Agency Overview

Knoxville-Knox County Planning (Planning) was established in 1956 by Knoxville and Knox County as the agency responsible for comprehensive county-wide planning and administration of zoning and land subdivision regulations and remains so today, except for the town of Farragut. Funding for Planning activities comes primarily from city and county appropriations and from federal grants for specific studies.

Organization

Divisions and Services

Planning Services
General Plan, Sector Plans, Special Reports, Small Area Studies, Corridor Plans, Rezonings, Subdivisions, Site Plan Review, Zoning Code Amendment, One-Year Plan Update, Customer Assistance, Address Assignment

The Planning Services Division studies community growth patterns and prepares plans that guide agency policy. Community facilities, neighborhood planning, and commercial corridors are part of the work of this division.

In addition, Planning Services staff partners with the city and county staff to administer zoning ordinances, county zoning resolution, and subdivision regulations. Applications for rezoning, use on review, subdivision and sector plan amendments are reviewed monthly and a recommendation regarding each application is prepared. Amendments to the One Year Plan are reviewed quarterly with recommendations made in April, July, October, and January. The department is responsible for published notices, posting of notices on property, and community meetings concerning pending applications. Staff assigns addresses for city and county streets and land parcels.

Research & Support / GIS, Web & Design
Library, Public Information, Demographic and Economic Data, Development Reports, Graphic Design, Website, Computerized Mapping (GIS)

These two divisions provide the website, computer mapping, graphic design, public relations, and reference services to the agency. The Geographic Information System (GIS), a computerized database and mapping system operates from these divisions. Planning graphic design and publications are also part of the work. Keeping current statistics, reports, and maps is an integral activity of these divisions which closely coordinates with programs of citizen information and participation.

Transportation Planning
Transportation, Traffic Engineering, Title VI, Traffic Control Studies, Intermodal, Public Involvement

The Transportation Planning Division acts as staff to the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), a transportation planning board serving the urbanized area of Knox, Blount, Loudon, and Sevier counties. TPO is responsible for developing a twenty-year long range plan and a transportation improvement program in cooperation with the state and affected transit operators and the public.

The Executive Director
The Executive Director is a appointed by the City Mayor and County Mayor to fulfill assigned City Charter and state law responsibilities and tasks requested by officials of city and county government or their agencies.

The executive director oversees the work program and staff activities, works closely with public and private agencies to obtain input into planning studies, and serves as technical advisor to the Planning Commissioners and to the Board of County Commissioners and the City Council. The executive director appoints four division managers to lead Planning's major departments and to oversee a professional staff.

Library
The Planning Library is a source and clearinghouse for all published information and reports. Citizens who need or desire information regarding population, housing, employment, transportation, and much more may avail themselves of the services of the library.

Authority

Title 13 of the Tennessee Code authorizes municipal and regional planning commissions to regulate land use and conduct other planning activities. As a regional planning commission, the Commission has the following authority and responsibilities.

Prepare and adopt a General Plan
...that places under a single cover, long-range policies for land use, utilities, recreation, transportation, public facilities, and other concerns.

Review subdivision regulations and site plans
...approving those proposals that encourage the harmonious development of the community and create conditions favorable to health, safety, convenience and prosperity.

Prepare and recommend zoning ordinances and maps
...for the city and county.

Review proposed zoning amendments
...and advise legislative bodies on the appropriate zoning action.

Review proposed capital improvements
...and advise the appropriate legislative body regarding project necessity, feasibility and compliance with long range plans; and, promote coordination between various agencies and different levels of government.

The Knoxville City Charter further requires Knoxville-Knox County Planning to prepare five- and 15-year comprehensive development plans. Each sector plan that staff prepares for the city contains these elements. The Charter also requires Planning to annually update the land-use policies that form the legal basis for zoning decisions in Knoxville. These policies are embodied in the One Year Plan and effectively link zoning and comprehensive planning. In 2002, the City Charter was amended to require Planning to prepare an annual report on the preservation of historic structures and districts within the city.

Planning performs special purpose studies and analyses of significant issues commissioned by city or county government, e.g. voting district boundary revisions, impact studies for major development proposals, and annexation studies.

A Capital Improvements Program is submitted to the city each year that includes capital expenditures for the ensuing fiscal year, the capital budget, and a projected five-year capital improvements program. Capital improvement programs specify the location, timing, priority, estimated cost and financing method of public capital expenditures. The Planning Commission makes recommendations to the Knoxville City Council on all capital improvements.

Duties:

  • Prepare and adopts a general plan
  • Review subdivision regulations and site plans
  • Prepare and recommends zoning ordinances and maps to the Knox County Commission and Knoxville City Council
  • Review proposed zoning amendments
  • Prepare a capital improvements plan for the City of Knoxville

The Planning Commission is comprised of 15 members: seven appointed by the Mayor of Knoxville and eight appointed by the Knox County Mayor and confirmed by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. Commissioners serve four-year staggered terms, without compensation.

An appointed executive director and a staff of 35 work in all divisions: Planning Services; Research and Support; GIS, Web & Design; and Transportation Planning. Transportation staff provide assistance to the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization that serves Knox and urbanized portions of Blount, Loudon, and Sevier counties. In addition, Planning works with the Knox County and Knoxville Historic Zoning Commissions.

The Planning Commission meets the second Thursday of each month at 1:30 p.m. in the Main Assembly Room, City-County Building. Eight members constitute a quorum. The Commission's annual meeting is held in October of each year or as determined by the chair.