Knox County Board of Zoning Appeals Use on Reviews to one Chancellor, instead of a Board of Nine Citizens? Citizens Appointed by County Commission and Mayor

Knox County Commissioner Randy Smith with Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs has this resolution to strip the use of review appeals from the nine member Knox County Board of Zoning Appeals to one of three Knox County Chancellors. Beginning September 1, 2022, one of those Chancellors will be Richard “Bud” Armstrong, a former Knox County Commissioner and former Knox County Law Director. The same Bud Armstrong that as Law Director hired current Law Director David Buuck.

Here is the Monday May 16, 2022 Knox County Commission Work Session which this resolution dominated more than half of the 56 +/- minutes of the meeting. Citizen and former BZA Member Robert Thompson speaking against the change.

First, Kim Frazier the Republican candidate for Knox County Commission at Large Seat 11 was the first to make the best valid argument for not passing this resolution just yet. Advance Knox is a “working group” (Mayor Jacobs term) for the citizens working with consultants with the assistance of citizens to create the vision and long term plan for land use and transportation for the entire county of Knox.

Second, if the Mayor and Knox County Commission do not have the confidence in the Board of Zoning Appeals, in deciding use on reviews. They only have to look in the mirror. The members of the BZA are appointed by County Commissioners for their respective districts, so there is that.

Third, Commissioner John Schoonmaker asked how many use on reviews were brought to BZA last year. Jim Snowden the Knox County Engineering and Public Works Director for Knox County had only reviewed the last four months and said there were 2.

In researching and reviewing the 12 BZA agendas for January – December 2021. Here is what I found in regards to use on review appeals to BZA.

In January 2021, 4c is seeking a variance on Knoxville/ Knox County Planning but NOT specific to Use on Review.

Item 4g. Use on Review approval of File #11-R-UR a “boardinghouse/home” with up to 12 residents with 2 staff by Angelic Ministries. Property in Commission District 6

Deferred Request

Item 5a. Use on Review approval with conditions of the development plan for a residential treatment center. File #8-C-20-UR Property located at 4937 Wise Springs Road in Commission District 8.

In the July 2021 meeting

Item 4a. seeking to appeal Codes Enforcement Interpretation and decision of sufficiency of installed compliance with lighting requirements in the ordinance and USE ON REVIEW as documented in the attached memo email from Steve Elliott, Director of Development Services, dated June 3, 2021 as well as compliance with noise requirements for Rural Retreat. Property located in Commission District 9 (Ancient Lore Village)

In the August 2021, they had item 5a. under Deferred Request the same as the July item above

Now, in researching and reviewing the January – May 2022 BZA Agendas, I find

In January 2022

Item 5a Request of Kevin Murphy for variance of the Knox County Board of Zoning Appeals to appeal the decision of the Knoxville-Knox County Planning Commission’s decision regarding Use-on-Review application #12-D-21-UR at the December 9, 2021 meeting which was an application for a request for a convenience store that is approximately 6,472 sq ft with a drive through facility, and fuel station. Property is located at 3216 Johnson Road, in Commission District 6.

In March 2022

under DEFERRED was 5b. was the same item as item 5a from January 2022

Could it be a coincidence this late addition Resolution for the May 2022 Commission meeting was added after the May 3rd Primary election and that Kevin Murphy a former BZA member and an organizer of Knox Planning Alliance which Frazier, Lisa Starbuck and Murphy are the leaders and Murphy a supporter of Frazier’s successful Republican campaign for Knox County Commission at Large Seat 11? just a very long question.

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