The new East County Sector Plan covers 65.3 square miles of Knox County, between the Holston and French Broad from where the rivers enter the county on the east to where they meet at the headwaters of the Tennessee. But from the start of the current revision, most attention has focused on the proposed business park off Midway Road. As Knoxville Vice Mayor Bob Becker says, "It's 42,300 acres, and everybody agrees about 42,000 of them."
Here are some of the significant proposals for those 42,000 acres:
• French Broad Conservation Corridor: The Metropolitan Planning Commission recommends a conservation overlay district that would establish guidelines for any new development along the banks of the French Broad. Among other things, it suggests "measures that could specifically prohibit development that would potentially harm endangered species, conserve trees and ground cover along the river and re-establish native vegetation." It also suggests discouraging the construction of new sewage treatment plants, a major fear of local preservationists.
• Scenic Highway Corridors: Knox County could designate sections of Asheville Highway, Andrew Johnson Highway, Governor John Sevier Highway, Strawberry Plains Pike, and Midway Road as scenic corridors, restricting billboards and other signs and accommodating cyclists and pedestrians.
• Conservation Subdivisions: New zoning could create incentives for developers to cluster homes more densely and leave more open farm or forest land.
• Carter Town Center: The plan envisions new, medium-density development in the Carter area along Strawberry Plains Pike and Andrew Johnson Highway, including "pedestrian-oriented commercial uses and vertical mixed uses" (e.g., apartments above street-level shops). But it emphasizes the need to work with local residents and business owners in developing the town center idea.
Download the current draft of the full plan here: East County Sector Plan