Wed
Oct 10 2018
07:11 am

Recode Knoxville: Accessory units could double density

Nick Della Volpe takes a look at Recode provisions for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). He says they would be allowed in any residential zoning and that this could "double the density with the stroke of a pen."

That last part is an exaggeration, because not everybody will build an ADU on their lot. But he does raise some interesting points, and he has some comparisons to ADU regulations in other jurisdictions.

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Rachel's picture

I would love to retire to an

I would love to retire to an ADA in my own neighborhood. And the idea that increased density is always bad is one of those myths that just won't die.

bizgrrl's picture

Where would you park? Could

Where would you park? Could take a bus I suppose or Uber or Ethra :)

Rachel's picture

Srsly? Your first concern is

Srsly? Your first concern is my gd CAR? There's plenty of space on the street around here. And there are lots of places where parking could be adjacent to ADUs. For example, we have a driveway in front and a carport in back off the alley. Both of my next door neighbors have driveways that go all the way through from street to alley.

But really, parking wouldn't be my first concern.

EDIT: We already have illegal ADUs in this neighborhood. As do many others, including Sequoyah Hills. AFAIK, nobody sees that as a problem.

bizgrrl's picture

Sorry(: Whenever I drive down

Sorry(:

Whenever I drive down the boulevard there are cars parked on the street. Thought there was a parking problem.

Our old house on Fisher Place wouldn't handle extra parking much less an ADU.

R. Neal's picture

But you had a bus stop right

But you had a bus stop right in front of your house. (And a car parked there would ave drawn complaints from KAT or whatever it was back then.)

Bbeanster's picture

Srsly? Your first concern is


Srsly? Your first concern is my gd CAR? There's plenty of space on the street around here. And there are lots of places where parking could be adjacent to ADUs. For example, we have a driveway in front and a carport in back off the alley. Both of my next door neighbors have driveways that go all the way through from street to alley.

But really, parking wouldn't be my first concern.

EDIT: We already have illegal ADUs in this neighborhood. As do many others, including Sequoyah Hills. AFAIK, nobody sees that as a problem.

Why so nasty?'
Seriously (I like to spell stuff out, which I know is uncool), maybe parking is not a legitimate concern in your neighborhood, but it is in mine. Two of the houses across the street have been inherited by children of the neighbors who lived there when I moved in, years ago, and they now have multiple residents, many of whom prefer to park in front of my house, frequently blocking my driveway or parking too close to the intersection (I live on a corner). They hog up the parking spaces that my visitors, delivery people and/or the guy who works on my house would otherwise use.
I understand they don't have a lot of frontage, and just tiny stubby driveways that accommodate only a single car, but I get real damn tired of dealing with them, especially when their alarm systems go off and won't stop honking.

Many of us do NOT have driveways, and the alley behind my house was closed and deeded back to property owners years ago.

There are other issues, too. Our neighborhood association has been working on infill guidelines for some time, and I understand those won't be allowed. We also worry that the push for multifamily housing will lead to loss of housing stock, which we don't want to see.

I would hate for my next door neighbor to add an ADU in his back yard and I do not wish to do that in mine, either. We are plenty dense already and we are already affordable.

So no. I'm not down with these changes, which are pretty damn drastic for my neighborhood and feel quite oppressive. The notion that some consultant or some bureaucrat will make such fundamental changes to the neighborhood where I live doesn't sit well with me and I agree with the notion that we should put it to a referendum.

Also, I haven't done a survey, but I'm told that the ADUs in Sequoyah Hills and other affluent neighborhoods were servants quarters. I'm not sure "illegal" is the correct term for them.

Bbeanster's picture

I am even more reliably

I am even more reliably informed that I'm correct about the history of ADUs.

Housing for domestic servants" was indeed a permitted accessory use in all zoning districts. That is why they are in Sequoia Hills and Westmoreland and on large estate-sized lots. It was Article V, Section 4, of the zoning ordinance.
Up Goose Creek's picture

Chattanooga

Don't you think you would be happier retiring in Chattanooga?

There is a lot of that urbanist mindset and they offer electric busses and such.

NiccoD's picture

Recode ADUs

Hey guys, The article was not intended to judge all ADUs as good or bad, but rather to recommend that we consciously debate this as a community. My objection, if you can label it as such, is the notion that we can somehow sneak this into a zoning code update— supposedly focused on zoning neutra/ textual cleanup textual updating.

The article contends that allowing ADUs on every tract over 5,000 sq. ft., in every zone, without full transparent community and council debate is wrong. The people need to be engaged. One’s choice of a neighborhood and it’s lifestyle needs to be respected until a majority opt to change it.

A Trojan horse, slid into a 200 page technical and dry document is not appropriate governance..

bizgrrl's picture

Maybe it will bring about

Maybe it will bring about more HOAs restricting ADUs.

Ann Malone's picture

I found most of your article

I found most of your article to be helpful. Thank you. But I think it would be best if we just avoided the accusations and questioning of motives and keep this focused on substance. Nobody has any reason to sneak anything in. Nobody is acting in bad faith. The ADU issue has been very widely discussed in many meetings and in many places. It will be discussed at MPC and then it will be sent to the elected body, City Council, where it will be fully debated and voted on. There are sound arguments all around this issue.

NiccoD's picture

ADUs — Airing it out

Good point Ann. Leave the adjectives and colored remarks on the shelf. The Article is intended to help us focus on this issue, so we can have the needed communal discussions. Best to leave it at that.

michael kaplan's picture

To allow doubling the density

The proposal is in effect changing R-1 zoning to R-2; someone thinking they were going to live in an R-1 neighborhood will now be living in an R-2 neighborhood. To potentially allow doubling the density of nearly every residential neighborhood is something that should probably have a ballot referendum.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Variance

Why doesn't a permit for an ADU require a variance? That would provide an opportunity to examine if the lot is suitable, if parking will be a problem, etc. The example of a bus stop is a good one. Some lots are just not suitable for on street parking (topography, traffic etc). Also neighbors would have an opportunity to voice concerns. The variance process is not that much of a hurdle.

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