By Steve Hunley

On Wednesday afternoon May 1, 2019, Knoxville-Knox County Planning released the long awaited Recode Draft 5. Recode Draft 4 came in at 287 pages. Draft 5 increased that by 48% to 425 pages. Despite the prior commitment of Knoxville City Council in the third city council workshop on Recode to hold another workshop with the public to review Draft 5, the city administration unilaterally decided to hold a Special Called Meeting on May 14 at 3:00 p.m. to vote on Recode Draft 5.  City council will vote on Recode Draft 5 without a workshop for city council members. It is unclear how the city council members are supposed to understand the new 138 pages other than just reading the long document by themselves.

Recode is the complete overhaul of all residential and commercial zoning in the City of Knoxville. It replaces sixty years of zoning with the now 425 page Recode Draft 5. If you do not know what Recode is, you are in the vast majority of the 180,000 people in Knoxville.

On Wednesday morning the WETR Real News 92.3 FM radio program veteran, political commentator and former co-leader of the Tennessee Conservative Union Kelvin Moxley joined long time property developer and real estate expert Victor Jernigan to announce their new radio program IPR, the intersection of politics and real estate which will be on every Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. on WETR 92.3 FM.  Morning host Mr. Henry asked both Moxley and Jernigan how many people in Knoxville knew what Recode is. Moxley said three percent of the people in the city knew about Recode. Jernigan said four percent and no more than five percent. There has been much comment on the way the City of Knoxville chose to notify property owners.

The Knoxville City Council passed unanimously emergency Ordinance O-187-2018 on December 18, 2018. The purpose of that ordinance was to state that the City of Knoxville did not have to notify property owners about Recode. In the second workshop in city council on Recode the council decided they would notify the 50,000 property owners affected even though Knoxville City Council claimed they had no requirement by law to do so. The Recode mailing notice that was sent out to property owners told them to go to and enter their address to pull up a map they could look at. But it did not inform them if their property would be up-zoned or downzoned. If a property is up-zoned the property taxes will go up.

A look at the various drafts of Recode show a steady number of pages until the huge increase with Recode Draft 5. Recode Draft 1 came in at 213 pages. Recode Draft 2 came in at 225 pages. Recode Draft 3 came in at 210 pages. Recode Draft 4 at 287 pages. Recode Draft 5 at 425 pages.

There is no commentary at as to why the final Recode Draft 5 increased so much in the number of pages. There is also no mention that there will be no public or private city council workshop to discuss Recode Draft 5. The City of Knoxville administration has made no comment on why the previously promised workshop on Recode Draft 5 was halted. There was a public notice of the Special Call Meeting on May 14 at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon but only The Knoxville Focus and WETR 92.3 FM informed the public of this special called meeting.

If you have any questions to your elected City Council members you may find their contact information here: