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In this Chapter:

This section consists of the planning framework, development components that serve as the basic building blocks of the General Plan, and the Land Use Plan.

Planning Framework
The Planning Framework map, Exhibit 1, identifies preferred areas for development, revitalization and conservation, based on environmental features and development patterns. The following land categories are shown:

Rural Conservation Areas

  • River and stream corridors, including waterways, floodways, flood plains and riparian wetlands.
  • Ridges and steep slopes, including the major ridges running through the county and slopes of 15% or more.

Areas for Future Development

  • Rural residential/growth reserve These include areas set aside for very long-term growth; agricultural and rural residential are the predominant uses.
  • New development areas through 2022 (The two decades between 2001 and 2021 are the planning period for the Knoxville-Knox County-Farragut Growth Policy Plan). These are areas where large, vacant tracts can be assembled for development of new neighborhoods and districts.

Substantially Developed Areas

  • Post-1945 suburban areas These include neighborhoods created for the automobile age, designed around a system of curvilinear roads and cul-de-sacs and the nearby commercial areas.
  • Pre-1945 suburban areas These include neighborhoods often built with relatively narrow, connecting, curvilinear roads (e.g., Sequoyah Hills, Holston Hills).
  • Urban neighborhoods These include neighborhoods, generally created before 1930, along a grid system of streets.
  • Existing special use districts These include large industrial, medical, educational and recreational areas that are already developed or committed to use or conservation.
  • Downtown This area includes the central business district and related, nearby areas.

Development Components
The basic building blocks used in the General Plan are:

The Neighborhood
Neighborhoods are the most basic physical and social units of the city and the region. Neighborhood unit concepts are shown in Exhibits 2 and 3.

The Community
A community consists of enough neighborhoods to support shared services and facilities, such as a high school, a twenty to forty acre community park, and a community shopping area.

The District
A district is a developed area devoted primarily to one function, such as the University district, the Technology Corridor, or the Homberg shopping/dining district in Bearden.

The Corridor
Corridors can take one of two forms: development corridors, consisting of linear, mixed use development along a transportation route, or resource corridors, primarily open space along rivers, streams, ridgelines or rural roads.

The Region
Knoxville is the cultural, economic and governmental center of a 16 county area with over 1,000,000 residents. This area corresponds to the boundaries of the East Tennessee Development District.

These components are connected and unified by the following public realm elements:

  • streets and transit corridors
  • greenways, blueways, and parks
  • public spaces and public buildings


Exhibit 2: Diagram for Neighborhood Development

In the early 20th Century concepts for neighborhood development were conceived that placed schools within walking distance, commercial development at major intersections, and public open spaces throughout neighborhoods


Exhibit 3: Local Example of Neighborhood Concepts


Neighborhood design concepts were used in the Knoxville area in creating Sequoyah Hills and Norris. The worthwhile nature of such development is apparent today. Those communities are over 70 years old and are remarkably stable. The map and photographs on this page are from Sequoyah Hills.

Map Sequoyah Hills: the roads and open spaces were matched to the rolling terrain and river.

Photo: Well designed open spaces were created.


A variety of housing opportunities were provided.

The elementary school was located near the heart of the neighborhood.

The neighborhood center included shops and churches, and was surrounded by apartments.


Land Use Plan
Exhibit 4 consists of the Land Use Plan maps from each of the 12 adopted sector plans. This map is amended by the periodic updates of the sector plans. The plan may also be amended in response to applications from property owners. Plan amendment applications are usually filed in conjunction with rezoning applications. Changes to the Land Use Plan should be consistent with the policies in the General Plan.

Tennessee State law (public chapter 1101) requires that local land use decisions must comply with the Knoxville-Knox County-Farragut Growth Policy Plan. The General Plan is linked to the Growth Policy Plan in at least two ways:

  • The Planning Framework map (Exhibit 1) is consistent with the Urban Growth, Planned Growth and Rural designations of the Growth Policy Plan, although the Planning Framework breaks these three categories down into seven more specialized categories.
  • The Knoxville-Knox County-Farragut Growth Policy Plan, along with the Knoxville City Charter and the Knoxville and Knox County Zoning Ordinances, require that land use decisions (rezonings and development plan approvals) be consistent with the sector plans, which are elements of the General Plan.

Interpreting the Land Use Plan
In most cases, the land use recommendations of the sector plans are specific enough to provide clear guidance. That is not always true, however, due to the fact that the maps are usually not intended to provide a parcel by parcel land use recommendation. The following are guidelines to interpretations of the land use plan:

Transition Areas
The policies in this plan include provisions for Ďtransition areasí to avoid abrupt differences in adjoining zonings (from highway commercial to single family residential, for example). It is not practical to show transition areas at every boundary between residential and commercial districts. The transitional zoning policies would support office or medium density residential zoning in an area shown as single family residential abutting a commercial or other intense district.

Uncertainty as to Boundaries
When boundaries of land use designations appear to coincide with fixed, verifiable features, such as streams, lot lines, flood plains or roads, these features shall be presumed to be the zoning boundary. Otherwise the boundaries may be measured according to the scale of the map.

Logical Extensions of Existing Zoning or Development Patterns
The Planning Commission may find that a particular rezoning or plan amendment is approvable because it is a logical extension of an existing boundary. To be considered a logical extension, the rezoning should be consistent with the policies of the plan, should not violate clear physical boundaries intentionally depicted on the plan map, such as a road, a stream, or a ridge line, and should be smaller than the area being extended.

Rezoning is Premature Based on Inadequate Public Facilities
The Sector Planís recommendation for development are usually based on the idea that roads, utilities, drainage and other community facilities are adequate to support growth, or can be brought up to standards within a reasonable time. Severe deficiencies justify delay of implementation of the planís land use proposals. It is often possible to approve developments subject to bringing the facilities up to standard by some specified date.

Changes of Conditions Warranting Amendment of the Land Use Plan
Usually, conditions that have changed sufficiently to warrant a rezoning contrary to the planís recommendation should result in an amendment to the land use map. Administrative procedures are in place to allow the Planning Commission to recommend minor plan amendments accompanied by rezoning applications. The Planning Commission reserves the authority to recommend land use plan changes based on substantially changed conditions. Substantially changed conditions include:

  • Introduction of significant new roads or utilities that were not anticipated in the plan and make development more feasible.
  • An obvious and significant error or omission in the plan.
  • Changes in government policy, such as a decision to concentrate development in certain areas.
  • Trends in development, population, or traffic that warrant reconsideration of the original plan proposal.

Updating the Plan
To remain effective, comprehensive plans must be periodically updated and amended. The Planning Commission will determine the actual schedule for major updates through annual adoption of the MPC Work Program. The Planning Commission, City Council or County Commission may also direct the MPC staff to update all or part of any plan as the need arises. This will also provide an opportunity to add new projects to MPCís work program in response to changing conditions.



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This is not a legal document. It does not replace or amend the existing procedures and regulations governing the publication of agency information. If you have questions, please contact MPC by telephone at (865) 215-2500.