New school, road upgrades pave way for higher density in Gibbs

Sandra ClarkOur Town Leaders

Planning commission staff has recommended an amendment to the Northeast County Sector Plan to allow medium density residential development on land owned by Dr. Kalpesh D. and Jagruti Parikh on Tazewell Pike behind Midway IGA. The recommendation was released Friday. An earlier story about this land is here.

Planners said construction of the new Gibbs Middle School since the plan was last updated in 2016 has contributed to the growing interest in new residential development in the sector. Also, the addition of traffic lights and turning lanes at the intersection of Tazewell Pike and East Emory Road in 2017 makes additional residential development in the area more feasible.

Knoxville/Knox Planning Commission (formerly MPC) will meet at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at the City County Building. Commissioners will hear comments and vote. Corryton resident Rebecca Longmire has rotated off the MPC, after serving for several years including multiple terms as chair. Commissioners are volunteers, appointed by the city or county mayor. Learn more here.

The May 9 decision can be appealed to Knox County Commission, which is why three commissioners met Thursday with Gibbs area residents at Clear Springs Baptist Church.

Planning Commission staff actually admits an error in the sector plan: “The Northeast County Sector Plan should have recognized the existing zoning of PR (Planned Residential) up to 9 du/ac on this parcel and designated it for MDR (Medium Density Residential).

“The plan should have also recognized this large vacant parcel behind a commercial center as a transition area for MDR (Medium Density Residential) between the Mixed-Use Special District (MU-SD) and the adjacent single-family residential neighborhoods.”

Planning staff estimated an increase of 30 public-school children in grades K-12, all to Gibbs schools, and 934 average daily vehicle trips.

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