Knoxville Mayoral candidate and local business owner Eddie Mannis today called for a halt to the current effort to pass the proposed Recode, which changes the zoning of properties across Knoxville.
“As I travel across the city talking to communities and hearing what’s on their minds, one word continues to come up time and time again,” said Mannis. “That word is Recode. And usually it’s presented with frustration and a sense of anger.”
Mannis believes in updating outdated or obsolete ordinances and that it is vital that all city ordinances reflect the changing needs of Knoxville. “During my time as Chief Operating Officer for the City, we took on the task of tackling the antiquated parking ordinance, so I know first-hand the challenge of this task,” Mannis said. “Looking at the bigger picture for Knoxville’s development is a good thing but it’s clear that the process for recode is not working right now.”
Mannis noted that Knoxville has a done remarkably well under the current code. “The current code allowed us the flexibility to help turn downtown from a place with lots of empty buildings and few visitors to a vibrant, thriving area,” he said. “We’ve seen old buildings repurposed and are now homes, hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, and more. The current code is obviously flexible enough to work.”
Mannis called for a step by step process that would allow for a more concise focus. “Let’s take the residential code, which impacts family’s biggest investment, their home, and study just residential zoning and make changes or updates as needed. We can take as much time as needed to codify residential zoning and then move on to another area such as commercial, industrial or office. Each zone is important enough that it needs to be the sole focus of the work.”
Mannis says just asking for a simple delay is not good enough. “We need to revaluate this entire process and consider another approach,” he said. He hopes property owners from across the city will encourage Council to consider and take this approach.
“The Mayor and Council have taken on the incredible initiative on getting this project started and I applaud them for that, but there is still a tremendous level of angst on just how this change will impact individual’s property values, entire neighborhoods, business and organizations.”
“We are talking about people’s property rights here, so we don’t need to rush this change. As Mayor, I’ll be committed to making sure that we systematically examine and update all our ordinances as needed and continue to work with our communities to be certain they participate in the process every step of the way.” said Mannis. “We will do so in an intentional manner so all those impacted have an opportunity to review what we propose.”