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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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.

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.

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.

Lot Size Distribution (by Width)

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

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:

Adus And Owner Occupancy

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

Proposed Residential Zoning Changes

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

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:

Good Landscaping And Design Standards For Neighborhoods

People definitely care about good landscaping and design standards where they live. These have been omitted and they are important. A house needs to be seen as a house from the street--windows, porches, other details. Front loaded garages need to be limited to 60% or less. We are a city that wants good design, landscaping, lighting that shows we care. Thank you.
Staff Reply:

Article 12: Landscaping

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

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