The City of Knoxville has issued a Request for Proposals to hire a consultant that will assist the Metropolitan Planning Commission with its update of the City’s decades-old zoning ordinance. Click here to view the RFP in PDF format.
Mayor Madeline Rogero proposed that the MPC conduct a complete review and overhaul of the City’s zoning ordinance. In May, $300,000 was earmarked by the Knoxville City Council to hire and direct a consultant to start the review. The RFP seeks proposals for the comprehensive update of the City’s zoning code, asking applicants to identify their approach to the project and the estimated cost. It has been distributed through local media, national professional organizations, and both the City and MPC’s websites.
Applicants will have three weeks to submit proposals, at which time all applications will be reviewed by a selection committee made up of City and MPC staff and elected officials. MPC anticipates that the top few responders will be invited to Knoxville to interview for the project, with the final selection made by early September. A modernized ordinance with more mixed-use development is expected to be presented to City Council fifteen months later.
“We need an up-to-date ordinance that protects the things we all value in our neighborhoods and commercial areas while allowing the kinds of smart, sustainable growth that will move Knoxville forward,” Mayor Rogero said.
Public input is encouraged by both MPC and the City. MPC wants to hear from the Knoxville community and business leaders about requirements they would like before starting the review.
“We need feedback to inform us of the vision citizens have for their community,” said Gerald Green, MPC’s Executive Director. “We’ll start the process with public input and continue to check in on a regular basis to assure the standards we’re crafting will achieve that vision.”
Knoxville’s existing ordinance uses single-use zoning, requiring tracts to be segregated by land use, which leads to sprawl over time. In the decades since the current zoning ordinance was put in place, needs have changed and demand for mixed-use development has increased. Residents are now more interested in being able to live, work, shop, and eat at restaurants within the same neighborhood.
There are examples of mixed-use zoning already at work in Knoxville. Downtown is the most obvious illustration, where residents are able to easily walk to entertainment amenities, retail, commercial and office locations. Other examples come from zoning amendments, including the Town Center (TC-1) zone and the South Waterfront and Cumberland Avenue corridors. The success of these areas has fueled demand for more flexibility elsewhere, and the new ordinance will take that into consideration.
Green says Knox County is projected to add 170,000 additional residents to its population by 2040. “The growth will be the equivalent of adding another Knoxville,” he said. “We’ll need to create opportunities to live, work, and shop within the city and not just default to sprawl development.”
For more information about the City's current zoning ordinance and to follow the RFP process to modernize the zoning ordinance, please visit www.knoxvilletn.gov/zoning.