Corridor Overlay Workshop -- followup observations

Corridor Overlay Workshop -- followup observations

Postby Nick Della Volpe » Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:05 pm

The workshop on the Corridor Overlay did a good job of explaining its purpose and general operation. It showed a corridor overlay can be a useful tool, when used in conjunction with sound sector planning and review and adjustments to the underlying zone to control the type of development desired uses and commercial and other activity permitted in an area.

Three comments by one of my constituents, Carlene Malone (not able to attend due to recent surgery), warrant our continued evaluation and probably some adjustment to the corridor requirements (note: some edits done for flow):

1. The corridor overlay is the only overlay that does not have a board, including citizen members, to issue the Certificate of Appropriateness. With the corridor overlay the Director of MPC does that.

2. As written ONLY the APPLICANT can appeal to MPC. So, there is no way for a non-applicant citizen to get to City Council with an appeal since he can't get to the MPC to challenge the original decision.

3. At the implementation stage, the public is out of the picture —they may not even know when a Certificate of Appropriateness is being considered, since it is a private deal between the Applicant and MPC Director.

Discussion: A comparison with Historic and Neighborhood Conservation District appeals to court, instead of City Council doesn’t work—they are different situations…not to be compared with other overlays, and controlled by state law. There is a Historic Zoning Commission to deal with. In short, an Authority or Commission established by the State is quite different from a "board" or "committee" set up locally for the Infill or Downtown Overlay.

Regarding Technology Park Overlay, there is a Tennessee Technology Corridor Development Authority. These authorities and their makeup are clearly set out in the zoning ordinance itself.

There are NO similar public authorities regarding other overlays, such as IH_1 (Infill Housing) or Dowtown Design Overlay. These overlays are appropriate to compare to Corridor Overlay. And, both of these have Design Review oards or Committees.

The note goes on to discuss the third point in more detail: the significance of public input at the Certificate issuance stage:
Why is it important for the public to be involved in the issuance of the Certificate of appropriateness and the right to appeal to MPC?
It is at the point of issuance or denial of the Certificate of Appropriateness that the adopted guidelines of the corridor are interpreted. That is where the rubber hits the road. The adopted "guidelines" are going to cover "Building and related development characteristics;" among other things. If the citizens who participated in the public process which resulted in City Council adopting a specific Overlay district and its guidelines, do not feel the guidelines are met (interpretation of the guidelines) when the Director of MPC issues a Certificate of Appropriateness, there is not a thing that citizen can do. He may not even know a Certificate of Appropriateness was under consideration or issued until he sees the bulldozer moving dirt, because there is no provision for a public meeting or advertising stating that a plan is under consideration.
In short, we should continue looking at the best way to accomplish the MPC proposal, to be sure it is a useful tool with ample provision for participation.
Nick D
Nick Della Volpe
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:00 pm

Return to City Of Knoxville, Tennessee / City Council Forum