Scott Davis, president of Eagle Bend Development and a former Knox County commissioner, fired the first shot in a two-front assault on the Metropolitan Planning Commission this week with a lawsuit filed in Knox County Chancery Court Nov. 27. MPC Executive Director Gerald Green was served Nov. 28.
Green described the suit in an email to MPC commissioners:
“The lawsuit challenges the amendment to the subdivision regulations (that requires sidewalks in subdivisions). The lawsuit argues that the procedure followed in the approval of the amendment was incorrect.”
When contacted by telephone, Davis declined to talk about the lawsuit, but said he will push legislation aimed at dividing the 15-member body, which is composed of seven commissioners appointed by the Knoxville mayor and eight commissioners who are appointed by the county mayor. His legislation proposes that developments outside the city limits be voted on by county appointees only:
“Be it enacted that any and all actions submitted for approval to the Knox County/City of Knoxville Metropolitan Planning Commission that involves property in Knox County outside the corporate limits of the city of Knoxville shall be reviewed by the Metropolitan Planning Commission staff with recommendations made to the Metropolitan Planning Commission Board and subsequently voted on by said Board whose voting members shall be comprised of the Board members appointed by the Knox County mayor only. Actions shall include but not be limited to rezonings, concept plan approvals, sector plan amendments, ordinances, regulations, use on review and final plats.”
County Commission chair Randy Smith will support Davis’s legislation, and said he’d like to up the ante – divide the planning body into separate city and county boards.
“To me it just makes sense. We have two different boards of zoning appeals, two different industrial development boards,” he said, explaining that development patterns have changed since MPC was founded and that former chair Brad Anders has brought the idea up, as well.
Smith said the future of MPC would be a topic for discussion at the commission’s legislative luncheon on Dec 7.