City of Knoxville Annexation Policy
The city of Knoxville places a top priority for growth and economic
development within its present city limits through redevelopment
of existing parcels. This strategy makes use of existing infrastructure
that will support quality growth through greater use of infill,
rehab, and mixed-use development within the existing city limits.
However, because it is essential that any city must be in a position
to expand its borders to include urbanizing areas in unincorporated
areas on its edge, the city of Knoxville will supplement its primary
growth strategy through a secondary policy of external growth through
annexation of urbanized and urbanizing areas as envisioned by the
Tennessee Growth Policy Act.
Among the purposes of the growth policy legislation was that of
reigning in overly aggressive annexations while allowing local governments
to "more closely match the timing of development to the provision
of public services." The intent of the act was clearly to make
annexation more rational and predictable by identifying areas of
likely expansion for the city.
Pursuant to this act, the city and the county agreed on the urban
growth boundary. The areas included within this boundary are in
close proximity to the city already urban in character, or likely
to become urban in character. These areas are those jointly deemed
to be appropriate for eventual annexation by the city in order to
insure orderly growth. The city, through its plan of services, is
in a position to provide the additional services the city has the
capacity to offer and which are necessary in a more urbanized area,
for the protection both of the annexed parcel and of the citizens
of the city.
Thus the City of Knoxville must preserve its annexation prerogatives
within the urban growth boundaries. On the other hand the City has
no interest in pursuing annexations in the urban growth boundary
if such annexations are not at that time necessary to insure orderly
growth. While the fact of inclusion within the urban growth zone
provides fair notice to anyone owning or contemplating purchase
of property that annexation is a real possibility, it is appropriate
and desirable that the annexation be rational, predictable, and
While rationality and predictability can be specified with some
precision, reasonableness is, to some degree in the eye of the beholder.
Any calculation of any proposed annexation's reasonableness, however,
must include recognition that most citizens in the urban growth
boundary, and many beyond that boundary, enjoy the economic and
cultural benefits of living in a metropolitan area. It is thus reasonable
that they bear their fair share of the costs of maintaining and
enhancing the urban area and providing for its orderly growth within
the guidelines established under state law.
The City of Knoxville will abide by the following principles in
Volunteerism Many people request to be brought into the city. Moreover,
as a municipal corporation the city will seek to convince others
in areas where it is appropriate that it is in their interest to
join the city. The city will pursue voluntary annexations when such
annexations are consistent with the interest of city residents.
Indicators of Urbanization or Impending Urbanization The city will
pursue annexations in those areas proximate to the city that are
either developed or ready for development in the near future. Among
the indicators of likely development are sewer service, development
on or immediately proximate to the parcel, and platting of land
for development. Conversely, those living in areas without indicators
of impending urbanization can anticipate not being the subject of
Guidance and Predictability
Voluntary requests by individual property owners or by referendum
of property owners in a specified area in both the urban growth
boundary and the planned growth areas for annexation will be encouraged
and recommended for approval if the annexation would have a positive
impact on the health, safety and welfare of the applicant and city
Within the urban growth boundary -
The city will annex parcels contiguous to an existing continuous
city boundary if such parcels are developed or likely to develop
in the near future.
The city will annex parcels at least 50% surrounded by existing
parcels presently in the city if such parcels are developed or likely
to develop in the near future.
In all cases the city will take aggressive action to inform property
owners of any pending annexation action or opportunities and to
discuss the rationale for, and the impact of this potential annexation
on both the city and the affected property. The city administration
will provide an opportunity for the property owner to ask for reconsideration
of the annexation or of the timing or other terms associated with
the annexation The property owner must contact the City's Department
of Policy and Communications within ten days after receiving notice
of the intent to annex to schedule a meeting to present the case
for reconsideration. The administration will consider this request
for reconsideration prior to presentation to council for final action.