Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT) – The Knox County Commission will continue to consider a proposal from Mayor Glenn Jacobs that could change how Zoning Board appeals work.
The current county code allows residents of Knox County to file an appeal with the Zoning Board before taking it to court. Mayor Jacobs’ current proposal would send all appeals directly to the court.
Several Knox County residents turned out for the county commission meeting on Monday to express their dissatisfaction with the possible change. Many said they could not afford to hire lawyers for appeals.
“If you let developers go straight to the court system, it’s going to be very prohibitively expensive. It’s going to be prohibitively expensive for one. It’s going to take too long to have to take the time to maybe speak with a lawyer,” said a resident of Knox Co.
County Commissioner Justin Biggs said this county code change would allow Knox County to grow further and reduce the cost of homes. He said that if this did not change, prices would continue to rise.
“I feel like BZA has an opportunity to get in the way of us, and right now the climate was right now, and we’re not taking things into consideration and moving forward in a model of self-respecting people, so it might continue to bother us for some time,” Biggs said.
Other Knox County residents don’t see the current code as a problem.
“Don’t take us away just yet. It’s something that hasn’t been abused,” said another Knox Co. resident. “It will give builders an unfair advantage.”
According to the county commission, there have been 16 Board of Zoning appeals since 2008. Eight of them have come in the past three years, but anyone could file one in the future.
Mayor Jacobs said county officials need to do their part to help build housing across the county.
“The housing shortage in Knox County has reached critical levels, putting the cost of housing out of reach for many Knox counties.” needed it the most,” Jacobs said.
The committee approved the measure on its first reading with a 7-3 vote, with one committee member choosing not to vote. Commissioner Richie Beeler said he wanted to side with Mayor Jacobs on the matter, but he will need convincing before fully endorsing it.
The commission is expected to discuss the issue again in August.
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