Tag Archives: MPC

New zoning code will shape how Knoxville grows

Wendy Smith
Government/Politics columnist

Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission Executive Director Gerald Green has been talking about Knoxville’s outdated zoning code ever since he came to town in July 2015. Now that the city is on the cusp of updating the code, MPC staff needs guidance from the community.

“Knoxville is driving to the future in a Maserati going 150 miles per hour − looking in the rearview mirror,” he said at last week’s Fryer Talk, hosted by the East Tennessee Community Design Center. The talks, named for ETCDC cofounder Gideon Fryer, explore design issues.

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Expect McWherter re-appointment

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

President Obama will re-appoint Mike McWherter to a second term on the TVA Board of Directors this year. McWherter, son of the late Gov. Ned McWherter and Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, lives in Jackson in West Tennessee.

No one from Knoxville or East Tennessee now serves on the TVA board for the first time in several decades.

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Proactive planning safeguards neighborhoods

Wendy Smith
Government/Politics columnist

Anyone who’s ever wondered how an auto repair shop or an apartment complex could spring up next to a subdivision of single-family homes (and that’s everyone who pays attention) should understand sector plans.

Sector plans are born after Metropolitan Planning Commission staff collects information like current land use, population, transportation and utilities for a chunk of the city or county. Then, using public feedback, they come up with 15-year plan to guide growth. After it’s adopted, they use it to make decisions about what should be allowed where.

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Letting in the sunshine

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

The Jan. 6 meeting Mayor Rogero had with Knox lawmakers in her office over breakfast was finally opened to the public after Rogero’s spokesperson, Jesse Mayshark, said the day before the meeting that it was closed. The decision to open was made literally the day before the meeting.

His comments triggered unrest among the Knox lawmakers who had not asked for a closed meeting and advised Rogero that they preferred the meeting be open. The reasons given by Mayshark for closing the meeting seemed strange as relating “to this bill, that bill.”

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Majority of commissioners in favor of Midway

Wendy Smith
Government/Politics columnist

A survey of Knox County Commissioners revealed that most either favor or are leaning toward approving a zoning change that would allow for the creation of Midway Business Park in deep East Knox County.

Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission recommended a sector plan amendment and rezoning of the proposed 345-acre business park at its Nov. 12 meeting. A vote on both requests from the Development Corporation is scheduled for a vote Dec. 21 by Knox County Commission.

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New members ahead for MPC

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Three city members of MPC had their current terms end June 30 but Mayor Rogero has not acted to replace them two months later. Since all have served two terms, Rogero will not reappoint them.

They are Bart Carey, Michael Kane and Jack Sharp. When the new members are named, they will have a few months shaved off their term due to Rogero’s tardiness in naming replacements.

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Harwell idea delays vote on gas tax

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

House Speaker Beth Harwell has urged that part or all of the $400 million in additional state tax collections should go for new roads and existing road repairs. This is new money coming into the state treasury that was not anticipated when the state budget was enacted a few months ago.

What is significant here is that Harwell is voicing a game plan for the Legislature to tackle the road issue in a way that would enable it to avoid a gas tax increase vote in the 2016 session starting in five months. This would be new money one time for roads and would allow the lawmakers to skip a gas tax vote in an election year.

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Jim Henry can help Bill Haslam

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Recently, comments were attributed to Gov. Bill Haslam regarding the proposed gas tax hike that seemed out of character for him. He was quoted from Shelbyville telling gas tax opponents to “bring it on” if they wanted to fight a gas tax increase.

As many readers of this column know, Bill Haslam is one of the nicest persons you will ever meet. He is never derogatory about opposing points of view and prefers resolving issues to confrontations. So when he urges opponents to go to war with him, that is not the Bill Haslam we know.

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City staffers form private business

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Lance Campbell, who has been the city’s real estate manager for less than two years, is leaving the city within the week. Not clear why he is leaving so soon. But it is clear he has been in business with Doug Gordon, who is the city’s delinquent tax attorney in the city law department and is responsible for identifying tax-delinquent properties.

Gordon and Campbell are the two members of Box Turtle Properties, which is a corporation formed Sept. 11, 2014.

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Allen sets low bar for ‘tough on crime’

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Lots of folks are wondering how former Knox County Trustee Mike Lowe got such a light sentence after pleading guilty to theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from county taxpayers.

While he got 10 years, he serves only one year, which will be reduced to seven months assuming good behavior. He was assessed a $200,000 fine, but no schedule was announced for paying it over the next 10 years. What happens if he fails to pay in a timely manner or at all?

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