The Knox County Planning Alliance is sounding an alarm about an item on Thursday’s (6/9/22) agenda of Knoxville-Knox County Planning.
“The resolution would take away the right of citizens to appeal use-on-review decisions made by the planning commission to the Knox County Board of Zoning and Appeals,” said Joyce Feld, a member of KCPA.
Read Betty Bean’s previous column here.
Bean writes about Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs’ support of the resolution, which was on Knox County Commission’s May agenda. Commissioner John Schoonmaker got his colleagues to refer it to the planning commission for consideration, thus Thursday’s discussion.
Jacobs’ position is that eliminating the appeal to BZA would speed up development – a necessity because of the current housing shortage. Law Director David Buuck said the costs to citizens would be roughly the same to appeal to BZA or Chancery Court, but, as Bean’s article points out, don’t go to Chancery Court without a lawyer and expect to win.
Feld points out that there have been only 16 appeals to county BZA in the last 15 years. “A review of past appeals shows that most are resolved within 60 to 75 days, whereas court cases can take a year or longer to resolve.”
Feld said most neighborhood associations have neither the time nor money to pursue a lawsuit. “They will essentially be shut out of the democratic process and they will be denied the right to have a say about the community they live in and pay taxes to.”
The agenda item is No. 51, and the agenda is here.