Recode passes first reading for second time

Sandra ClarkFeature

It was another long meeting for Knoxville City Council on July 30. The agenda included a second-reading vote on Recode Knoxville, the complete rewrite of the city’s zoning regulations. Recode passed on first reading on July 16 on a 7-2 vote with Mark Campen and Seema Singh voting no.


But substantive amendments were added on Tuesday, and Law Director Charles Swanson reminded the council of its requirement that an ordinance be roughly the same on first and second readings.

So, the amended ordinance was passed again on first reading, this time 8-1 with only Campen voting no.

Mark Campen

Gwen McKenzie requested clarification. “What if we have amendments in two weeks?”

Mayor Madeline Rogero said, “If no amendments are adopted, then Recode passes.” She and Swanson agreed that amendments could be brought immediately after adoption – even before Recode takes effect in January 2020. The council’s next meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at the City County Building. The Recode map and amended text are here.

Tuesday’s four-and-a-half-hour meeting was congenial. Here are some highlights:

“We’re trying to appease a lot of different voices in our community,” Gerald Green said at one point. The planning commission director compared himself to Neville Chamberlain (the British prime minister who tried to negotiate with aggressors from Germany and Italy prior to World War II).

Fountain City resident Larry Deering said later, “If Mr. Green is Neville Chamberlain, then Carlene Malone is the one who came after him (Winston Churchill) who said, “We will never surrender.”

Malone and Larry Silverstein of Community Forum have dogged the council on Recode since it was a mere glimmer in the mayor’s eye.

At one point, Lauren Rider offered 16 amendments to the zoning map, each requested by the property owner. Rogero asked her to summarize each one. George Wallace interjected: “Do we have to read all of these? I’ll make a motion to adopt them. We’ve passed more than this without knowing (what was in it).”

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