Uphold the Northwest Sector Plan for Hardin Valley
Uphold the Northwest Sector Plan for Hardin Valley
Why this petition matters
We urge you to support the current Northwest County Sector Plan and zoning ordinances by critically evaluating land use applications for adherence to plans and ordinances.
There is a lot of Hardin Valley development activity on the December 2021 Planning Commission agenda. In front of Planning Commission in December are 3 rezonings and 3 residential development plans that have significant impact. If all are approved as requested by the applicants, it would result in:
- Estimated 801 lots (295 created by concept plan; 506 potential from rezoning approvals)
- Estimated 7,881 vehicle trips per day in the Hardin Valley Region (2,973 from concept plans for prior rezonings; 4,908 from new rezonings)
- Estimated 330 students (122 from concept plans, 208 from new students)
These plus the cumulative land use actions in the past several years, have residents looking at the cumulative impact on the area and need for investment in public services and infrastructure.
We are very excited about the Comprehensive Land Use, Transportation, and Park Plans initiative that is just starting. We believe that this update will positively position Knox County, and Hardin Valley, for future residential and economic growth. It will also help preserve our sense of place that makes our community so desirable.
It will take 18-24 months to update the General Plan and Growth Plan, and then we need to enact the plans through updates to the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations.
During the intervening time, with all the growth pressures and infrastructure investment needed, we ask that Knoxville-Knox Planning Commission and Knox County Commission:
- Uphold the existing Sector Plans by applying the plans and guidelines to land use decisions, without assuming that what the updated General Plan will have until it is agreed to and adopted.
- Ask if a request should be approved based on the big picture of the area - what is the availability of public services and utilities in the are, and how the land use decision will impact the characteristics identified as important in the Sector Plan
- Apply the requirements of the zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations to rezonings and Use on Reviews. With Use on Review applications, carefully consider character and adverse impact to neighbors, as impacts are more acutely felt in a more densely populated county.
- Look for opportunities where land use decisions can further projects already identified in sector plans, such as parks, greenways, new schools, or transportation projects
We urge you to support the current sector plans and and zoning ordinances by critically evaluating land use applications for adherence to plans and ordinances.
Some background for Hardin Valley
Schools: The three Hardin Valley Schools are over or very close to capacity:
- Hardin Valley Elementary: Capacity 900, Enrollment 1304, 5 portables, 2 more portables have been ordered
- Hardin Valley Middle School: Capacity 1200, Enrollment 1081, HV Elementary currently has the largest 4th and 5th grade classes in history
- Hardin Valley Academy: Capacity 1800, Enrollment 2125
Just the Dec 2021 land use requests in Hardin Valley estimate growth of additional 330 students in next 1-8 years. Knox County is building a Northwest Elementary School and will build a new elementary school in Farragut. Those still will just barely bring HV Elementary to capacity levels, but there is no relief or plan in sight for the middle and high school.
Roads: Looking at the 5/15 year improvement plan from the NW sector plan: The Karns Connector and interchange improvements at Hardin Valley / Pellissippi Parkway are completed. The Hardin Valley Mobility Plan was completed in 2019 after the Sector Plan, and it identified and prioritized 34 projects for the next 10 years. The total cost estimates ranged from $141 million to $151 million to complete all these projects. Knox County has a yearly capital budget of about $15 million a year for mobility/transportation projects across the entire county.
Utilities: There is an improved sewage treatment plant and TVA is bringing in a new high voltage transmission line to feed LCUB. But that means an unsightly transmission line crossing people’s properties and dominating their view. And while West Knox Utility District has submitted comments that they can provide new services for the development on Couch Mill Rd, we also understand they are asking Knox County Finance about available assistance with their utility projects that support growth in the northwest sector - projects totaling over $27 million for things like wastewater pumping stations to serve new and expanding neighborhoods, utility relocations caused by growth-driven road projects, and adding fire hydrants to neighborhoods that don't have them.
Using the Northwest Sector Plan’s 5/15 year improvement plan, we look at how we are doing in the bigger picture regarding:
Parks and Community Facilities: The 5/15 year plan identified 7 projects in Hardin Valley. The Middle School and Plumb Creek Park were completed. But none of the others have been started. Unfortunately the county condemned and demolished the Hardin Valley Community Center on Hickory Creek due to unsafe conditions, and also stopped use of that land for athletic practices. We have no community gathering location. Athletic fields on school grounds are in high demand and many teams are paying for off site practice areas. That’s why we keep asking for you to require new neighborhoods to put in pocket parks and recreational offerings. Many of you were at the Legacy Parks luncheon where you heard the statistic that a child who grows up within ½ mile of a playground is 5x more likely to be a healthy weight.
Land Use: The 5 year plan calls out 6 initiatives related to Land Use. One of them, creating a Rural Preservation zone, is complete on paper, but there’s no property in the county with that zoning applied, and no incentives for landowners or planners to use it. The other 5 land use initiatives haven’t started. We feel the sidewalk initiative took a step backwards, and we have less sidewalks being built. Codifying conservation subdivisions is something we desperately want in the Valley. It’s been called for in every county Sector Plan for the last 20 years.