By Mike Steely

On the Parkridge Community Organization’s Facebook page, the group’s president, Jennifer Montgomery, is suggesting that a Tenant Committee be added to the neighborhood group.

Montgomery, who is presiding over different opinions about the proposed Historic Zoning (H-1) for the entire neighborhood, said she’d host the first meeting of tenants and let renters know who are not on Facebook.

The responses from others on the page ranged from “That’s a good idea” and “Great!” to “Could be a good source for renters that are having problems with their slum lords.”

Another respondent replied “That’s a great idea, I’m currently a tenant but in the process of buying from my landlord.”

Montgomery posted that she will “add the committee to the March agenda.”

During the Parkridge meeting recently the idea of shutting down the Facebook discussion was squelched when the majority of dues-paying neighborhood homeowners voted to keep the page and continue to monitor it because of some occasional personal attacks and bad language.

The Parkridge Facebook site is used by residents to share information, tip others off to suspicious people, and even seek ideas. One member recently asked for and got help with a dead battery in their vehicle.

Currently part of Parkridge is on the National Register of Historic Places. Founded in the 1880s the historic East Knoxville neighborhood promotes itself as being “At home with diversity” and the association had asked the Metropolitan Planning Commission to consider extending the local historic designation to the entire community.

Montgomery noted that, beyond the H-1 questions renters have, there may be other concerns a tenant committee could address.

Some of the loudest objections to extending the historic district has come from renters or homeowners in the outlying area and included concerns about the cost and process of repairing homes if the district is extended. Some renters fear that if property values increase because of the historic designation that they will be forced to move. Any exterior repair or addition within a city historic district must be approved by the Historic Zoning Commission after a paid application for repairs, renovations or adding an out building.

During the MPC “Open House” recently at the O’Connor Senior Center residents and homeowners were given additional information about the proposed Historic Zoning.