Sixty may be the new 50, but not when it comes to zoning codes.
That’s why the city of Knoxville kicked off its drive to update codes with a presentation on Recode Knoxville Thursday night. The initiative will involve reviewing and updating Knoxville’s land-use codes, which are nearly 60 years old and were created under a far different vision of city living.
Mayor Madeline Rogero opened the meeting at Central United Methodist Church before handing the microphone to Gerald Green, executive director of the Metropolitan Planning Commission. Their general remarks were a prelude to a presentation by Arista Strungys from the consulting firm Camiros.
Camiros, named after the ancient Greek city considered the first planned city – Kameiros on the island of Rhodes, is a Chicago-based firm hired for the Recode Knoxville project. Strungys, the project principal, talked about some of the peculiarities in the current Knoxville code and how streamlining and simplifying could help make interpreting the code easier for all.
Revamping the code will benefit residential property owners as much as developers and will reduce the need for use-on-review rulings, she said.
Strungys’ colleague, project manager Chris Jennette, noted that modern additions such as solar panels aren’t even covered by the current code.
About a third of the audience of around 120 was made up of City Council members, City Council hopefuls, MPC commissioners, MPC and city staff, and members of the Recode Knoxville advisory committee. Many of the rest were representatives of neighborhood groups.
The program ended with attendees visiting displays and talking with MPC staff about the code project.
The project will move forward with a mixture of public meetings and reports, with both the city and Camiros pledged to encourage and embrace public input.
A website has been created to explain different aspects of the project and to provide access for comments and questions. Visit www.recodeknoxville.com.