Letter from Mayor RE: City Parcels on Fifth Avenue and VMC

Madeline Rogero

8:35 AM, Dec 12
to ParkridgeGwenWilliamBeckySheryl

Dear Lynne,


I am writing you to follow-up on my email of September 3, 2019 in which I explained our plans to proceed with supporting VMC’s request to build permanent supportive housing on three city-owned parcels at 1605, 1615, and 1617 East Fifth Avenue to complement their planned purchase of the building at 1501 E. Fifth which is presently owned by Positively Living (PL).   Anticipated City action involved the rezoning of these parcels and the closure of Myrtle Street.


In the last few months we have continued to discuss these plans and heard from Knoxville residents about both the need for permanent supportive housing and the neighborhood’s desire to maintain the existing green space.  I appreciate the suggestion by some Parkridge residents that VMC build their new units on the existing PL property and the land acquired through the Myrtle St closure.  This seems like a reasonable compromise.


As a result, I asked VMC and they agreed to consider designs for expansion only on the existing Positively Living site and the land that would become available to them with the closure of Myrtle Street. Meanwhile, VMC is proceeding with their due diligence on the Positively Living property in anticipation of purchasing the site in January 2020.


Given this, the City will request that the rezoning of the 3 city-owned parcels on Fifth Avenue be withdrawn when it appears on the Council agenda again on January 28, 2020 (per Council’s postponement action on November 5th).


The City also will recommend to City Council that they approve the closure of Myrtle Street when it appears on the agenda again on February 11, 2020, and that the right-of-way in its entirety be deeded to VMC.  VMC will then seek the appropriate rezoning to allow them to increase their number of housing units at this newly expanded property site.


Meanwhile, I will request that Knoxville – Knox County Planning amend the Central City Sector Plan and One Year Plan for the three city-owned parcels on Fifth Ave to reflect the City’s intention that the city properties remain as open space.  [As you know, Sector Plans provide guidance on anticipated land use and development over a 15-year period.  Since 2003, the Central City Sector Plan has recommended that these three parcels be developed for Mixed Use / Medium Density Residential (MU-SD/MU CC-4)].


I will also request that the Central City Sector Plan and One Year Plan be amended to allow the expanded PL/VMC property to be developed at an appropriate increase in density.


I have instructed Sheryl Ely, Director of Parks and Recreation, to incorporate the 3 city parcels  into the programming of Caswell Park (https://bit.ly/2t30fCA) and to work with the neighborhood to program the space to complement existing park amenities at Caswell Park and nearby Parkridge Park.


I am hopeful that this compromise will reflect the City’s continued commitment to permanent supportive housing and, along with the great news on the proposed redevelopment of the Standard Knitting Mill site, will underscore the importance of the Parkridge neighborhood and the City’s commitment to its future.


I have reviewed this correspondence with Councilwoman Gwen McKenzie and with Mayor-elect Indya Kincannon and they both expressed appreciation for this reasonable compromise.


Please let me know if you have any questions or recommendations.



Madeline Rogero


Mayor Madeline Rogero

City of Knoxville

400 Main Street, Suite 691

Knoxville, TN  37902


Executive Assistant:  Ms. Terry Alexander


865-215-3643  Office


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