Mayors and planners across the state are lining up to oppose a bill that would require local governments to pay developers for right-of-way acquisition.
“We need to maintain the ability to require developers to dedicate that right of way – their developments contribute to creating the need, and we want them to contribute an equitable share of the costs of making those improvements. This bill would make it very challenging for local governments to finance road improvements,” said Gerald Green, executive director of the local planning commission.
Residents of East Knox County gathered Sunday at the Carter Senior Center to share ideas about the future of their community. It was a convivial group, the mood lightened by giant scoops of Cruze Farm ice cream (peach and vanilla).
As Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) Executive Director Gerald Green has met with residents and business owners, he’s confronted a mix of attitudes, from oblivious to disgruntled.
Residents are disgruntled by development when they don’t understand the process and don’t get engaged, he says.
Gerald Green doesn’t have many positive memories of downtown Knoxville from his graduate school days in the early 1980s. He interned in a leased office with no windows, and he recalls a restaurant on Market Square but can’t remember the name. Beyond Miller’s Department Store and Big Don the Costumier, nothing else stands out.
Now, he thinks the city is great. Downtown, the river, the university, neighborhoods, greenways and people provide a great foundation, and Knoxville is building on it, he says.