Making Democracy Work

Land Use

We believe that the citizens of Knox County should leave our land, water, air and cultural resources to our children in better condition than when we became responsible for county planning, therefore...

We support the principles and strategies stated in the 2033 Knox County General Plan and all supporting plans as well as land use planning, processes and policies which mandate:

  • limited and appropriate use of zoning variances as well as enforcement of all land use planning regulations
  • special attention to citizen participation
  • highly trained and professionally qualified staff planners
  • appointment of planning commissioners who represent a wide variety of community interests and demonstrate commitment to serving the public interest
  • coordination of planning by all agencies and institutions which affect land use in the community (e.g. school board, community and economic development agencies, redevelopment and industrial development authorities
  • staff studies and a public input process prior to any plan amendments
  • training curriculums of all newly elected and appointed city and county officials to include "best practices" for land development and growth management.

We support policies that place restrictions on development of ridges, slopes, open spaces and vegetation that have been identified as critical to maintaining our community's air and water quality, biodiversity, functioning habitats and/or historic/scenic character, which specific mapping of essential:
  • prime farmland
  • slopes greater than 15 percent
  • tree canopies
  • viewscapes and ridge tops
  • historic and/or cultural sites
  • habitat and riparian buffers
  • active and passive recreation areas

We support policies that equitably balance and distribute the costs and benefits of population growth to all Knox County citizens, specifically:
  • preserving the integrity of the urban growth boundary
  • locating/co-locating public services such as schools, libraries, recreation and health care facilities for convenience, efficiency and promoting density
  • improve access for citizens by providing efficient and multimodal transportation systems accommodating pedestrians, automobiles, transit and bicycles
  • the use of techniques such as impact fees, development taxes and land set-asides to assure that developers of both residential and non-residential areas bear an appropriate share of the costs incurred by the new development such as road construction, off site drainage and other essential improvements as well as parks, schools and public services. (Adopted 5/2007)

We support programs and strategies which conserve natural areas, reduce storm water pollution and protect waterways by smart growth practices such as:
  • reduction of impervious ground cover
  • buffer requirements
  • incentives for low impact development
  • adoption of tree ordinances
  • retrofitting existing developments with low impact storm water treatments
  • use of concrete pipes in appropriate settings
  • creation of a regional system of interconnected green spaces
  • designation of selected natural areas and waterways as regional or national assets
  • use of open land conservation tools such as conservation subdivisions, conservation easements and land trusts.

We support strategies and policies which promote infill defelopment and investment in existing communities with their existing infrasturcture. These strategies and policies include:
  • preservation, restoration and rehabilitation of historic sturctures
  • creation of integrated centers of activity that include housing, shops, employment, services and leisure activities
  • mixed use and form based zoning
  • increased urban density
  • development incentives that favor projects using existing infrasturcture
  • preference for redevelopment of existing public school facilities over new construction
  • encouragement of nonprofit development organizations, historic preservation organizations and community partnerships
  • adequate maintenance of existing public infrastructures
  • neighborhood design that encourages walkability, connectivity and safety
  • adaptation of codes and ordinances to maintain neighborhood character and stability
  • cost/benefit analyses of infill vs. outlying development

We support policies and strategies which enhance community appearance and livability by such actions as:
  • building and landscape design standards and design review
  • protection of trees and preservation of land forms
  • elimination of billboards
  • art in public places
  • directed lighting to prevent night glow
  • underground wiring
  • street or road design appropriate to the landscape and land use through which it passes, from traffic calming design for safe neighborhood streets to divided, intensively landscaped parkways to carry heavy noncommercial traffic. (Adopted 5/2008)