There is a rezoning coming to the Knox County Commission on Monday that has had the opponents quoting 2018 Knox Planning staff and Knox Planning’s former Executive Director. I have received emails that all Commissioners have received from the former staff member and the former Executive Director explaining the context of the “quotes” that have been attributed to them.
From the Former Knox Planning Staff Member
February 17, 2021
To: Knox County Commission
RE: 1-E-21-RZ – Beverly Rd. – Randy Guignard / Cafe International LLC rezoning
It is my understanding that opponents to this rezoning are expressing their support for the 2018 professional staff recommendation of PR zoning at one dwelling unit per acre. I was the Knox Planning staff member who reviewed that case in early 2018. At the time that the staff recommendation was made, I had never been to the site, had not seen any site plans and did not know much about the applicant, Randy Guignard. Noting that about half of the site was constrained by steep slopes, along the ridgeline, and with the applicant’s proposed development of single family, detached lots, staff recommended limiting the density to no more than one dwelling per acre, in order to limit the number of lots and prevent development in the slopped areas, as well as the floodplain. With the limited information that was available at the time, staff had no other options than to recommend the limited density. After the rezoning failed, the applicant met with planning staff and was directed to submit plans showing how the site could be developed. Staff encouraged the applicant to develop a plan that did not disturb the sensitive areas of the site, even if it included small lots and/or detached units. The ability to cluster development is one of the primary advantages of the requested PR (Planned Residential) zoning. Subsequently, the applicant submitted detailed plans , showing clustered development within the flatter areas and no disturbance of the steep or floodplain areas of the site. Now that I have seen a plan showing what the applicant is capable of, and I have been to the site for a visit and walk-through. I am fully supportive of the present application. I believe, with the information now available, staff would have supported it at that time, just like the current planning staff. I am of the opinion that the current staff’s approval recommendation is appropriate for this unique site and will allow reasonable development, with planning commission oversight to approve a development plan and will provide much better protection of the site’s sensitive areas that the current I (Industrial) and RB (General Residential) zoning. Development under the current zoning would likely result in much more intense development, with very little protection of the sensitive areas of the site and no further public review of plans by the Planning Commission. Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely, Michael Brusseau, AICP (former staff planner for Knoxville-KnoxCounty Planning 2000-2018)
From the Knox Planning former Executive Director
February 18, 2021
Knox County Commission 400 Main Street Knoxville, TN 37902
RE: Rezoning File # 1-E-21-RZ
I am providing this letter in support of the request of Randy Guignard for the rezoning of approximately 78 acres located at 0 Beverly Road from Industrial and General Residential to Planned Residential at a density of up to 2.51 dwelling units per acre. This rezoning has been unanimously recommended by the Knoxville-Knox County Planning Commission and is appropriate for the property.
Those citizens opposing the requested rezoning quote a statement I made when the initial request for rezoning of this property was presented. I stated that the property was one of the most challenging development sites I had seen. This is true and if Mr. Guignard proposed the typical single family uniform lot size development standard in Knox County I would continue to be opposed to the rezoning. However, the development plan proposed by Mr. Guignard is appropriate for the property and justifies the rezoning. The proposed development plan preserves the steep slopes and the floodplain, clustering the development on the less steep (areas with grade of 15% or less) portions of the property. This development approach was first advocated in the 1970’s by Ian McHarg in his seminal work Design with Nature and was recommended to Mr. Guignard by Planning staff during the review of the initial rezoning request for this property. In preparing the development plan for the property, Mr. Guignard has not only protected the sensitive areas of the property but has also proposed benefits to the community. The floodplain area of the property, 16 acres, will be donated to Legacy Parks for permanent open space and use by the community. Mr. Guignard also has agreed to work with Knoxville Parks and Recreation in the provision of an easement for trails along the southern portion of the property.
The development approach proposed for this property, which entails clustering of housing on the less steep portions of the property and the preservation of sensitive areas, can serve as an example for the development of other challenging properties in Knox County. The proposed development approach and the community benefits that will be provided with the development warrant the rezoning of the property. I urge you to approve the rezoning of the property at 0 Beverly Road form Industrial and General Residential to Planned Residential at a density of up to 2.51 dwelling units an acre.
Gerald Green AICP
Executive Director Knoxville-Knox County Planning (2015-2020)