Give Parkridge an Up or Down Vote on Historic Overlay!
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Knoxville City Council is considering an important zoning change for Parkridge Community in East Knoxville, Tennessee. The proposed zoning change has been a matter of debate for over two years now, and Parkridge residents want and deserve a conclusion to this long-drawn process.
Here's the background:
Edgewood-Park City National Historic District falls mostly within Parkridge Community in East Knoxville, Tennessee and is a nationally significant testament to Knoxville's urban development history, from an 1890s streetcar suburb to its height as a post-war textile mill community.
25 years after earning designation as a nationally significant historic district, Parkridge's East side remained unprotected by local historic zoning overlay, with absentee owners literally running Knoxville's history into the ground, collecting rents or sitting on real estate but making precious little investment back in the community. Thirty-two structures were lost. Many more remain threatened by neglectful absentee landlords miles distant from the community and the disrepair, blight, and crime issues linked to vacant, blighted residences and lots. (Details here: http://knoxmpc.org/edgewood-parkcity/)
Contrasting Parkridge East side's deterioration with the Parkridge West side's stability, neighbors recognized the disparity and worked to bring local historic zoning protections to stabilize the East side. Since May 2015, neighbors have diligently petitioned City leaders to consider the issue and idea of protecting more of the remaining homes in Parkridge East with the one residential zoning overlay with a proven track record of saving homes: H1. We refuse to relent in our fight against blight and the absentee landlords, banks, holding and "limited liability" corporations that own 56% of the properties in the area we sought to bring local historic overlay protection.
Fast Forward to November, 2017
2.5 years later, across scores of volunteer hours, public meetings, discussions, study, debate and deliberation by multiple advisory groups, the matter finally came before City Council on November 7, 2017, when Council approved the zoning change on first reading. Council was set to vote again on November 21.
On November 14, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero intervened in the process, advising Council to table the issue indefinitely, citing a need for "further discussion" and that "heated discussion" has made civic leaders "uncomfortable." (See the Mayor's Statement).
What We Need from You
Please help us tell Mayor Rogero and City Council that "discomfort" comes with the job of being an elected official. In an era of continuing resolutions, extensions, and re-certifications, whatever happened to "The Buck Stops Here?"
The residents of Parkridge have done their civic duty over the past 2.5 years. Please help us tell Mayor Rogero and City Council that enough is enough: it's time for City Council to give Parkridge a resolution to this zoning question that has embroiled the Parkridge Community in debate for over 2.5 years now. Up or down - we've all done our jobs as citizens. Now it's time for our elected officials to do theirs.
Whether you agree with the zoning change or not - please let City Council know "discomfort" with debate is not a reason to abdicate leadership - help us demand:
Give Parkridge an Up or Down Vote!
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