The Knox County Commission approved an amended version of the Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan on Monday, Nov 21. The plan includes an amendment offered by Commissioner Richard Briggs that clarifies the plan is advisory and allows Commission to deviate from it when reviewing rezoning or development plans.
While the Knoxville Chamber has always been in favor of protecting the community's scenic viewscapes, it opposed the original plan because it was too broad. The Chamber supported the Briggs' amendment and was pleased to see the amended plan pass.
"There are some very good things in the Hillside & Ridgetop Protection Plan and with the amendment it is clear that those things are advisory," said Mike Edwards. "The Chamber has been involved in this process because land use decisions are so important to economic development. Businesses and individuals are attracted to this region because of its amazing scenery, but we must be able to affordably provide the housing and commercial services they need."
Voting for the amended plan were Commissioners Briggs, Anders, Hammond, Brown, Smith, and Ownby. Commissioner Wright abstained making the final vote 7-3-1.
The plan will now be sent to the Metropolitan Planning Commission board so it may review and provide comment. It can vote to recommend the plan, recommend against it, or return it to Commission with no recommendation. Commission will then have to approve the plan to make it operable.
The Knoxville City Council has scheduled the Hillside & Ridgetop Plan for consideration on Tuesday, Nov. 29. The Knoxville Chamber will be asking Council Members to amend the plan so the slope guidelines in the city and county match.
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