Opposition to apartments on Asheville Highway

Nick Della VolpeOur Town Leaders

Here’s my letter to Knox Planning Commissioners. This item is on today’s (10/8) agenda.

Re: Oct 8 Meeting, Item #20 (10K-20-Rz), 4625 Asheville Hwy,

Rezoning Request of Carl Lansden (& Lansden Landmarks) — seeking CG-1 zone on 7 acres

Dear Commissioners, I live in East Knoxville, and have lived here for 46 years. I ask you to reject the rezoning request of Mr. Lansden as submitted.

A commercial zone would be okay for the acre or two facing Asheville Highway, BUT NOT for the remainder of the seven acres which are clearly residential in character.

Those internal parcels on 5+ acres should be limited to residential use only. The subject property borders Carta Road on the eastern boundary, which is residential, indeed single family residential, except for the Sunset Rill apartments bordering along Asheville Highway. The use is primarily low density residential.

Carta Road has at least 15 single family homes very near this property, and is part of a single-family residential neighborhood with probably over 100 single-family homes known as Chilhowee Hills. It’s been like that since the 1950s (if not earlier). The Lansden application does not address the impact on these single-family homes and surrounding neighborhood, nor the traffic in and near Carta Road, and the impact which dropping in some 100 apartments will have on nearby Chilhowee school and the children who walk to school there.

The MPC staff does not address this impact in its report. It simply goes off on some general notion that mixed use is allowable in this sector. Such impact is especially important since, after Recode, the MPC has dropped the older notion of planned development which allowed advance public review before a densely populated development proceeds.

Here, the developer simply asks for a naked rezoning of the 7-acre tract to a more intense commercial use WITHOUT addressing the impact on roads, existing residential use, the schools, children walkable safety and other communal interests. That seems wrong however you parse it.

The bottom line is, regardless of any pretty architectural sketches, no future commercial uses are restricted on this property. The request is for a rezoning of this property for any commercial use listed in table 9-1 (for CG-1), even ones that would be extremely disruptive to the existing surrounding residential uses and the people who live there.

I therefore respectfully request that the rezoning application for CG-1 on the entire tract be denied.

Nick Della Volpe is a lawyer, a gardener and a former member of Knoxville City Council.

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