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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The Recode Of My Newly Built Home

Currently own a newly built, 2015, single family home at 6012 Blossom Rd. Zoned as Low Density residential. New Zoning turns it into Hillside & ridgetop protection. How do I get that changed to Low density residential once again?

Staff Reply:

Your property is currently designated R-1, low density residential, and is proposed to be designated R-1N, single family residential, a low density zone. A portion of your property is within the hillside protection overlay. Existing single family homes and lots of record are exempt from the density and grading limitations of the HP overlay, so your property would not be subject to the HP overlay.

Zoning Code

I own the building at 908 Tyson Street and note the zoning code is CG2. What does that mean? I couldn't find an explanation anywhere for the codes.

Staff Reply:

You can find a description of the commercial districts here: Additional information regarding the updated zoning code can be found in the draft code here:

Sherrod Rd.

On March 25, 2019 I sent you the following.  I am resending it to make sure that you received it.

Recently I communicated with you about the zoning on the west side of Sherrod Road, north of Mimosa. I need to make some corrections. The east side of Sherrod Road is zoned R-3. The five feet on the west side of should be zoned R-2. I quote from a rezoning ordinance passed by the Knoxville City Council at a meeting on July 6, 1985 entitled "An Ordinance to rezone property of Kern's Inc from R-2 . . .to I-3, east of Chapman Highway, west side of Sherrod Street . . . - MPC approved I-3 General Industrial District with a 5' buffer strip at eastern portion to property (west of Sherrod St) to be eft in the R-2, General Residential District) (11-3) (5-U-82-RZ). 

Below is my original posting on March 6, 2019

There is a five-foot buffer strip on the west side of Sherrod Road, south of Mimosa that was left in the R-2 zoning when the eastern portion of the Kerns property was rezoned in 1982. The current zoning map very clearly shows that the R-2 zoning extends to the west side of Sherrod Road. The recode map does not show this. This was done at City Council, July 6, 1982. This was done to prevent increased traffic on Sherrod should access to the Kerns property be allowed from Sherrod Road. Sherrod road is a narrow, winding road that cannot take anymore traffic than that of the residents.

Staff Reply:

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I will pass this on to our GIS staff so that the map can be corrected. The change will be shown on the next draft of the proposed zoning map, which will be released in mid to late April

Staff Reply:

We received your initial email and continue to research this issue. A couple questions have arisen:

  1. The rezoning you noted was for the I-3 designation for the Kerns property. The property was rezoned to a South Waterfront designation as part of the South Waterfront code adoption approximately 6 years ago. Question: Did the South Waterfront designation (rezoning) maintain the buffer strip of R-2 zoning on the west side of Sherrod Road? We are still researching this question.
  2. It appears that the R-2 buffer strip on the west side of Sherrod Road was provided to prevent industrial traffic generated by uses of the Kerns property from accessing Sherrod Road. Question: Because the R-2 zoning permits multi-family development, can the proposed multi-family development planned for the Kerns property be prohibited from accessing Sherrod Road? Our research indicates that access to Sherrod Road for the proposed multi-family development cannot be prohibited as it is a permitted use in the R-2 zone.

Definitioins Question About Legend

where can I read exactly what all the different designations on the map legend mean? For example, R-2, infill housing, R-5, ridgetop, historic overlay , etc…

Staff Reply:

There is a residential comparison chart and a commercial, office and industrial comparison chart that may help. Also definitions are found in section 2 of the draft code.

Will Taxes Go Up?

We are at 8701 Unicorn Dr. Right now we are zoned commercial. The current proposal has us going to mixed use. Will that make the taxes for this property go up?

Staff Reply:

The tax assessment of a property is determined by the use rather than the zoning. The expanded zoning designation should have no impact on your taxes.

Hillside Protection

I notice that a portion of my property, that includes about half of my house, falls within an area designated HP. I can't find any definitive resource regarding HP online, except references back to 2008-2011. I'm interested in what restrictions the HP designation will place, both on me as an established homeowner and on the newly developed apartment complex abutting my property. Can you point to a resource so we may understand what's about to happen to us?

Staff Reply:

The hillside protection standards would place density and land disturbance limitations on new development located on properties within the HP overlay (properties with grades in excess of 15%). The greater the grade of the property, the greater the limitations on density and land disturbance. The hillside protection standards would not apply to existing single family homes and existing lots of record, so your home would be exempt. As a developed project, the apartment complex abutting your property would not be subject to any limitations either. If the apartment complex proposed expansion (new buildings), the hillside protection standards might limit density (# of dwelling units) and land disturbance.

605 Yarnell Avenue

I have looked at the City's master plan of the South Knoxville Waterfront and specifically at the Bell Tower Walk which is on axis with Atchley. My concern is that with the I-G zoning following the old rail tracks, the Bell Tower Walk will be limited in the future and the residential district above will be disconnected from the pedestrian friendly area below. As a designer myself, and stakeholder in the neighborhood, I think the SW-3 zoning should continue up Atchley Street at least to Yarnell Ave to reinforce the power of that axis and be in place for future development. Regardless of whether Atchley remains predominantly residential or the Bell Tower Walk eventually moves up the hill, having SW-3 would prevent an industrial development from cutting off the neighborhood from the riverfront or the Tower Walk from being visually terminated by industrial buildings. I think this will be especially important once the Rails to Trails path is installed and large groups of people are going to it right at that point. Finally, the river is visible up to Yarnell and there is a clear connection to what is the SW zone, I think the pattern already in the plan that has SW-3 on the North end of Atchley, should continue up the hill. Thank you very much! 

Staff Reply:

Thanks for your email regarding the need to extend the SW-3 designation up Atchley Street to Yarnell Avenue. One of the commitments made in undertaking the updating of the City's zoning code was that neither the text nor the mapping of the form districts would be altered. Having made this commitment, we must honor it. However, Councilmember Stephanie Welch has asked that the South Waterfront code undergo a comprehensive review following the adoption of the updated zoning code. This effort may get underway in early fall. Please keep in touch and get involved in that effort.

424 And 428 E Scott Ave

I believe RN-5 is the appropriate zoning for this property - given existing surrounding land use and conditions within proximity. 

Staff Reply:

On the staff draft of the next edition of the proposed zoning map, we have recommended RN-5 for this property. The next draft of the proposed map will be released in late April.

Recode Knoxville

To whom it may concern,
There is a lot about this recode Knoxville that I am unaware of. I would like to gain more insight as to what this entails and how my household will be affected.

Thank you.

Staff Reply:

I encourage to visit the website ( to find information about the effort and to attend the City Council workshop schedule for 5:30 on April 4. The workshop will be about the 85th public/community meeting regarding the project.

Neighborhood Concerns

the old Bob Cawrse land on Rennoc rd and Tillary rd and Crawford is a big concern to the area that we life in. it was multifamily apartments.[ since torn down ] we are afraid of the owner putting in small houses for rental that will further deteriorate the area we live in. is there any protections in place for us homeowners to prevent futher deteration from future unwanted developement

Staff Reply:

I cannot locate the property you are referencing. Most of the property along Rennoc is proposed to be designated RN-2, a single family residential designation. I urge to continue to be involved in the process of updating the City's zoning code and to be involved with your neighborhood organization, as they maybe aware of any future efforts to rezone property in your neighborhood.

No House #

If there is no house # on lot, what does that mean?

Staff Reply:

I am not sure I understand your question. Do you mean there is no number on the lot as shown on the Recode proposed zoning map?

Sw4 Zoning

As a new condo unit owner in the Southside Waterfront Neighborhood, I would like to express my interest in the Recode Knox project.  Gerald was a speaker today at the TNSA Development Symposium conference.  Very interesting.   With regards to the form-based codes I offer the following basic concerns from an owner's perspective and fellow planner:

  • 1. Form Based Codes - are they clear and predictable for the developer and landowner to understand what is and is not permitted?  Are they easy and flexible to developer while still maintaining basic zoning principles?
  • 2. How will the SW4 zoning district change or will it remain the same?
  • 3. How is homeowner/unit owner parking determined, guest parking, overflow parking on site and on street determined?  I ask because CityView has a parking problem.  The side streets are technically owned by the city and thus not our designated overflow parking areas controlled by HOA.  West Blount Avenue is also crowded.  If the undeveloped parcels on either side are developed then we will really have an issue, especially during football season.  Again, there is no guest parking on site.  When the riverwalk is completed and more used by the public, will there be a parking area or trailhead with parking for the public or will they also use the side streets currently used by CityView?  
  • 4. Sidewalks are fantastic, and we thank you.  However, still a need for at least 2 on site spaces per unit plus guest parking.  
  • Thank you for all that the city is doing to reinvest in South Knox and riverfront areas.  It is becoming more walkable, connected, safer and revitalized - one project at a time.
Staff Reply:
  1. 1. These are good questions and ones we need to evaluate - see below!
  2. 2. Neither of the City's form codes are being changed as part of the Recode effort. They will be incorporated as is. There has been discussion within the community and the City about opening up the SW code to reevaluate it's effectiveness in meeting the community's goals once the City's new zoning ordinance has been adopted. This would require significant public input.
  3. 3. There is public parking at Suttree Landing Park. I am not sure if the parking garage across from the apartments across Henley from you will be available for public parking. I can look into the City's plans for additional parking.
  4. 4. I am sure the issue of parking and the need for more of it in this district will be part of the reevaluation of the SW form code I mentioned.

Re: Recode Knoxville Updates

Don't we have a choice? Why Recode, Knoxville never did enforce the codes.

Staff Reply:

R1 To Rn-1

My property is proposed to move from R1 to RN-1. There are 2 dwellings on my property. Will the second dwelling be grandfathered into the RN-1? Is there anything I need to do to make sure it is grandfathered in? Thanks.
Staff Reply:


When is the next meeting?
Staff Reply:

April 4th Work Session

Attached is a compilation of comments regarding administration and process of the Zoning Code which had been submitted in response to previous drafts. 

Thank you reading this and addressing it during the upcoming work session.

As you may know, I have had a 37-year career as a City Planner and currently live in East Knoxville.

I have participated in the rewriting of two zoning codes and am familiar with policy as well as development review and code enforcement.

Thank you for your time on this matter.

Very best

Sandra Korbelik, AICP

Staff Reply:

Recode Workshop, Regarding Multi-family Zoning & Kta/kat

In preparation for the ReCode workshop this evening, please see the attached PDF signed letter

Staff Reply:

Climate Refugees

You mentioned that rezoning Knoxville is being done with climate refugees in mind. Please explain this statement.
Staff Reply:

Meaning Of Zoning Codes.

The zoning change for my address goes from R-1 to RN-1. I know that R-1 means single family dwelling. What does adding the N do to that meaning? Also, if I wanted to subdivide my .97 acres and put a second dwelling on it, does or will my zoning permit that? I look forward to your response. Have a great weekend.
Staff Reply:

Recode Knoxville

Please! Vote this current Recode proposal DOWN, NO, REJECT!! Thanks
Staff Reply:

My Neighborhood

I received a letter about this, but the instructions to check resining for a specific address do not work. There is no "map feedback" link that I see. I want to know what changes are proposed around me. It would be nice if your instructions matched the choices on the web page or were clearer if I'm missing something. This is what makes people hate government.

Staff Reply:

Duplex Lot Size

Please increase the lot size for duplexes to above 7500 sf. Most of our neighborhoods in the inner city have lot sizes of 50'x150. A duplex is too much building for that lot size and would decrease the chances of existing dwellings to convert to single family housing.
Staff Reply:

Landscaping Standards

ENHANCED LANDSCAPING STANDARDS - Recode KnoxvilleMany 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, health and quality of life benefits to enhanced landscaping. Recent flooding due to heavy rains is a reminder of the importance of preserving green space to absorb rainfall and stormwater runoff. This will become even more critical as the city increases development to accommodate a growing population. We believe the following standards should be included in the new ordinance. They would apply only to new development. None would apply to single family residential development.Interior Landscaping of New Parking LotsThe current parking ordinance allows for reduced or no perimeter or interior landscaping for lots smaller than 20,000 sf. All new 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 order to ensure correct installation and maintenance of landscaping, a two-step Landscape Bond should be required. Other cities successfully employ this process.1. Performance Bond: This allows developers six months after issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy to install landscaping to offset the disadvantage of completing projects in late spring or summer months to maximize 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 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 multiple follow-up phone calls and emails by the citizen.Tree Mitigation BankRecode should include some form of mitigation for the destruction of trees by developers, or when it's not possible to fulfill the required landscape standards. The ordinance could specify that for each tree over a particular diameter that's destroyed or not planted as required, a value of the destroyed or unplanted trees would be established and the developer would pay the equivalent value into a mitigation fund. The city would use the funds for tree planting or landscaping projects on public property elsewhere. Kasey Krouse, Urban Forester, has agreed to administer a Tree Bank for the city. A tree bank will level the playing field so all developers are responsible for similar landscaping costs.Prepared by:Scenic KnoxvilleTrees KnoxvilleThe City of Knoxville Tree BoardThe Knoxville Chapter of the American Society of Landscape ArchitectsSierra Club, Harvey Broome GroupAlso endorsed by:Town Hall EastForest Heights Neighborhood AssociationCommunity ForumThe Bearden Village CouncilThe Riverside 1 CondosHistoric Fourth and Gill Neighborhood OrganizationKingston Pike Sequoyah Hills Neighborhood AssociationBenefits of TreesTrees beautify our public spacesTrees increase property valuesTrees increase walkability by providing shadeTrees cool the ambient temperature up to 10? FTrees reduce air conditioning costsTrees promote ground absorption of rainfall and reduce stormwater runoffTrees reduce air pollution by absorbing pollutant gasesTrees block unsightly views and muffle noiseTrees encourage pride of placeTrees increase business revenue because shoppers stay longer in attractive and inviting commercial spacesBeauty is Good for People and Business
Staff Reply:

Design Standards For Single Family

Recode Single Family Design StandardsScenic KnoxvilleEarlier drafts of Recode included minimal design standards for single family homes. We would like to see them included back into the Code. Similar standards are very common in the zoning codes of other cities. They encourage thoughtful planning, preserve community character, ensure that homes are compatible with the surrounding neighborhood, and they preserve, protect and enhance the city's historical, architectural and aesthetic resources. Design standards are what make people proud to call their house a home, and we believe everyone is entitled to feel this way, no matter what neighborhood they live in or whether they're a renter or owner.1. We would like to see the review and approval of all design standards specified in Recode come under the purview of Knoxville-Knox County Planning (formerly MPC) staff rather than Plans Review and Inspection. As professional planners we believe they're in the best position to carry this out.2. We would like to see the following standards included in the code.Single Family Dwellings1. 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 30% 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:

Landscape, Lighting And Design Standards, Hillside

Hello -Just wanted to say that I support Scenic Knoxville's sensible suggestions for changes and improvements with regard to new commercial landscape standards, lighting standards, and design standards for single family homes. None of these standards are very onerous, and would make significant improvements over time. Also, I would like to see the Hillside and Ridgetop standards remain in commercial and residential zones.Thank you for your consideration and your time, energy and efforts to improve Knoxville!
Staff Reply:

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