Wed
Dec 5 2007
12:26 pm

(Click image for larger view)

This huge monstrosity suddenly appeared on the South Waterfront over the weekend. Apparently it's a KUB water tower, and required no approval or coordination with the City.

Wonder what the South Waterfront project folks think about it? It certainly doesn't help the view from Club Le Conte (where this photo was taken from) either.

UPDATE: Another view submitted by a reader (click for larger image):

Factchecker's picture

Oh, yeah

I meant BZA variances, which I should know well enough not to make that error, since I've attended a number of those. Thanks for the correction.

Rezonings would be another tool of course.

Factchecker's picture

Zoning that protects ridge

Zoning that protects ridge tops and steep slopes must become a top priority.

Better late than never, but edna has a great point. The same economics that have made steep slope development attractive can "get around" steepness per se--i.e., they just flatten the damn hills in their way. (Works for coal-rich hills too!)

Such zoning laws need to be robust. Density and other restrictions must prevent loopholes (big enough to drive an earth mover through--heh) and MPC should stop routinely granting zoning appeals. Developers need to be treated more like the greed-thirsty thugs too many are, and not like gods, as has been the tradition.

scottfrith's picture

Ridges and Views

Our ridges and views give our community its identity and we must protect them. It's one of the reason I got involved with the Legacy Parks Foundation. We're out soliciting landowners to donate conservation easements, or sections of their ridgeline, for protection and perhaps even a ridgeline trail system.

Knox County is dominated geographically by ridgelines running east-to-west. If you put a low-impact walking trail along the ridgeline (much like the Cumberland Trail), you'll both protect the ridgelines (and the accompaning views) and increase our greenway/walking trail system. I believe ridgeline trails offer us the greatest opportunity to radically change the way we think about active recreation in our community.

MPC and the City and County governments all have their part in this. It's our obligation as citizens to let them know that we expect our ridges and views to be protected so that they can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Rachel's picture

MPC should stop routinely

MPC should stop routinely granting zoning appeals.

Um, being technical here but MPC doesn't grant appeals. BZA grants variances and Council/Commission hears zoning appeals.

Do you mean MPC shouldn't grant rezonings?

"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones." - John Maynard Keynes

Joe Hultquist's picture

Hideous water tower

The tower was constructed by Dovetail Development of Athens, GA, the developer of the Woodlands development. They needed better water supply than existed on the ridge for their new development, and struck a deal with KUB. The tank was built on a parcel that was annexed by the City of Knoxville, but that annexation was then blocked by a lawsuit filed by Arthur Seymour, Jr. on Dovetail's behalf. That allowed them to build Woodlands Phase 1 and the tank under Knox County rules (such as they are) rather than city regulations.

KUB has told me that they required Dovetail to build the tank to their specifications. It is my understanding that they forced Dovetail to build it so it would also service the older Cherokee Bluff Condominiums that have apparently suffered from poor water pressure all of these years. That would explain the otherwise unnecessary extra height of the tank. Without that higher elevation demand, a ground mounted tank might have sufficed.

There are a lot of "ifs" here, but that's all they are now. If City Council had decided to hold Dovetail's feet to the fire, and not approve zoning on Phase 2 until they agreed to several other requirements (including allowing all of the property to come into the city), I believe it would have made a major difference. If we had included that ridge area in our south waterfront zoning in some way, in order to protect from just such travesties, controls could have been in place that everyone (including KUB) would have had to comply with. Unfortunately, I failed to convince other decision makers in both those cases, and I take responsibility for that failure.

I was told by KUB today that, given the increasing demand for ridge top land that was not considered attractive for development in the past, we should expect more of this kind of thing in the future. My response was that we should take that as a clear indication of the need to get ahead of this problem before we're faced with any more of these debacles. Zoning that protects ridge tops and steep slopes must become a top priority.

bizgrrl's picture

I was told by KUB today

I was told by KUB today that, given the increasing demand for ridge top land that was not considered attractive for development in the past, we should expect more of this kind of thing in the future. My response was that we should take that as a clear indication of the need to get ahead of this problem before we're faced with any more of these debacles. Zoning that protects ridge tops and steep slopes must become a top priority.

Thanks, Joe. Good information and we appreciate your efforts.

Too bad this all didn't come out before these apartment/condos were built. Why can't they use pumps?

smalc's picture

I don't know much about fire

I don't know much about fire codes, but I doubt it would be allowable to rely on pumps for fire flow.

rocketsquirrel's picture

regarding a ridgetop zoning

regarding a ridgetop zoning ordinance, it seems to boil down to:

density
grading
tree removal
road corridor width
building height
walls

interesting powerpoint here from Asheville re zoning ordinance issues.

re Dovetail, I think some councilmembers have some serious explaining to do on their failure to protect the city and abdicate responsibility to the county on this.

edna waters's picture

Slope protection

Zoning that protects ridge tops and steep slopes must become a top priority.

Start w/ MPC. They routinely disregard the rules that are on the books today. The results are very apparent in Knox County. I've asked MPC for a slope analysis on a particular development on the edge of the city. When I showed it to the developer he had NO idea what slope protection was and I have every reason to believe he had never heard anything about the limitations his property would yield if he followed the slope protection rules. If he adhered to the limitations, the number of houses he could build would be significantly lower. To solve this problem, he will simply blast the slope away and eliminate the "steepness" that could lower his bottom line.

This is how things get done out here in the county - we stop at nothing to keep the developers in business.

jbr's picture

What has happened with ridge

What has happened with ridge top and steep slope development in Sevier County should be enough of a deterrent. Just an absolute mess.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Water

The 500 year flood, once it comes, will provide you a more permanent solution.

I figure a 6" rain build up behind the shotcrete retaining wall might do in the parking lot. Don't think the destruction would do in the building. A flood like we had in 1983 WILL inundate the parking garage.

As for the water tower, there was a perfectly good water tower on Cherokee Trail for years and years, smack dab in the middle of phase 2 Woodlands and about 50' above the road. Funny thing, you never noticed it? Well it had a 50' hill beneath it and trees all around. You could see it in the winter if you were looking for it, otherwise, not.

____________________________________
Less is the new More - Karrie Jacobs

R. Neal's picture

Well, at least it draws the

Well, at least it draws the eye away from those not-so-lovely condos across from the sewer treatment plant.

jbr's picture

I believe the developers of

I believe the developers of those condos are from Atlanta. Perhaps they are a guise to purloin h2o. Might explain their odd choice of location across from the sewer plant.

I am sure it has been said, but the Scottish Pike neighborhood contributes unique character to the waterfront development. Sort of like a 'Little Italy' section of a city has a charm and culture. Those types of things evolve naturally, cannot be born of a development mechanism naturally given to homogenized views.

Joe328's picture

Atlanta Developer

If the developer is from Atlanta, that may explain why the water is so far above the ground. So much of Georgia is small hills, most all water towers are elevated high above the ground.

Andy Axel's picture

...it draws the eye away

...it draws the eye away from those not-so-lovely condos across from the sewer treatment plant.

The 500 year flood, once it comes, will provide you a more permanent solution.

____________________________

With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.

jbr's picture

Maybe the plan is to put a

Maybe the plan is to put a digital billboard on it.

mbradley's picture

Paint it orange and slap a

Paint it orange and slap a huge "Baden" on it. It can either be an annex for the women's hall of fame or maybe a place to hang a banner when it comes time to beg Bruce Pearl not to take the Kentucky job...

smalc's picture

Hmm, did they really need

Hmm, did they really need that extra elevation that the tower provided over a tank on the ground? You don't see many towers on the top of hills or ridges, they are mostly used in flatter land.

Maybe it should have had a theme. Like the apple ones in VA, peaches in GA, or oranges in FL. What could a Knoxville tower be? A football? A bit T?

Brian A.'s picture

Weekend?

That was erected in just a few days?

Funny how some projects are deliberated for years, while others just pop up out of nowhere.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Andy Axel's picture

Looks like the Sunsphere is

Looks like the Sunsphere is getting a little competition.

____________________________

With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.

jmcnair's picture

The Rainsphere? Bleh.

The Rainsphere?

Bleh.

Rachel's picture

I think I can safely say

I think I can safely say everybody who has to look at it hates it. It's like they tried really hard to put it exactly where it would mar the views of the ridgetops.

I heard talk yesterday of a ridgetop proctection ordinance from someone at the City (something I've thought was a good idea for years, and which has been met mostly with shrugs). But KUB'd probably be exempt anyway.

"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones." - John Maynard Keynes

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.

TN Progressive

TN Politics

Local Media Blogs

Shopper Columns

Local News

News Sentinel

State News

Wire Reports

Site Statistics

Last 7 days:
  • Posts: 24
  • Comments: 293
  • Visits: 12,246
  • Pageviews: 29,360
Last 30 days:
  • Posts: 106
  • Comments: 1609
  • Visits: 48,136
  • Pageviews: 122,390

TN Progressive

Nearby:

Beyond:

At large: