The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Monday, 18 December 2023 20:43

UPDATED: Are we ready to let a data-driven process change the future of Knox County?

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It was supposed to be the second meeting of the Growth Policy Coordinating Committee

The meeting was not conducted according to its announcement — as the official meeting of the Knox County Growth Policy Coordinating Committee for the second reading of the plan — but downgraded to a public comment session!
A repeat of the same mistake made with the October meeting, which also was not publicly announced in a newspaper with the minimum 15 days due notice required by state law! Thus, that meeting was held as a “forum for public comments” only.

Knoxville — The Knox County Growth Policy Coordinating Committee (GPCC) will meet on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. in the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building, 400 Main Street.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the proposed amendment to the Growth Policy Plan and hear from members of the public.

Note: Anyone who wishes to sign up to speak, can do so by calling 865-215-2005 by Tuesday, December 19 at 12:00 p.m.

Advance Knox was promoted as a public-participation effort to come up with a 20-year plan for growth in Knox County

Hellbender Press reported regularly on Advance Knox progress. In the end, there remained little public enthusiasm for the plan that resulted after two years.

At the “public information” meeting on Oct. 24 and at the first official GPCC meeting Nov. 27, the vast majority of attending citizens were upset by the Knox County Proposed Future Land Use Map. It showed that 17.5 square miles of land would be moved from ‘Rural’ to ‘Planned Growth.’ It appeared that little, if any consideration has been given to best agricultural soils.

Many Knox County residents may be unaware that Agriculture still is an important part of the Knox County economy, contributing — and stimulating through its multiplier effect — $4 billion in local annual incomes. 

Agriculture’s significance to community resilience is growing as climate change progresses! Any loss of productive land to other uses is irreversible (at least as long as civilization can persist in this region).

The plan also lacks important elements that must be considered in such far-reaching decisions. Focusing primarily on traditional economics, the Active Knox process did not assess uncertainty of its future scenarios and made no attempt to analyze and project the impacts of the land use changes on society and the environment.

Another issue of great contention for some neighborhoods is the attempt of developers to get even more acreage assigned to planned growth when the map had already been published.

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Last modified on Saturday, 23 March 2024 21:42