Rezoning for density: What could possibly go wrong?

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk, West Knoxville

The West Hills Community Association will convene a “friendly and informative community discussion” today (2/13/24) from 5:30-7 p.m. at Bearden United Methodist Church, 4407 Sutherland Ave.

Andrew Roberto

Andrew Roberto, city council member from District 2, will join the discussion. See his blog post here.

Knoxville City Council is set to vote on Tuesday, February 20, to allow Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) on properties that are not owner-occupied. See previous stories here and here.

Oldtimers recall the founding of the then-named West Hills Homeowners Association. The purpose, in this writer’s opinion, was to retain the character of West Hills as single family residential, against the threat of apartments. Led by the late Jean Teague and her allies Barbara Pelot, John Bynon and others, the association was effective.

Epic political battles tried to dislodge Teague from the city council. They failed. Term-limits took out Teague, but she was replaced by Pelot. Andrew Roberto is a worthy successor to this District 2 legacy.

There is a housing shortage in Knoxville now, and some property owners want to add a “mother-in-law apartment” or even a second smaller dwelling on their lot. Maybe that’s OK, as long as one or the other unit is owner-occupied. The risk is that corporations buy up single-family homes with large lots (think West Hills, Sequoyah Hills, Holston Hills, etc.) and operate both the home and its accessory dwelling units as rental property.

Without a requirement that one of the units be owner-occupied, we could see neighborhoods ravished by crowded rental property with ensuing noise, parking issues and lack of attention to maintenance and landscaping. Do you want to live next door to Animal House?

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today Inc.


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