserving & revitalizing this area, so it would be most helpful if the City would encourage our effort to stand with us to preserve homes/areas like Claiborne Place . If this zoning RN-4 is kept, the incentive would be to tear down these unique houses. My family and neighbors want to do all we can to protect the beautiful structures in this area- these type structures are why our area is so desirable! We need your help to make it RN-1.
Staff Reply:

Recode - Adu's

I am a resident of West Hills writing to address the current draft of the recode Knoxville.A. I whole heartedly support the efforts to expand mixed use development that allows residential area above ground floor commercial property. I especially appreciate the value that mixed use development can have by bringing residential development to spaces that might otherwise have rolled up and been dead after business hours. Indeed, it was mixed use development that helped to restore the downtown to the thriving area that it is now. If similar mixed use (commercial below/residential above) growth can spread from the downtown, east, west, north and south along major arteries that would, indeed, be in the best interest of all within the city.B. I have great concern regarding the Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU's.) as the code is written currently. I am not completely opposed to the ADU's, but I do feel that they must have requirements that allow protections for neighborhoods and neighbors. My concerns are outlined below.As written, Recode Section 10.3.B would allow an accessory dwelling unit to be built in every residential zone in the city. As is, a home owner could convert a two-car garage to a rental apartment; the main living space of a house into a rental unit, and add a detached ADU to the lot as a third rental. How would the potential lack of off-street parking (resident cars not fitting in the driveway) impact neighborhood traffic or neighborhood safety relating to emergency vehicles travelling through the neighborhood? How would such a change in density impact water/sewer systems? What about houses not on the city sewer system, but rather with leaching fields? Do trailers meet the designation as an ADU? What recourses would neighborhoods and property owners have if such rental situations became nuisances?C. As written the Recode Section 10.3.B provides no protections for neighborhoods with regard to the possible disruptions that might arise based upon the addition of ADU's as rentals to neighborhoods. Observations & Suggestions:1. While the provision of ADU's as proposed does not provide for owner occupancy, the current code for Air B&B's does. It makes no sense that codes for ADU's would not provide the same protections for neighborhoods and homeowners that the codes for Air B&B's do. A cities' code system is a reflection of its values and should be consistent across the policies of all city units.2. ADU's in Knoxville should be allowed only if the home is owner occupied. At the most recent West Hills neighborhood feed back session it was stated by a city recode representative that it assumed that most or all ADU's would naturally fall into this category. If that is indeed anticipated, then codify this as a requirement. An owner-occupied clause provides protections, enabling a neighbor or neighborhood to address a problem situation through the court system if needed.3. City lots with ADU's should provide adequate off-street parking for both the primary residence and ADU occupants. This should not simply be assumed, but written into the city code.4. "Supporters of owner-occupancy, which is also required in Seattle and Washington, D.C., assert that the requirement promotes community stability and property maintenance." Stanford University Study: https://law.stanford.edu/wpcontent/uploads/2018/03/infranca_25_stan._l._poly_rev_53.pdf5. The fact that many cities have placed specific guidelines on ADU's is well documented and easy to research. Examples from 11 cities are listed below. Why isn't Knoxville following their lead?For example:
  • Nashville allows ADUs only where duplexes are permitted.
  • Atlanta allows them only in duplex and multi-family zones with 750 sq. ft. max.
  • Decatur, Georgia, limits ADUs to 300 to 800 sq. ft., and to no more than two occupants.
  • Franklin, Tennessee, limits ADUs to 800 sq. ft., under the same roof as the house, and two occupants, with off-street parking; detached units only on 2+ acre lots with special use permit.
  • Memphis/Shelby County allows only 700 sq. ft. ADUs on lots from 10,000 sq. ft. to 1.5 acres; larger acreage can have bigger ADUs; must supply parking space.
  • Salt Lake City requires an affidavit that home and/or ADU is owner-occupied and prohibits them where there is an existing home occupation or business use.
  • Leadville, CO - ADU are allowed, but if they are as rentals, must rental duration must last at least 30 days.
  • Philadelphia, PA - Allows ADU's limited to 800 square feet, and requires owner occupancy.
  • Santa Cruz, CA - ADUs are allowed in designated residential zones as long as the property owner inhabits either the main house or the ADU.
  • Austin, TX - Allows ADU's. Austin requires two spaces for a detached ADU, in addition to the two spaces required for a primary dwelling.
  • Denver, CO - Allows internal or attached ADUs, as well as detached ADUs, Owner occupancy of either the ADU or the primary dwelling is required.
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