Final draft of Cumberland Avenue improvement code released

Final draft of Cumberland Avenue improvement code released

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An artist's rendition of concepts in the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project. (source: City of Knoxville) An artist's rendition of concepts in the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project. (source: City of Knoxville)
The form-based code includes detailed specifications for such matters as building height, signage and parking.  (source: City of Knoxville) The form-based code includes detailed specifications for such matters as building height, signage and parking. (source: City of Knoxville)

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A project to improve the Cumberland Avenue corridor near the University of Tennessee campus took another step forward Friday when a final draft of guidelines and regulations was released by the city.

The Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project includes improvements to traffic patterns and public features on a commercial section of the street, from 17th Street west to the railroad overpass.

The guidelines and regulations, called a form-based code, establish zoning and design requirements for the corridor.

The code includes detailed specifications for such matters as building height, signage and parking.

"The idea being really to encourage a year-round mix of residences to support these businesses," said Anne Wallace, project manager for the city of Knoxville. "Unfortunately, on Cumberland right now it becomes less vibrant when the students aren't in."

The proposed code also makes it easier for buildings to have mixed uses.

"It's okay to have a mix of uses on one property and we're encouraging that retail on the first floor, second floor office and above that residential uses," Wallace said.

The city said the purpose of the code is to help make the Cumberland Ave Corridor a year-long destination, instead of having businesses rely on foot traffic from UT.

Local businesses told 6 News they hope the city acts fast to ensure business is secured year round.

"Summer time is more like a ghost town," Emad Aljaber, owner of Niro's Gyros on 17th Street, said. "Christmas time is the worst, talking about December all the way to January 15 and that will be a very slow time for everybody. We will not be able to survive if they take a long time."

The code was developed by Code Studio of Austin, Texas, after city officials conducted a series of public meetings.

The code will be discussed at the next meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Commission, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 12 at 1:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building, 400 Main St.

If the MPC recommends approval of the code, the City Council will take up consideration of it. Two readings are required before council members can approve adoption of the code.

The code and other details of the project are available for review at www.cityofknoxville.org/cumberland.

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