KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Mayor’s Office announced Tuesday that it has completed its draft version of “Advance Knox,” a comprehensive land use and transportation plan.

The plan has been in the works for two years, being developed with input from stakeholders and the public. County officials looked at what areas in the county would be suited for development, and what areas should remain rural.

Senior Director of Engineering and Public Works Jim Snowden named Hardin Valley, Gibbs and Chapman Highway as a few areas where the county expects growth and believes expansion there won’t create undue expense to taxpayers.

Snowden said through public input, they learned residents like the rural character of the community in the county. However, they expect 70,000 people to move to Knox County in the next 20 years, so they have to account for both.

“We have to balance both the needs for the rural preservation, as well as the growth, and what we’ve done with that is put some restrictions on the rural area to not really allow that sprawl to occur, but to accommodate the growth, we’ve also allowed for expansion of the plan growth area with higher intensity uses so we could marry those two together,” Snowden said.

The next step for the drafted plan is for the Growth Policy Coordinating Committee to update the county’s Growth Policy Plan, which will begin during the public meeting on Oct. 24.

After the growth plan is adopted, the draft will be considered by the planning commission. The county commission will have the final vote, which is expected to happen in early 2024.