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!
Staff Reply:

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.
Staff Reply:

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!
Staff Reply:

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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