Historic Zoning – Review Process

The following text is taken from the Old North Knoxville Historic District Design Guidelines document, provided by the Knoxville Historic Zoning Commission and the Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission.

Historic Overlay Districts (H-1) and Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Districts (NC-1) have a set of design guidelines that residents and the Knoxville Historic Zoning Commission use to guide rehabilitation and new construction. These guidelines are drafted in consultation with a committee of neighborhood property owners and residents, and are adopted by the Knoxville Historic Zoning Commission, MPC and the Knoxville City Council. If a property owner is planning a construction project that affects the outside of a building, that owner must follow the guidelines and receive a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Knoxville Historic Zoning Commission.

If a building permit is required for exterior work, the property owner will be required to produce a Certificate of Appropriateness before the permit can be issued. It is better for the owner to meet with the Historic Zoning Commission or its staff to discuss the work that will be done. When the work is exterior work, the owner must apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness. The Historic Zoning Commission will review the project to be sure that it does not harm the historic appearance of the structure, or its structural integrity. A Certificate of Appropriateness will then be issued. If the proposed work is repair work that includes the repair of siding, soffit or fascia, windows, roof or some other features with identical material (called a Level 1 Certificate), the staff may issue the Certificate immediately.

The levels of Certificate of Appropriateness applications are:

Level 1; Standard repair of siding, fascia, soffit, windows, roof, or other features using identical materials and design.

Level 2: Major structural repair and replacement, such as a complete exterior rehabilitation or the addition of new space or an outbuilding.

Level 3: Construction of a new primary building or a subdivision, or for the use of a replacement material or a design that deviates from the adopted design guidelines.

Level 4: Demolition or relocation of a contributing structure.

The historic district regulations apply only to exterior changes, that require a building permit. Interior changes, landscaping, paint colors, or other things not requiring a building permit will not require approval from the Knoxville Historic Zoning Commission.

Old North Knoxville, Inc., as the organization representing the district, will be asked to appoint at least one representative to meet with the Knoxville Historic Zoning Commission at least annually, and to receive monthly notices of the meeting. The responsibility of Old North Knoxville’s representative will be twofold: 1) to provide information about the neighborhood to the Historic Zoning Commission; 2) to offer neighborhood opinions about applications for Certificates of Appropriateness.