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 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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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.
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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!
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South Waterfront Form-based Code

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. We were told before ReCode began that NO CHANGES would be made to the South Waterfront Form-Based Code. 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 South Waterfront 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 South Waterfront parking requirements (page 11-5) 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. 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. ReCode needs to keep it's promise and go back to the original code and eliminating parking minimums all together.The original Hillside/Ridgetop Plan specifically excluded the SW district. In ReCode the hillside/ridgetop zoning standards should also apply in the South Waterfront Code. Commercial areas should 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.
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South Waterfront Districts

SW-1 should still be listed in residential district ??? tableSouth Waterfront districtsPg. 7-37.5SW District std.A.  Subdistricts established1.  SW-1 subdistrict (residential only) please add insert2.  SW-2 subdistrict add (residential only)Pg. 7-5B.  UsesOn 1. C.  the subdistrict SW-1 should not be allowed in SW-1 as educational facilities, preschool/kindergarten is traffic & more cars than allowed as an example for an office during the meeting.Only signage allowed in SW-1 is house address & also in SW-2 no electronic signs are allowed stationary or on vehicles!
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Single Family Dwelling Design Standards And Interior Landscaping Standards For Recode Knoxville

Please re-instate design standards for single family dwellings (on lots of one acre or less) that were recommended in an earlier draft of ReCode. Raising the standards would make a substantial difference in the aesthetics of new neighborhood development. Landscaping requirements for parking lots is another area of concern. It appears that some of the proposed landscaping requirements in ReCode have now been deleted. Please consider how important landscaping is to the appearance of large areas of asphalt! A good example of landscaping done well is the WestTown Mall parking area. Many years ago a local woman with vision, Maria Compere, advocated for the planting of many trees around the perimeter, in the medians, and other areas of the parking lot. Without her determination on this issue, the Mall would not have the beautiful mature trees that it now has - something which has helped to soften and beautify the hard edges of the rectangular-shaped buildings. Please consider the importance of improved landscaping requirements and consider the Landscape Bond provision which would require 2 years of proper care by the developer, once trees and other vegetation are planted. The Bond would insure that plantings would receive adequate care, so they can get established and thrive. Improved ReCode standards is Knoxville's BIG chance to improve the look of our city for a long time to come. Thank you.
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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:

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.
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Roof Design

T 5-2 and T 6.2 (maybe other places?) Roof design in the table eliminates roof surfaces that produce glare. This is not well defined or described. For a low slope roof, we should want, encourage or even require a roofing material with a Solar Reflective Index (SRI) of at least 78 to reduce Urban Heat Gain and increase energy efficiency. To achieve this with a membrane roof, one will need to use a white or possibly tan roof. On low slope roofs we need to allow white. On steep slope roofs > 2:12 we may want to encourage a much lower SRI of at least 29. I suggest removal of the "reflective roof surfaces that produce glare are prohibited."
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Rn3 And Rn4 Designations

Thank you for the very informative meeting last night (11/26), it is apparent that many hours have been spent on this project. I am the VP of Edgewood Park Neighborhood Association (EPNA), and we currently have 7 apartment complexes and 1 condominium complex within our boundaries. In addition to these, there are several duplexes and quads interspersed. My opinion is that EPNA is currently maintaining a neighborhood with a plentiful supply of multi-family homes and I ask that we don't add any more.However, as an Atlanta transplant, I see the value of mixed-use projects along our corridors and I endorse them with your wise oversight. Same goes for the many industrial spaces that are vacant.Thanks for your efforts, I personally understand your struggles.
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Rn-4 Puts E. Fifth Ave.'s Nrhp At Risk

This comment pertains to E. Fifth Ave. in Park City, which is part of Knoxville's largest national register of historic places. I want to see increased density in this area, but without design guidelines to protect our historic structures, I believe RN-4 is an inappropriate zoning as it leaves the historic homes vulnerable to demolition and inappropriate alterations and the community with little voice for development of empty lots. I would fully support RN-4 if H-1 were also put in place. I would also support H-1 guidelines that provide an easy path for multi-family infill housing.
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Rn-2

R-2 “right” should be retained in older, poorer neighborhoods like Vestal, rather than go to RN-2 “special use” by permit, which could require impractical design criteria.
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Residential Design Standards – Single Family

Restore design-standards for single family residential.  These are not overly onerous to comply with or to enforceMany communities require these and more
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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:

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.
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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:

Recode Knoxville

Attached are the comments I (thought) were submitted to Recode Draft 1 but it scrolling through all the public comments I see it didn't take. So I thought, what the heck I'll just submit them again though some are now outdated. Consider it submitted for your reading pleasure. I'm drafting comments on application process which will be submitted by Oct 31st.
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?
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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:

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)
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