Work Begins on City of Knoxville Zoning Code Update

Communications Director

Jesse Fox Mayshark
jmayshark@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3710

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

Work Begins on City of Knoxville Zoning Code Update

Posted: 03/27/2017
The City of Knoxville has hired a consultant to assist the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) with the City’s zoning ordinance update. After releasing a Request for Proposals in June of 2016, a selection committee made up of City and MPC staff and MPC Commissioners selected Camiros, Ltd. from a pool of applicants. Camiros is a full-service planning, zoning, and urban design consultancy located in Chicago, Ill.

Representatives from Camiros visited Knoxville earlier this year to gather information and inform their work. They reviewed the current zoning code, saw examples of its impact on the city, and discussed ideas for the update with City and MPC staff. There will be an official kick off later this spring after the consultants complete their background review.

In order to give a voice to the diverse interests found within the community, two committees have been created to assist with the overhaul. A staff committee of City and MPC staff will provide local expertise, and a stakeholder committee will represent business, neighborhood, environmental, and other groups from the community. The public stakeholder committee was officially appointed at the Jan. 31 City Council meeting. All committee members will serve for two years. 

The stakeholder committee met for the first time this morning (Monday, March 27), in the Small Assembly Room of the City County Building. The committee will meet next at 10 a.m. on May 17 in the Small Assembly Room. All meetings of the public stakeholder committee are open to the public.

A request was made last year by Mayor Madeline Rogero, funded by City Council, for MPC to update the ordinance. The existing ordinance was written decades ago and emphasizes single-use zoning that requires tracts to be segregated by land use. That model leads to inefficient use of resources and sprawl. In the decades since the current zoning ordinance was put in place, needs have changed and demand for mixed-use development has increased as residents have become interested in being able to live, work, shop, and eat at restaurants within the same neighborhood. Amendments prioritizing these changes, such as the South Waterfront and Cumberland Avenue, have fueled demand for similar flexibility elsewhere. 

The need for these changes is apparent when considering that Knox County is projected to add 170,000 residents by 2040. An updated ordinance will help protect and enhance Knoxville’s sense of place during this growth. The update will help strike a balance between protecting historic characteristics of neighborhoods and creating standards that encourage dynamic growth. It also aims to encourage connectivity among these places.

To achieve these goals, the guiding principles for the update include:

• Promoting development and redevelopment in a manner that uses resources efficiently;
• Building a strong, sustainable, walkable community; and
• Encouraging and gathering public input from the Knoxville community and business leaders.

MPC encourages the community to stay involved throughout the process. For more information, please contact Gerald Green at 865-215-3758 or Gerald.green@knoxmpc.org