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Weekend edition February 23, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

Knoxville-Knox County planning leaders prepare for votes on growth plan

Key areas of planned growth are Karns, Gibbs, Powell, deep into East Knoxville, and some parts of South Knoxville by the river.

Advance Knox is an effort to define a vision and create a plan that will guide growth, land use, transportation, economic prosperity, and quality of life in the Knoxville and Knox County area. As more people move to East Tennessee, city and county leaders are working to find solutions for smart growth. Over the next few weeks, elected officials will vote on the proposed Advance Knox: Comprehensive Land Use and Transportation Plan.

Why now?

TN Public Chapter 1101, passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in 1998, requires every city and county government to have a 20-year growth plan. The most recent growth plan for the area dates back to 2000. there were attempts to draft and approve a new update in 2019; however, those plans never came to fruition, due to disagreements, the pandemic, and other factors. Four years later, city/county leaders are making another attempt to draft and approve a growth plan.

The growth plan needs to identify areas for planned growth, urban growth, and intentionally rural zones. Some of the main growth areas, according to the proposal are unincorporated areas outside of Knoxville and Farragut. Karns, Gibbs, Powell, deep into East Knoxville, and some parts of South Knoxville by the river appeared on the map as planned growth areas.

The Knoxville- Knox County Planning Committee presented the proposal to a group of community members at the Knoxville Chamber on Thursday. One of the main concerns of the community members in attendance was increased housing without the infrastructure, stores, and parks to follow.

“Retail follows rooftops,” said Amy Nolan, the Vice President of Regional Development at the Knoxville Chamber. “Some of these areas aren’t going to get grocery stores, Starbucks, or Chick-Fil-As until the homes are built and occupied.”

“Our key to success right now is access to housing to attract young professionals to Knoxville and keep the ones we already have in Knox County,” said Ally Ketron with the Knoxville- Knox County Planning Committee.

Knox County is expected to have a population of 557,000 people by 2045, so the growth strategy comes at a critical time.

What’s next?

The growth plan must be approved by three legislative bodies. The Knox County Commission will have a chance to vote on February 26, the Knoxville City Council is expected to vote on March 5, and the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen is expected to vote on March 28.

During this time of voting, both Knox County Mayor Glen Jacobs and Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon may propose amendments and convene the Coordinating Committee to make potential recommendations.

If approved by all parties, the amendment will become part of Knox County’s Growth Policy Plan.

Ally Ketron, of Knoxville- Knox County Planning presents to the Knoxville Chamber.

Read the proposal from Advance Knox here.


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