County of Knox to vote on comprehensive land use plan and new roads

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Two years ago, during the city’s dizzying Recode Knoxville effort, Knoxville-Knox County Planning Director Gerald Green was asked if his staff could replicate this process for the county.

Green’s answer was simple: no. The county planning department lacked the resources to do this amount of work.

Now the Knox County Commission has landed on a potential solution. Commissioners could contract out work for the county’s own comprehensive plan, a three-part undertaking that will create a policy document for the future of the county’s land use, transportation and parks.

Commissioners will vote on a $ 1.1 million contract with planning guru Kimley-Horn later this month.

County engineering and public works director Jim Snowden told Knox News that the county’s efforts would not tackle rezoning like the city’s Recode did, but instead create a plan for it. land use planning that will help guide the growth of infrastructure and transport over the coming decades.

The idea behind a comprehensive plan is to think about how the county should develop and how this work should be done to achieve the best economic results. It incorporates planning for wider roads in certain areas, strengthening infrastructure where schools could be built and more. Ideally, the plan will align with future county plans.

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“Come to think of it, your transportation network grows with development. … As development happens, you need more infrastructure and as infrastructure happens, development happens, ”he said.

“So what we wanted to do this time was to integrate the two together where the infrastructure is planned and we can set aside areas for growth and development, whether commercial or residential.”

County Engineering and Public Works Director Jim Snowden speaks at the monthly Knox County Committee meeting held at the City County Building on Monday, June 22, 2020

While that is happening, Snowden said, the county parks and recreation department will also get an updated master plan. Currently, the county’s parks are not eligible for grants from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, he said, because the current master plan is out of date.

Almost half of the $ 1.1 million prize will be paid for through a $ 500,000 grant from the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization, Snowden said.

He expects the project to take up to 18 months. This will be the first time the county has revised its master planning plan since 2003, he said. There will be ways to get the public involved, starting with around 20 in-person and virtual meetings to get the community pulse on where the county should focus.

County officials have met with the Knox County Planning Alliance and local developers, both saying they support the business.

In a statement, alliance co-founder Kim Fraizer said the overhaul will positively position the county for future growth.

“We have long advocated for a comprehensive plan that addresses not only land use, but also policies, review processes, public infrastructure, recreation offerings, conservation concepts, impact on schools and the feasibility of development projects, ”she said. “This is exactly what our county is offering.


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