By Steve Hunley, Publisher
Please make time to attend the first Recode zoning change workshop in City Council this upcoming Thursday, February 7 at 5:30 p.m. in the Main Assembly Room of the City-County Building. Your future property rights could depend on your attendance.
Recode Draft 4 was approved by Knoxville-Knox County Planning on January 10. Instead of the normal 30-day review period the Knoxville-Knox County Planning Commission closed comments on Recode and voted to approve it ten days after the Draft 4 release. There have been many public concerns voiced about Knoxville-Knox County Planning not following the rules on the required public review period. There are also many complaints that Draft 4 of Recode was released on December 27 during the Christmas holidays.
Recode began as a goal to tweak, simplify, and update the zoning code of the City of Knoxville. An urban planning consultant, Camiros of Chicago, was hired to assist in this update. Somewhere, somehow an idea came from Knoxville-Knox County Planning to shelve fifty years of Knoxville zoning code and its supporting case law and replace it with what has become a 287-page document known as Recode Knoxville.
No citizen asked for this change. This may have been done without the normal legal notice. No property owner was mailed a MPC rezoning notice. There were no little black MPC signs placed on the 73,000 city properties affected. Most property owners in Knoxville are completely unaware their property rights may change.
Less than one half of 1% of the 180,000 people who live in Knoxville attended Recode workshops over a two and half year period. Only 756 people went to Recode meetings. There are only 603 comments on the Recode website. Almost all of these comments speak to changes that need to be made to Recode and request more time and more public input.
Knoxville neighborhoods are not happy with Recode. It brings mixed use apartments with little to no parking requirements and accessory dwelling units for the suburbs. The idea with accessory dwelling units is that a person could build an apartment in their back yard. Neighborhood covenants do not trump zoning so this could expose every neighborhood to many backyard dwellings.
A big issue to me is that term-limited city council members will vote on Recode just as they are leaving office. These term limited city council members will have only two Recode workshops before they vote. A lot of folks that I have talked to consider this to be unfair to Knoxville property owners.
This is only one of two chances for you to be heard by your elected city council members. Please be sure to make the time to attend and let your voice be heard.