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City of Knoxville Zoning Ordinance Article 16, Section 16.3

The City of Knoxville Board of Zoning Appeals shall have the power and authority to grant variances from terms of this ordinance according to the procedure and under the restrictions set out in this section.

The purpose of the variance is to modify the strict application of the specific requirements of this ordinance in the case of exceptionally irregular, narrow, shallow or steep lots, or other exceptional physical conditions, whereby such strict application would result in practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship which would deprive an owner of the reasonable use of his land.

The variance shall be used only where necessary to overcome some obstacle which is preventing an owner from using his property as the zoning ordinance intended.


If you have comments or questions about an agenda item or about the Board of Zoning Appeals, please the City of Knoxville Zoning Office at 865-215-3669.  You may also view the submitted applications for 2023 by clicking here.


Five members are nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council to each serve a term of five years.  


Please read the following prior to submitting a Board of Zoning Appeals application.

The Board of Zoning Appeals hears certain appeals of denials of building permits by the City's Plans Review and Inspections Department. An applicant can request a variance from the Zoning Code requirements or can appeal an administrative official’s interpretation of the Zoning Code. 

Prior to submitting a variance application for your project, please reach out to a Zoning Examiner.

Applications are due by Noon on the deadline date, click here for meeting dates and application deadline information.  Incomplete applications will be returned for resubmission.

- Applicant Name is the individual submitting the application, not a company

- Applicant Email is where all communications will be sent.

-Applications must be digital and signed by the applicant

- Applications must include site plans and any other relevant information associated with the hardship for which they are applying. 

- Applicant must describe the hardship conditions that apply to the variance request.

- Correspondence will be directed to the person listed as the applicant, please ensure this information is accurate.

- Parcel#, City Council District # and Zoning District can be found at KGIS.org 
- Due to size constraints, please limit your documentation only to information pertinent to your variance request.

- Applications and supporting documentation must be submitted as an attachment, not embedded into the body of the email.

- Completed applications may be submitted to our office in person or emailed to [email protected]

- Once the Public Notice is submitted to be published, no new documentation will be added to the packets.

- A member of our staff will reach out for payment once your application has been reviewed.  We accept Visa, Mastercard & Discover and checks made payable to: City of Knoxville


Applicants should be prepared to attend the meeting in person, or send a representative, to speak to the application.  If no one is in attendance for your variance application, the application will not be heard.

Decisions of the Board of Zoning Appeals can be appealed to City Council within 15 days of the Board's decision. Appeals of a City Council decision related to Board of Zoning Appeals are made to Chancery Court.


The Board meets monthly on the third Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the Small Assembly Room of the City County Building, unless otherwise posted.

The monthly Board meeting agenda is published as a public notice in the Legal Notices section of the Knoxville News Sentinel at least 10 days prior to the monthly Board meeting.

The schedule for 2023 is as follows:

June 20, 2023 Application Deadline: Noon 5/11/23
July 18, 2023 Application Deadline: Noon 6/8/23
August 15, 2023 Application Deadline: Noon 7/13/23
September 19, 2023 Application Deadline: Noon 8/10/23
October 17, 2023 Application Deadline: Noon 9/14/23
November 21, 2023 Application Deadline: Noon 10/12/23
December 19, 2023 Application Deadline: Noon 11/9/23

Please contact Jennifer Scobee at 865-215-2988 or [email protected] with questions about attending or for alternate attendance options.

Click here to view current board membership and to check for opportunities to serve on this board.