Understanding the Planning Process

Rezoning

When a property owner wants to use land in a way that is not permitted by its current zoning, the owner must request to rezone the property to a classification which permits the desired use. 

Zoning protects the rights of property owners while promoting the general welfare of the community. It's used to locate particular land uses where they are most appropriate, considering public utilities, road access, and the established development pattern. In addition to categorizing land by uses such as residential, commercial, and industrial, a zoning ordinance also specifies such details as building setback lines, the height and bulk of buildings, the size and location of open spaces, and the intensity to which the land may be developed.

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Plan Amendments

The city and county are divided into 12 sectors for long-range planning purposes. Sector plans are updated every five years and provide guidelines for area developments and improvements for the next 15 years.

Within the city limits, the property owner must file an application to amend the city’s One Year Plan before certain rezoning requests can be considered. There is no One Year Plan for the county, as zoning decisions are primarily based on sector plans.

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Use On Review

Special uses may be established and maintained only with the approval of the Planning Commission, including planned commercial, planned residential, and shopping center district development plans.

This procedure provides a method to consider uses that benefit the community, but may involve a potential development hazard unless appropriate provisions are made for their impact and is intended to integrate the proposed use with other uses in the district.

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Appeals Process

Some recommendations made by the Planning Commission require further action by either Knox County Commission or Knoxville City Council. In other cases, the decision is final - unless appealed.

Appeals made to the City Council must be filed no later than 15 days from the date of the action taken by the Planning Commission. Appeals made to the County Commission or the County Board of Zoning Appeals must be filed no later than 30 days. Information about the appeals deadlines is published in the Additions, Changes, and Corrections to the Agenda Package on the Planning website.

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Concept Plan

The Process

Final Plat

Commission Review Staff Review