• KCPA

Fact Check: Recent Trends for Use on Review and Development Plan Appeals

Updated: Aug 16

Is there a developing trend regarding appeals of Uses on Review and/or Development Plans to the Knox County Board of Zoning Appeals and then going to Chancery Court? Is there a ‘tremendous increase’ in appeals? Is everything appealed ending up in Court?


Based on the data we have collected - NO. Data sheet here for appeals of Uses on Review and Development Plans .

Taking a look at just Development Plans, which is the current subject of the zoning ordinance proposal. The average number of development plans appealed to the BZA each year is just 0.6. The trendline starts 2008 at 0.5 appeals to the BZA a year and rises to about 0.8 appeals to BZA per year by 2022. For reference, from Jan 2020 to July 2020 an average of 3.5 residential development plans were approved by the Planning Commission per month while 1 per year was appealed to BZA, so this is an appeals rate of 1 out of every 42 development plan approvals.


The fifteen-year mean (average) is 0.66 appeals of development plans to BZA, with a standard deviation of 0.82. In other words, any year where there are 0 or 1 development plan appeals falls within 1 standard deviation of the mean. The only year that was an outlier was 2015.


There is no developing trend regarding appeals of development plans (residential, or otherwise).


The chart below shows the number of appeals each year for Uses on Reviews and Development Plans, and then those that were further appealed to court

The trendlines for Appeals Uses on Review to BZA, Appeals of Development Plans to BZA, and Further Appeals of Uses on Review are all lower than 1 per year in 2022, showing very very slight increases over a 15 year period. Appeals for Uses on Review to Court have trended down over that timeframe.

 

Glenn Jacobs said BZA is just an unnecessary piece of red tape:

"You know, currently what happens is that you go to BZA, and then you always end up going to Chancery Court almost anyway, uhm, so all it does is add a couple months in that process." Glenn Jacobs to WBIR on July 25, 2022


This statement is false. The chart below shows appeals of Uses on Review (sometimes they were just Development Plans) from 2008 - Jul 2022. 5 of 16 cases (31.3%) appealed to BZA ended up in Chancery Court, 11 of them (68.8%) did not proceed further to court.


If you restrict this to the time that Glenn Jacobs has been County Mayor (since Sept 2018), the percentage appealed to court GOES DOWN from 31.3% to 28.6%. 1 out of 3 Use on Review appeals to BZA, and 1 out of 4 Development Plan appeals, proceeded further to court. 71.5% of cases appealed to BZA were resolved there.


 

"Every appeal we have received thus far in 2022 is currently under litigation, further illustrating that as it relates to development plans /Uses on Review, BZA is becoming merely a purgatory" - a county official to KCPA


This claim is 50% false.


In 2022 to date (Aug 15, 2022) there have been two items appealed to the BZA - a Use on Review for a convenience store on Johnson Rd, and a development plan for the Mission Hills subdivision.


  • True - the Johnson Rd Use on Review is under appeal to court, because the BZA ruled that there were issues of standing and thus BZA did not hear the appeal from Planning Commission. At the January 2022 BZA meeting, a postponement was discussed and it was agreed to a 2 month postponement since there were only 5 BZA commissioners present at the meeting in January and the development applicant knew they were out of town in February. At the March 2022 meeting, the BZA ruled that the appalent did not have standing to file.

  • False - the second item appealed, Mission Hills subdivision, saw BZA affirm the decision of the Planning Commission in March 2022. That was the end of the appeal of the development plan. The Planning Commission's approval of the Mission Hills Subdivision Concept Plan approval was then appealed to court, but that is a separate item from the development plan, governed by the subdivision regulations and with a different appeal process (from Planning Commission, straight to court).

From Jan through Jul 2022, 27 residential development plans were approved by the Planning Commission, with one (3.7%) of those appealed to BZA. 2,244 dwelling units were approved by the Planning Commission from January to July 2022. 26 of those units were involved in an appeal that the BZA and affirmed. That’s 1.16% of dwelling units approved by Planning Commission were later appealed to BZA, and BZA affirmed it.

 

If there are any errors, omissions or corrections to this data, please report it to contact@kcpa.us

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