What is Advance Knox?
By Mike Steely
Kimley-Horn, a planning and design engineering consulting firm, wrapped up the second phase of county-wide public input sessions last week with an Advance Knox public gathering at Gresham and Cedar Bluff middle schools along with a virtual public event.
The Gresham Middle School presentation drew a few dozen local citizens and Allison Fluitt of Kimley-Horn addressed the gathering with a PowerPoint presentation. She described the Advance Knox effort, suggested by Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, as a study on future land use, transportation and economic equity. She said the results may provide a “blueprint for the county’s future.” The firm teamed up with another company, Planning Next, to conduct the study.
Fluitt said that the county will see 75,000 new residents in the next two decades and the study might reveal where and when it would happen. She said there are three possible scenarios: Outward Bound, Town and Country and On the Road Again. The meeting asked those attending to decide what types of communities are needed to deal with the expected growth.
Attendees were asked to consult with the various experts on hand and to indicate which scenario they preferred.
Several audience members asked Fluitt to address some questions for the entire audience.
One Sequoyah Hills resident said he’s looking for development that would encourage kids to walk to school safely, have affordable housing and preserve a neighborhood’s character.
Fluitt responded the study will “play out different ways throughout the county.”
Another audience member asked why the emphasis of the study is on the county and not the city. Fluitt responded, “We’re focusing on the unincorporated areas.” She said that both Knoxville and Farragut are stakeholders but not included in the study.
When asked why update the county’s 20-year Growth Plan, Fluitt said the plan mostly focused on sector plans. She was also asked about flooding and run-off problems in the county and said the study is including utility partners.
She said the 18-month study will wrap up next spring or summer and then be presented to the county for consideration, first to the planning commission and then to the Knox County Commission.
The Advance Knox study will recommend policies, principles and concepts for future development and preservation. It may produce land-use maps, zoning and area plans and other information. Residents can provide input online through October 31 by taking the survey at advanceknox.org.