Anders, Smith push for county-only zoning board

Betty BeanKnox Scene

Commissioner Brad Anders favors creation of a county-only land zoning board and staff. He added a discussion item to Tuesday’s workshop agenda for Knox County Commission. Currently land use planning/zoning for both the city of Knoxville and Knox County are handled by the Knoxville/Knox County Planning Commission (formerly called MPC).

Knox County Commission chair Hugh Nystrom wanted to postpone the discussion until next week’s full commission meeting, but Anders didn’t want to wait. Anders said that setting up a county-only zoning board could become an urgent matter because of a “caption” bill floating around Nashville.

Caption bills are designed to get around the constitutional provision that requires lawmakers to introduce legislation in a timely fashion. They consist of no more than a title and a sketchy description written broadly enough to meet unforeseen, urgent needs that arise after the filing deadline. They are also handy to sneak controversial measures into law while nobody is looking.

The bill Anders referenced, House Bill 2306, Senate Bill 2221, is captioned “Growth and Development” and says this: “As introduced, deletes requirements for cities and counties to develop comprehensive growth plans. – Amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 10; Title 6; Title 7; Title 13 and Title 65, Chapter 4.” It has been shopped around Nashville for years.

Anders is clearly frustrated that the town of Farragut torpedoed Mayor Glenn Jacobs’ proposed overhaul of the county growth plan, saying, “The city (of Knoxville) and Farragut have more influence than they should on decisions that affect us.”

Commissioner Randy Smith said he shares Anders’ frustration, citing the need for an updated long-term planning model for communities on the edges of the county.

At-large Commissioner Larsen Jay and District 1 Commissioner Evelyn Gill, whose district lies inside the city limits, reminded Anders that city residents are county taxpayers, too.

Nystrom said he does not anticipate rehashing the subject at next week’s full commission meeting.

“I think we completed the discussion tonight,” Nystrom said. “Unless one of the commissioners wants to bring it back up, I don’t anticipate it coming back up.”

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