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  • KCPA

Building Activity vs. Development Plan Approvals

Summary: We are approving more units each year through our land use planning process than we are actually building in unincorporated Knox County.

From Jan 2020 through Jul 2022, 7,963 residential dwelling units were approved on Development Plans that went through Planning Commission and the BZA. In that same time period, only approximately 5,400 building permits were issued. About 2,500 more dwelling units were approved through the Development Plan process than builders actually pulled permits for. Yes, there is a lag between units approved at Planning, and then when they are actually built. But we have two years with extremely large gaps - 1,000 units more approved each year than building permits pulled.

Development Plan review, approval, and appeal processes aren’t a limiting factor in the rate of actual construction. We are approving more units than the market can build.


Units Authorized by Development Plans

Unit Building Permits Issued (Approx)

Building Activity Surplus / Deficit









2022 through July








About the Data

Data for units approved by Planning / BZA was compiled by KCPA by reviewing the Planning Commission agenda minutes and verifying the KGIS Cases tool. If you are aware of any errors, omissions or corrections to this data, please let us know by emailing

Data for the Unit Building Permits Issued (Approx) is from the Development Activity Dashboard which generated this graph:

Filters were set to:

Permits by Jurisdiction: ‘Knox County Balance’

Permits by Type: Multi-Dwelling, Mobile Home, Attached Dwelling, Detached Dwelling

Date Range: 01/01/2020 through 07/31/2022.

Note that the line graph is units covered by the building permits, not the actual number of permits, since one permit can cover multiple units.

Development Plans only authorize units to be built in, and are used in only certain zones. Building permits encompass all zones. A building permit may be issued for a new house on a piece of property zoned Agricultural, and this building permit would not have an associated Development Plan. If development plan approvals and building permits were in equilibrium, we would expect to see slightly more building permits approved than development plans approved, because some building permits do not require a development plan.


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