The overlay is designed to encourage technology and related land uses while preserving the area's forested ridges, rolling hills, and broad valleys. The zoning is fairly flexible and allows most types of office and light industry, with limits on retail development.
A grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission allowed a team of consultants to develop a concept plan and guidelines addressing setbacks, lot coverage, signs, landscaping, lighting, access, and architecture. Planning staff wrote a comprehensive plan based on the consultant's work, and this plan was adopted by the Knox County Commission in 1984. The result was a 7,000-acre technology overlay zone stretching through west Knox County along the Pellissippi Parkway, north of I-40/75.
In April 1999, the operations of TTCDA were turned over to Knoxville-Knox County Planning. Applications for building permits, grading permits, sign permits, and rezoning certificates are assigned to the TTCDA staff, and their recommendations are considered by the TTCDA Board of Commissioners at monthly meetings.
The TTCDA has seven members who serve staggered five-year terms. One member is appointed by the governor, five members are nominated by the governor and confirmed by the Knox County Commission, and one member is a current Knox County Commissioner.