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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Zoning

I am a property owner living in fountain city. My wife and I personally love the idea of being able to attach a handicap assessible unit to our garage to help our aging, disabled parents and friend. My father-in-law is getting to point where he can't walk anymore and our close friend is already wheelchair limited. Them living near friends and family is extremely important to all of us. That's why we hope the city council would not only consider but approve of the zoning that would make this possible.
Staff Reply:

Fourth & Gill

Hope you are holding up well under the buzz saw that is Recode. Attached is a scanned copy of the letter I hand delivered to you last week. Please feel free to distribute as desired.
Staff Reply:

Thank You

Hi Recode Team,I am a REALTOR(R) who has been a silent participant in only two of the 67 meetings you have held. But I have interacted with the website weekly and I wanted to reach out and say thank you. You have a hard job and you know very well not everyone will not be pleased, however, when answering questions through the presentation and Q & A tonight, you all did a fantastic job explaining your good intentions for our city.Being a Knoxville native who has lived on small islands and in large cities, came back to my hometown with a different perspective on community growth. I understand what you are doing and have seen what poor planning can do. Our city will definitely benefit and once the vision begins to come to life, I think we'll see a shift in the mindset of those concerned about change. The fact of the matter is that change is here and you are doing a great job preparing our city to be the best it can be! Inner city to the suburbs, you all are going to make a purposeful difference for the future of Knoxville.Thanks again for advocating for all the citizens in Knoxville and embracing public feedback during the process. I am excited to see what is next.
Staff Reply:

Recode Fourh & Gill

Hello. I have lived in Knoxville for 8 years and in the 4th and Gill neighborhood for the last 6. I rent a house currently with my young family, and even though we don't own a house here, I still feel a part of the neighborhood community. I love the small close feeling I get living in this neighborhood, and it is definitely the best part of its charm. It's not just the architecture but the people who live inside it, and make it home. I know that if we recode our neighborhood to have more townhomes etc, we will loose our connectedness to the people we live around. I don't want that. My neighbors don't want that either. I have lived all around in my life, from metropolitan inner city to rural small towns and the suberbs. What we have here in this neighborhood and the surrounding Old North is unique, and should be preserved for future families and individuals. It keeps Knoxville feeling small while it grows, while still being connected to the city. We need more of this, not less. The breakdown of community itself has lead to many problems in cities around our country, and will continue here in Knoxville unless this is stopped. Please do NOT vote to recode our neighborhood!
Staff Reply:

Zoning Concerns

Hello--I'd like to submit my concerns about the lack of multi-family home zoning (R-3 and R-4) in the ReCode Knoxville plan. In their place, almost all proposed residential zoning is single-family. Single-family zoning restrictions are intrinsically linked with redlining, gentrification, greater environmental impact, reduced walkability, reduced access to parks and schools, and inhibition of the commercial centers (like grocers and pharmacists) that make neighborhoods both desirable and accessible. Single-family zoning also reduces the options available to renters, who are a quickly growing demographic across the millennial, Gen X and Gen Z generations. As Knoxville looks for ways to retain the young professionals graduating from the University of Tennessee and other local schools, maintaining access to the kinds of "middle housing" that yopros find desirable (i.e., duplexes or courtyard apartments--not the massive complexes that college students are looking for) will be key in keeping future leaders local. Renting is also a vital option for vulnerable populations such as single moms and refugees, many of whom may not meet the credit score requirements of large housing vendors, or who should have more options besides government projects.In general, it's important for the health of cities and communities to provide the zoning to support "middle housing" market demands. The 1930s zoning code supported this, which is why neighborhoods throughout North Knoxville in particular have Depression-era duplexes and small apartment buildings--all of which are nearly constantly rented, emphasizing their desirability. Doubling the lot size requirements for R-1 and R-2 zoning is acceptable, but the new R-3 and R-4 zones must be more heavily utilized to compensate.While the formatting of these messages doesn't allow me to provide in-line links to the research that supports these claims, I'm happy to provide a bibliography.
Staff Reply:

Public Comments From Business Owner

Hello, I recently attended a meeting and am following up with some comments. My family and I work, live, worship, and attend school in the vicinity of the Magnolia corridor. I have a few suggestions below based on our experience of living life, operating a business, and owning commercial property in the area. I greatly appreciate your consideration of "industrial craft" designations. We looked for a year before finding an affordable building for our business size. In two months we have already added two full time positions and plan to add more within the year. We would be classified as industrial craft and would have been unable to afford (and didn't need) anything in an industrial park. At the same time, our business is in high demand. There are construction projects in Knoxville that cannot find highly skilled workers to meet their demand. Not considering the needs for skilled trade businesses and workers, would be detrimental to Knoxville's economy. The final document should consider how the zoning code affects businesses employing highly skilled workers (especially those with 1-10 employees). I would like to see lot coverage in the downtown neighborhoods increased from 30% to approximately 50%. I believe many existing single family parcels and the historical development pattern more closely resemble a 50% lot coverage. I know a number of people who have been prevented from building accessory structures such as sheds because of the 30% limitation. However, their neighbors have the original shed or carriage house and in combination with their principal structure, the lot coverage is at least 50% if not more. I support allowing accessory dwelling units. The infrastructure for high density is already in place and it should be taken advantage of. I believe parking concerns can be mitigated through limitations. On my street, we have several houses that have only one or two cars with two dwelling units on the lot. We also have a SF house with 7 cars (it has been this way for 10 years). This is an enforcement issue. Lastly, I wonder how the new zoning regulations will affect schools. Funding for urban schools should not be decreased due to "publicly funded sprawl." I hope that this zoning code does not overextend schools that are already at capacity and not supporting schools that are under capacity. I know this is a large, complicated, multifaceted issue, but still it's one to consider.I appreciate the time and effort placed in this process and look forward to the final product in a timely manner.
Staff Reply:

Industrial Zoning - Max Height

Hello,I'd like for MPC to consider increasing the max height for industrially zoned land. As you are aware, all of the industrial land in the City of Knoxville is essentially improved. City's that don't have land for more development are starting to build multi-story industrial facilities. With the rise of e-commerce and same day delivery, there will be an increasing need for more warehouse distribution in the center of the population (vs suburbs or rural). Please read more here: http://product.costar.com/home/news/shared/1569932383.
Staff Reply:

Adu Design - An Architect's Comments

Hello!I am a Knoxville-based Architect who has designed and developed several Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) projects in various cities throughout the country over the past decade. I have the following recommendations for the current draft ordinance in regards to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs):10.3(A)(4) : Increase the maximum height allowable for ADUs. Limiting the maximum height for all detached accessory structures (including ADUs) to 18' will effectively limit all ADUs to a single-story structure, which limits their feasibility on denser, urban lots near downtown, where they are needed most to positively affect housing variety and affordability. One alternative commonly used around the country is simply to limit the height of an ADU to that of the primary structure. This approach maintains the existing scale of residential development within neighborhoods, without limiting the ability to develop 2-story ADUs where they are appropriate and comply with all other development standards.10.3(A)(6) : Align the maximum building coverage for a single accessory structure with the maximum GFA allowed for an ADU.This provision is in practical conflict with several others. For example, on a 12,000sf lot, the maximum gross floor area (GFA) for an ADU would be 1,000sf (per 10.3(B)(7). But if the maximum height for an accessory structure is limited to 18', there is no feasible way to construct a 2-story ADU (see above). So if the maximum building coverage for a single accessory structure on that lot is limited to 750sf, the property Owner would only be able to build a 750sf ADU, missing out on 250sf of buildable area that would have been allowed otherwise.10.3(A)(7) : Allow the footprint of an accessory structure to equal the footprint of the primary structure.The previous ordinance drafts limited the footprint of a single accessory structure to the footprint of the primary structure. Draft 3.0 has reduced that to 75%. The total maximum building coverage on a lot and the maximum GFA of an ADU are already restricted by other provisions. For new development, this actually encourages builders to increase the footprint of primary structures to allow the possibility of maximizing the area of a potential ADU or other accessory structure.10.3(B)(7) : Eliminate the relationship between allowable GFA for an ADU and the GFA of the primary dwelling.Imagine two existing single-story houses adjacent to each other on identical 7,500sf lots. Existing House A = 1,600sf GFA. Existing House B = 1,000sf GFA. Based on the lot size and all other development standards, each Owner should be allowed to build an 800sf ADU. But if the GFA for an ADU is limited to 40% of the GFA of the primary dwelling, the Owner of House B would only be allowed to build a 400sf ADU on their property (which would make the project practically infeasible). If an ADU meets all other development standards, there is no logical reason to limit its size based solely on the size of the primary dwelling.Summary:On a cost-per-square-foot basis, ADUs are expensive to build. The reality is that they are a very niche building type that is not utilized often unless market forces make an area so unaffordable that ADUs present a viable alternative. In the jurisdictions where I have worked professionally, less restrictive design guidelines for ADUs did not result in a huge increase in the number of ADU projects permitted, they simply made ADUs feasible.The draft design guidelines, as written, are restrictive enough to discourage ADU development in downtown Knoxville. I believe that ADUs are a highly effective tool to sustainably increase density and stabilize housing costs as cities grow. I strongly encourage MPC and Camiros to reconsider these restrictions and to work toward creating design guidelines that are more likely to encourage ADU development in downtown Knoxville.
Staff Reply:

Landscaping Standards

Graduated interior landscaping for parking lots between 5,000 & 20,000 sfLandscaped break every 10 spaces (vs 15) for lots greater than 20,000 sfTwo-tier bond process to ensure landscaping survives6-mo. Planting bond2-yr maintenance bond
Staff Reply:

Infill Housing Feasibility

Good Morning,We all know the importance of quality Infill, so I wanted to share some information regarding the role ReCode will play in providing it.This is an attempt to further identify potential issues & outcomes so we can collectively work towards better solutions for Knoxville.First, you'll find illustrations showing the feasibility of different types of Infill that would be allowed in each residential zone.Followed by potential solutions suited for the existing lot sizes we have available.Thanks for your commitment & contributions to this process. Reach out with any questions or feedback.
Staff Reply:

Current Zoning Proposal Violates Tennessee State Law

Good morning -More on PRB-1.  I will direct your attention to Tennessee code 6-54-130 as amended. (a) A municipality, including a city and lesser incorporated area, or a county may not enact or enforce an ordinance that does not comply with the ruling of the federal communications commission in “Amateur Radio Preemption, 101 FCC 2nd 952 (1985)” or a regulation related to amateur radio service adopted under 47 CFR part 97.(b) If a municipality adopts an ordinance involving the placement, screening or height of an amateur antenna based on health, safety, or aesthetic conditions, the ordinance shall:(1) Reasonably accommodate amateur radio communications; and(2) Represent the minimal practicable regulation to accomplish the municipality’s or county’s purpose.The current zoning proposal, as I outlined in my original message of August 10 below is in violation of PRB-1 and Tennessee state law.  
Staff Reply:

Good afternoon - I have read draft 3 of the proposed zoning code regarding proposed sections 10.3 C.1 and 10.3 C.2.I am again bringing the below issue to your attention.As written, and as I have informed you in previous emails referenced below, the zoning proposal as written is in contravention of Tennessee state law regarding the installation and use of amateur radio antennas in residential areas.Local zoning laws must comply with the Federal PRB-1 ruling, per Tennessee state code.  The proposed ordinances, as written, DO NOT COMPLY.  Please review the information below I provided to you in August.  I was told by email "I will be back to you with a reply soon" on August 16.  There has been no reply, and you have made no changes to the proposed regulations. There have been numerous court challenges over the past 30+ years regarding municipalities who have enacted regulations in contravention to PRB-1.  In fact, this is the very reason Tennessee code 6-54-130 exists: to prevent this from happening at the local level.Please have someone educate themselves about this issue.  The easiest path forward for Recode is to look at what other municipalities have done.  Most often they have language in the zoning code that mentions no specifics like heights, aesthetics, etc and says only that amateur radio antenna installations have to conform to PRB-1.
Staff Reply:

Comments On (mostly) The Sw Section Of Recode, Draft 4

First, thanks for addressing my last round of comments on the South Waterfront code section. Almost all of my concerns have been fixed. However, I noticed some changes in draft 4 which caused additional concern.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. 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 Vision Plan (and later the 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 SW parking requirements (page 11-5) are, charitably, messed up, and 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. (Presumably, this would also include SW2 when commercial use is allowed).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. I prefer to see going back to the original code and eliminating parking minimums all together, but if they are going to be included, they certain should not be higher in the SW district than anywhere else.There is no separate dwelling- multi-family classification in the SW table. In the general code, the parking minimum is 0.67/bedroom for developments rented by bedroom. This is omitted from the SW requirements, which is a pretty big omission. Again, I'd be happy to see minimums go away in the SW section, but if they are to stay, this omission must be fixed.The original Hillside/Ridgetop Plan specifically excluded the SW district. I'm assuming that since we're codifying this now, the hillside/ridgetop zoning standards will also apply in the SW. If not, they should.I was under the impression that commercial areas were going to 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.Finally, since I know you mostly only hear things people DON'T like, let me lend my full support for ADUs in all residential neighborhoods.Thanks again for the opportunity to comment.One additional comment. I am not comfortable with moving the streetscapes section of the SW code to an appendix, especially one I'm not yet seeing. What exactly does that mean?One more thing and I'm done: Site plan review should also be required in the SW2 district (section 15.5.C.2a in draft 4).
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:

Letter From Parkridge: Recode

Dear MPC,This letter is sent to you on behalf of the Parkridge Community Organization. Our neighborhood encompasses a large area of East Knoxville, bounded by Magnolia to the South, Hall of Fame to the West, Cherry to the East, and i-40 to the North. At this month's neighborhood meeting, neighbors discussed their concerns regarding the latest Recode draft, specifically the sections proposed as RN-4 and the proposed zoning on Magnolia of CG-2.Everyone in attendance agreed on one matter. We feel strongly that the proposed allowable building heights of 70 feet for the zoning along Magnolia Avenue and small portions of Fifth Ave. are inappropriate. Allowing buildings over the height of 40 feet will directly effect how residents along this corridor enjoy their homes and are able to continue using yard spaces for gardening, recreation, and privacy. CG-1 is a more appropriate zoning. CN appears to be the most appropriate zoning since there are residential buildings and homes along Magnolia Ave. Again, let me say everyone in attendance agreed on this matter.There are varied thoughts and opinions on the proposed zoning change to RN-4, which is in areas that are primarily single family homes with a mix of historic multifamily dwellings and converted duplexes. A few neighbors spoke in favor of the Bring Back the Orange campaign promoting more RN-4 zoning to increase density and affordable housing options. While we all agreed more affordable housing is needed, many residents are concerned that this zoning could actually make our neighborhood less affordable by encouraging real estate developers to take advantage of the neighborhood's proximity to downtown. Those who disagree with the proposal are also concerned about parking, citing the distance they currently have to park from their homes along Fifth Ave. as a problem they face now and the issues that have already arisen because of this. Many who disagree with the proposal of RN-4 stated they would have little issue if the area had a zoning design overlay to protect Knoxville's largest National Register district.Please reconsider the zoning for our neighborhood.Thank you,Lynne RandazzoPresidentParkridge Community Organization
Staff Reply:

Comments On Recode Knoxville Map Draft 2 From Historic Park City In East Knoxville

Certain groups argue Parkridge and other center city neighborhoods should be zoned for higher density use-by-right rather than higher density use-on-review.Because center city neighborhoods are established neighborhoods, what is actually being argued is that Parkridge and other center city neighborhoods should be re-designed from historic, single-family designs to new, multi-family designs.In effect, higher density use-by-right in Park City National Historic District invites demolition of affordable historic workforce housing to build new, more expensive housing.This outcome was in fact predicted by the Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission in 1960, when then-director Joe B. Whitlow told the Knoxville News Sentinel that "[w]hile much of the area will be reserved for continued residential use...the current tendency is to build larger houses on larger lots.... we have many applications for two or three lots to be re-subdivided into one lot," adding, "[a]s a result of Urban Renewal, the city will eventually gain in taxable property."Demolitions and new infill projects of the 1960s slowed as federal funding for urban renewal schemes ended. But private developers have continued the work of clearing and re-building older neighborhoods, one house at a time rather than blocks at a time.Absent prohibitions against demolitions and absent design guidelines that protect older, established neighborhoods, older homes are squeezed and abused until demolition to build new, more profitable projects becomes the most attractive path. This scenario has played out time and again in Nashville and in Knoxville.The board of directors of the Park City Preservation Alliance (PCPA) respectfully requests that MPC avoid placing higher density zoning on established neighborhoods eligible for historic districts. Further, the PCPA encourages the MPC to plan for greater density in areas of Knoxville with access to jobs, healthcare, schools, and other basic services sorely lacking in areas of concentrated poverty in Knoxville's center city neighborhoods.For more, please see the detailed history from the Park City Preservation Alliance linked here: http://www.preserveparkcity.org/2018/11/recode-map-draft-2-recommendations-for.html
Staff Reply:

Hillside Protection Overlay

Can detail be provided on how specifically slope should be calculated for the purpose of determining Hillside Protection requirements?For example, should the slope be calculated from the lowest to the highest point of the lot, regardless of location? Or from the center of the rear lot line to the center of the front lot line? How specifically will this be evaluated and enforced by the city?For reference, I am asking because I am purchasing a vacant lot that falls under the Hillside Protection Overlay, and trying to understand what due diligence needs to be done surrounding this.Thanks for any advice you can give.
Staff Reply:

Draft 3

Can a variance apply to definitions?Table 14.1 Application SubmittalsAdd Infill, Downtown DesignTable 14.2 NoticeVariance - include mailed notice.Administrative Modification- include posting a sign and mailing notice to contiguous property owners. - This provides transparency,- Allows the Zoning Administrator to knowledgeably decide compliance with Section 15.4.E.3. "without substantial detriment to public health, safety, and welfare, and without substantially impairing the intent and purpose of the Zoning Map and this Code." How can there be a decision regarding public welfare without notifying the public?- If there is strong concern by the neighbors, then the application should be forwarded to a hearing body.And remaining Zoning Approvals that should require notice are:- Infill Housing -- Downtown Design - - Site Plan Review (when applicable)-Signs posted for a hearing- should be clearly visible to the adjacent right-of-way and by both directions of traffic. Signs should be posted on each right-of-way. I have a photo of a sign posted directly behind a light pole and of a sign posted amidst similarly sized campaign signs.163.F Extension of Walls for Nonconforming Single-Family and Two-Family DwellingsAllowing a building wall of the principle structure to be extended horizontally or vertically when it encroaches in a minimum setback is unfair to the adjacent neighbor and should require a variance hearing. Such expansion creates a sense of crowding and loss of privacy, denigrating the purpose of light, air and open space inherent in requiring setbacks. It also attacks the purpose and foundation of the variance process as it: 1) fails to establish whether the existing intrusion is legally nonconforming, 2) fails to provide any evaluation standard and public process 3) potentially exacerbates an existing annoyance with no recourse to the impacted party, and 4) does not provide an appeal process. It also contravenes Section 16.3.D Nonconforming Structure.Accessory Dwelling Units- per today's joint MPC/CC work shop discussion there are at least two ways to provide notice alerting second generation owners of property with an ADU: 1) file notice on the property title that the Accessory Dwelling Unit may have specific ownership regulations which need to be checked in the Knoxville Zoning Code and 2) property owners are supposed to declare known encumbrances in a declaration when listing the property.Why are kennels limited to Agricultural Districts? They should also be included in some of the Industrial and possibly commercial zones if they do not directly abut residential.Home Occupation and Day Care- why is limited Day Care not considered a home occupation? Child Care, tutorial lessons, and accountants/taxes are classic home occupations involving visitation. Visits to Home Occupations should be controlled to protect the neighborhoods sense of place. However, garage sales should be limited to avoid a constant "flea marker" commercial use. The restriction of 25% floor area is easily enforced through a simple code check.Cell Towers should not be permitted in Neighborhood Commercial Use as the NC purpose is to serve and blend with residential. And Burlington commercial area should be zoned neighborhood commercial.
Staff Reply:

T 5.1 Applied To Map

C-G-1 should be used in areas near existing residential with the height limit of 40'. We don't want new commercial to be much higher than adjacent residential so use C-G-1 as a transition between residential and C-G-2.
Staff Reply:

Bwk Article On Recode Knoxville

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:

Works For Me

At this time, I have not seen anything Recode-wise that I disagree with. We live in the Dogwood Elementary school area, and I agree with the zoning on the map (I think it was RN-2?). I lived in Atlanta for 9 years, and in my opinion, had Cobb and the surrounding metro counties done this very thing in the 1990s, Atlanta would not be the hellish Mad-Max-esque traffic sprawl wasteland that it is. As cities grow, especially around downtown, density WILL increase. So, why don't we plan for it now, so we won't be scrambling 20 years in the future? I want and need drivability, but I also want less pollution and walkability. I think we can have both.I'm also not scared by fear-mongering good ole boys who keep crowing that Recode is gonna take our cars and prop'ty away! Good grief.Thanks for your time.
Staff Reply:

Comments On (mostly) The Sw Section Of Recode, Draft 4

At a recent public meeting for the ReCode Draft 3 at South Doyle Middle School. I brought up these same specific points about the SW parking requirements and SW2. At that meeting I was told again that SW Code was not supposed to change and that if these problems were in the 3rd Draft, they would be addressed. I provided a written comment card stating the same to make sure there was record of the comments. I've also replied to the comment sections of ReCode website with Rachel's points below. From what Rachel has said and what I've been able to review it doesn't look like these issues have been addressed. Please carefully review the SW Code and it's requirements and include them in their entirety into the final ReCode draft, as was promised at the beginning of the ReCode process.
Staff Reply:

Landscape Plan Requirements- Existing Plant Material

As a landscape architect, I applaud the efforts to revise the code to define and require additional landscaping. I would suggest review and reconsideration of the wording related to documenting existing landscape materials under 12.2, B, 2.: "The location, quantity, size, name, and condition, both botanical and common, of all existing plant materials on-site, indicating plant material to be retained and to be removed."In practice, a surveyor often determines the locations and size of large existing trees and provides their common names. A landscape designer visits the site to determine the condition of existing significant plant material to be removed or included in the landscape design with the knowledge of where grading, structures, utilities and paving might occur. In the strictest interpretation of the requirement above, the landscape plan must reflect every existing plant on site prior to any design work. A typical undeveloped site in eastern Tennessee might contain more than a thousand individual plants and more than one hundred species, many of which are invasive and/or contain insignificant weeds. Similarly, a previously developed site will likely contain numerous 'insignificant' smaller plants and weeds and each would need to be surveyed in order to document their location. Surveyors do not generally recognize all species of shrubs, ground covers and grasses. A landscape architect might suggest relocating a building or revising the grading or paving layout to preserve a tree, but would not likely do so to preserve existing shrubs, ground covers or perennials. A specialized environment like a wetland or prairie might be a different story.If the intent is to document significant trees that are proposed for removal or which might be preserved to contribute to the landscape, I would suggest omitting the word "all" and revising this item to reflect a minimum tree size. Such wording might include; "The location, quantity, size, name, and condition, both botanical and common, of existing trees equal to or greater than 2" in caliper." It should be noted that including "all" plants or individual shrubs and/or other minor plants will require a surveyor and landscape designer to prepare a plan of existing conditions with detail (obtained at a significant cost) that might or might not be relevant to meeting the overall intent of the Landscape sections within the code. Such documentation might add a cost of a few thousand dollars per acre to survey small trees or $15K-$30K to survey trees, shrubs and ground covers depending on the wording and how many data points are required.Please review and discuss the intent of item 12.2, B, 2 and revise the wording of this item accordingly.Thank you for your consideration and all of the work thus far to improve our surroundings.
Staff Reply:

Fences

Article 10.3-J, 2(a): From five feet behind the front building line forward to the front lot line and in the corner side yard, privacy fences and walls are limited to 42 inches. Open fences do not have a limit.Consider increasing from 42" to 48". Most standard "low" fences are 48". Also, masonry coursing works quite well with 48" but not with 42".RELATED:Also, consider revising definition: (Fence - Open. A fence that has, over its entirety, more than 50% of the superficial surface consisting of regularly distributed openings.) The 50% value is representative of wrought iron type fences, but a typical wooden picket fence has 30% of the superficial surface consisting of regularly distributed openings. I think the intent here would be to allow such fences.
Staff Reply:

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