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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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:

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:

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:

Feedback On Recode

Attached is a document with my comments regarding recode.

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.

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.
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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.
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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.  
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Community Forum's Supplemental Response To Recode Draft 3-- November 16, 2018

On October 31, 2018, Community Forum submitted its initial response to Draft 3 of Recode Knoxville. It included Comments on 23 topics. The deadline to submit comments on Draft 3, for consideration for Draft 4, was subsequently extended until November 16, 2018.

Attached, is Community Forum's Supplemental Response to Draft 3, which contains Comments on three additional topics numbered 3.24, 3.25. and 3.26. These topics involve Accessory Structures and Uses, Outdoor Storage of Commercial Vehicles, and Outdoor Storage of Recreational Vehicles.We would be happy to discuss these additional Draft 3 topics, along with any of our previously raised topics, at any time.Sincerely,Larry Silverstein, Chairperson

Staff Reply:

Community Forum -supplement 2, Recode Draft 3-- December 5, 2018

Attached is Supplement 2 to Community Forum's comments on Recode Draft 3

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.
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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
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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:

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).
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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.
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Camper

Will we be able to have our 16 foot camper parked in our driveway? Also, is the land in front of our house going to be developed, it's full of sink holes. One final question, is Rohar Road going to be extended, right now it's a dead end. We like the way our street is now. Thank you for reading my comments.
Staff Reply:
Thanks for your interest in Recode and for your questions. You will still be able to park your camper in your driveway but you may have to screen it with landscaping from the street. The development of the land in front of your house is dependent upon the desires of the property owner. If the owner did desire decide to pursue development of the property, all applicable standards would have to be met. The zoning ordinance does not dictate nor does it propose street extensions. The City Engineering Department may know if there are plans to extend the street.

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.

Bwk Article On Recode Knoxville

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.
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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.
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Adus

Require dedicated parkingMore stringent standards for detached vs. attached ADU’sRestore minimum lot size to 7500 sf for detached ADU’sMaximum number of bedrooms for detached should be 2 bedroomsOwner occupancy of primary dwelling
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Adus

Standards for detached vs attached ADUs should be more stringent.The primary dwelling should be owner-occupied.There should be dedicated parking required for ADUs. Many city streets will not handle additional street parking well. On many narrow residential streets, when cars are parked on both sides of the street, it's not possible for a fire truck to pass through, setting up a dangerous situation. Street parking is also unsightly and more dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians.Minimum lot size for detached ADUs should revert to 7500 sf (or higher) as specified in Draft 1.The maximum number of bedrooms allowed should be 2.It's important to determine if the infrastructure can accommodate an additional dwelling before a permit is issued.
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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.
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Adu

Please consider taking ADU issue off the table & get the basic ordinance passed.  Then re-visit ADU’s later.
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4th & Gill

Please review the concept that there are many multi-family houses in 4th & Gill.  As an example when I search under my address at 1015 Luttrell St. 4 apartment units show which has no been the case since 2005.  Also if you search 1003 Luttrell or 942 Luttrell St. the database shows multiple apartment units which has not been the case since 1990-92 time frame.  In the early 80’s 4th & Gill worked with MPC to change our zoning from R2 to RIA to encourage the development of single family restored properties in the emerging historic district.  We have made tremendous progress since that time.  The proposed change to RN4 puts us back to where we were zoning wise 30 years ago.  RN-2 as originally proposed in earlier drafts is the appropriate zone for the Fourth & Gill historic district.  Place multi-family on the corridors on the edges.
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