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:

General Comments

Thank you for taking comments! I have only been able to attend one meeting, and have only quickly reviewed the draft - so I have limited comments to offer...but I appreciate being able to do so. I think mixed use makes sense in many areas, especially when run-down commercially zoned buildings could/would be a viable option for housing - hopefully that doesn't mean traffic jams for neighborhoods or trashy parking/eye sores. It would be nice if green-scaping were required for more of the commercially zoned buildings and multi-unit residential buildings. I love sidewalks, trees, and small businesses. and...this may be more of a side-note, but the abandoned Walmart/Shoe Shoe/Cato strip malls with massive parking lots distress me...they are everywhere, I know, and other businesses try and come in to the space, but it still just leaves a sad crater in the areas where they land. ...that and all the easy money/check into cash joints littering Chapman Highway & Broadway, keeping folks in a debt spiral... can we zone those out of all areas, all towns...everywhere? ! :Thank you for the space to comment!
Staff Reply:

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.
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:

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:

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.
Staff Reply:

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:

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:

Landscape Standards

LANDSCAPING STANDARDSMany great cities have landscaping standards that are much stricter than the ones proposed in Recode. We know from their experiences that these standards are not overly onerous either to carry out or to enforce. Knoxville can and should do this, too. There are numerous environmental, economic, aesthetic and quality of life benefits to enhanced landscaping. We believe the following standards should be included in the new ordinance.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:In regard to compliance with Landscape Ordinance requirements, based on discussion with those professionally qualified to understand both the value of proper landscaping for any development and the challenge of achieving compliance, a two-step LANDSCAPE BOND should be include. 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.
Staff Reply:

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.
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:

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:

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:

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:

Bwk Article On Recode Knoxville

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:

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:

Recode Comments from Oakwood-Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association for Draft 3, Map 2
OLPNA recognizes the need for the updated zoning codes and looks forward to the benefits. We appreciate the reestablishment of the Infill Design Housing Guidelines that impact several inner city historic neighborhoods, including our own.We have concerns regarding several segments of the zoning code which include residential, commercial and industrial parcels.Thank you for your attention to these details,Deborah ThomasPresident, Oakwood-Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association
Staff Reply:

Feedback On Recode

Attached is a document with my comments regarding recode.

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:

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:

Recode - Adu's

I am a resident of West Hills writing to address the current draft of the recode Knoxville.A. I whole heartedly support the efforts to expand mixed use development that allows residential area above ground floor commercial property. I especially appreciate the value that mixed use development can have by bringing residential development to spaces that might otherwise have rolled up and been dead after business hours. Indeed, it was mixed use development that helped to restore the downtown to the thriving area that it is now. If similar mixed use (commercial below/residential above) growth can spread from the downtown, east, west, north and south along major arteries that would, indeed, be in the best interest of all within the city.B. I have great concern regarding the Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU's.) as the code is written currently. I am not completely opposed to the ADU's, but I do feel that they must have requirements that allow protections for neighborhoods and neighbors. My concerns are outlined below.As written, Recode Section 10.3.B would allow an accessory dwelling unit to be built in every residential zone in the city. As is, a home owner could convert a two-car garage to a rental apartment; the main living space of a house into a rental unit, and add a detached ADU to the lot as a third rental. How would the potential lack of off-street parking (resident cars not fitting in the driveway) impact neighborhood traffic or neighborhood safety relating to emergency vehicles travelling through the neighborhood? How would such a change in density impact water/sewer systems? What about houses not on the city sewer system, but rather with leaching fields? Do trailers meet the designation as an ADU? What recourses would neighborhoods and property owners have if such rental situations became nuisances?C. As written the Recode Section 10.3.B provides no protections for neighborhoods with regard to the possible disruptions that might arise based upon the addition of ADU's as rentals to neighborhoods. Observations & Suggestions:1. While the provision of ADU's as proposed does not provide for owner occupancy, the current code for Air B&B's does. It makes no sense that codes for ADU's would not provide the same protections for neighborhoods and homeowners that the codes for Air B&B's do. A cities' code system is a reflection of its values and should be consistent across the policies of all city units.2. ADU's in Knoxville should be allowed only if the home is owner occupied. At the most recent West Hills neighborhood feed back session it was stated by a city recode representative that it assumed that most or all ADU's would naturally fall into this category. If that is indeed anticipated, then codify this as a requirement. An owner-occupied clause provides protections, enabling a neighbor or neighborhood to address a problem situation through the court system if needed.3. City lots with ADU's should provide adequate off-street parking for both the primary residence and ADU occupants. This should not simply be assumed, but written into the city code.4. "Supporters of owner-occupancy, which is also required in Seattle and Washington, D.C., assert that the requirement promotes community stability and property maintenance." Stanford University Study: https://law.stanford.edu/wpcontent/uploads/2018/03/infranca_25_stan._l._poly_rev_53.pdf5. The fact that many cities have placed specific guidelines on ADU's is well documented and easy to research. Examples from 11 cities are listed below. Why isn't Knoxville following their lead?For example:
  • Nashville allows ADUs only where duplexes are permitted.
  • Atlanta allows them only in duplex and multi-family zones with 750 sq. ft. max.
  • Decatur, Georgia, limits ADUs to 300 to 800 sq. ft., and to no more than two occupants.
  • Franklin, Tennessee, limits ADUs to 800 sq. ft., under the same roof as the house, and two occupants, with off-street parking; detached units only on 2+ acre lots with special use permit.
  • Memphis/Shelby County allows only 700 sq. ft. ADUs on lots from 10,000 sq. ft. to 1.5 acres; larger acreage can have bigger ADUs; must supply parking space.
  • Salt Lake City requires an affidavit that home and/or ADU is owner-occupied and prohibits them where there is an existing home occupation or business use.
  • Leadville, CO - ADU are allowed, but if they are as rentals, must rental duration must last at least 30 days.
  • Philadelphia, PA - Allows ADU's limited to 800 square feet, and requires owner occupancy.
  • Santa Cruz, CA - ADUs are allowed in designated residential zones as long as the property owner inhabits either the main house or the ADU.
  • Austin, TX - Allows ADU's. Austin requires two spaces for a detached ADU, in addition to the two spaces required for a primary dwelling.
  • Denver, CO - Allows internal or attached ADUs, as well as detached ADUs, Owner occupancy of either the ADU or the primary dwelling is required.
Staff Reply:

Recode Comments

Some random comments.Suggested editsOn the Use Table, the OS Parks and Open Space zone includes cemeteries, marinas, and golf courses and other private uses that are not necessarily recreational. Not all of these uses are captured in the description in 7-2. I suggest editing the description to include all of these various uses.Funeral Homes and Crematories are now separated on the Use Table, but still lumped together in the Definitions.Map commentsSomeone will probably catch this, but the only zone that allows airports is I-H (which seems appropriate to me), but Island Home Airport is zoned INST on the draft map.Probably a moot point since we have limited regulatory authority over them, but is INST the best zone for the National Guard facility on Sutherland? Because of the outdoor storage of equipment (and maybe indoor storage of munitions), seems to me like an industrial zone might be more appropriate.It seems inappropriate to locate C-N zones adjacent to other commercial zones. This has been cleaned up on Sutherland, but the intersection of Dutch Valley and Bruhin is a patchwork of commercial zones, including C-N. There is a large patch of C-N on Woodland next to C-G-2 and INST. I don't know if there are other places like this.Just My OpinionsMore of the districts that abut the river could allow marinas as special uses. RN-1 (maybe), I-H, AG, O, OP, C-H, and INST should be considered.The Definition of marina can be interpreted to include docks for individual houses (boat docking or storage with no size threshold). If that is the intent, they need to be allowed in RN-1 since they are already plentiful in some R-1areas. If that is not the intent, the definition needs to be tightened up a little to include a minimum size.Can we do something contextual with maximum heights, such as adjacent zone, topography, view shed, shade shed? This might help sell the idea of taller buildings to those who are dubious about the idea.It seems like you should be able to put a multi-story office building in an O zone. Even when used as a transition/buffer adjacent to a residential area, 3 or 4 stories might be appropriate depending on context. The current regs allow 45' non-residential buildings in O zones, so the new 35' requirement is going backwards.I think the 35' height limit is too restrictive in many cases.Townhouses in RN-6 and RN-7 (and maybe RN-4 and RN-5) should be allowed to go to three stories (45'?). Three-story townhouses are common in other cities and seem entirely compatible with a zone that allows 65' multi-family dwellings.Also, consider three-story dwelling-over-business in C-N, depending on context.C-G-1 and C-H-1 have 40' max height. Is that enough for 3 stories, or just enough for an assertive facade or high ceilings?
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:

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:

Landscape 12.1 E

12.1 E Naturalized plants include the sub-category of invasive plants according to USDA and NRCS. We should simply require native plants, period.
Staff Reply:

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."
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:

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:

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.
Staff Reply:

Home Occupation

Regarding Home Occupation and Quick Pick and Retail Goods Establishment:A smart attorney told me years ago that you cannot be restrictive by being permissive.The definition of Home Occupation is: "Any commercial activity carried out for economic gain by a resident, conducted as an accessory use in the resident's dwelling unit.""Retail Goods Establishment" is indeed a use listed in the Use Matrix. So too is "Personal Service Establishment" (beauty shop, tailor) and "Office." Just as, I assume, Recode contemplates "Personal Service Establishments" and "Offices" be allowed to operate as a Home Occupation, I think "Retail Good Establishments" would also be allowed to operate. However, all must operate within the standards for Home Occupation.The list of permitted and prohibited home occupations in the existing ordinance is helpful.I honestly think a quick pick would be allowed under the proposed ordinance.I'm also referencing a letter on a home business operation. Please see the paragraph at the end of page 1: "The actual business of the company---mechanical repair and services---is being done elsewhere, off site. If clients were dropping off equipment at this address, the equipment was being work on in the garage, and then being picked up by a client at the home after repair, that would classify as a business being run at this address. However that is not the case. The multiple inspections by Plans Review have confirmed this..."The last paragraph on page 3 acknowledges "occasional employees", etc.Never mind the fact that "Contractor's office..." is a permitted use in C-3.
Staff Reply:

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.
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:

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
Staff Reply:

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
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:

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?
Staff Reply:

-Areas to be developed or redeveloped as commercial zoning – should be required to develop parking, lighting, landscaping & sidewalks.- With respect to allowing an area to be developed outside it’s current zoning classification – I prefer to allow up zoning – don’t allow down zoning.-Areas to be developed or redeveloped as commercial zoning should have requirements as far as parking, landscaping, sidewalks & lighting.-Why do you need to know our ethnicity?-I would prefer the ability to upzone in densely commercial areas (such as Chapman Hwy) but not down zone (such as from commercial to industrial).
Staff Reply:

I really appreciate the change being proposed for my home/lot section of the neighborhood.  It is, in effect, a ‘down-zoning’ from R-2 to RN-2.  My neighborhood, South Haven, has a lot of variety in housing choices – multi-family to single family which I appreciate.  However, I don’t want all small, relatively affordable, single family houses to disappear, just because the lots are less expensive & may be easier to develop large, multi-family housing on.  Thank you!
Staff Reply:

Waterfront code SW2 isn’t supposed to be only residential. Please review SW vision document & drafts language for consistency.
Staff Reply:

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.
Staff Reply:

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