Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

City Council, 1st District

Knoxville City Council
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    Rebecca Parr Production Manager, UT School of Music Opera Theatre

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    Stephanie Welch Vice President of Operations, Great Schools Partnership

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

The city has embarked on an ambitious two-year project to overhaul our local zoning code. What changes would you like to see? What parts of the existing code should be retained?

What do you think the vision and objectives of the present council and administration have been? How would you like to build upon or change that direction?

Please provide examples of how you have served the community in the past five years and how you think those efforts have prepared you to serve on city council.

Campaign Phone (865) 566-1653
I would like to see a restructuring of our codes to reflect the changing times our city is experiencing. I would like to see more opportunity for multiple use spaces become available for inclusive housing and development that serve all of our people greater access to amenities and healthier lifestyle. The multiple use spaces can be used for affordable housing, homegrown business, community gardens, and overall integration within existing areas of our city. I would like to see the zoning a better reflection of equitable distribution for business and housing with an emphasis on preserving our wild spaces while still staying focused on the welfare of the people and our neighborhoods. I think there should be very thoughtful planning and decision making in the future layout for infrastructure possibilities and how those will effect the overall plan for our cities in regards to existing communities.
The vision for the city has been downtown development and greater use of our outdoor spaces. This development has spread to areas outside of the downtown. I feel that our planning and strategies for sprawl and improvements has not taken into full account the impact on existing communities and families and has caused a decline in affordable housing. My concern is that we need to include everyone in the decision making and that a fairer distribution of money, if not a greater portion of spending, should have the needs and focus on people before parks, expansion, and continued development. We also need to have a greater focus on what is taking place in our neighborhoods and with our families regarding the opioid epidemic. This issue is effecting the lives and well being for all of our futures . Intervention and decriminalization of addiction, and long term solutions for recovery should be a primary focus for everyone.
2013-Current; Marble City Opera Board 2013-Current; Head Start Policy Council, Chairperson. 2013-Current; Community Action Committee Board Member 2017 Class; Community Action Leadership 2017; CEO's for Cities Conference Greenville SC 2017; Tennessee Action Committee Conference, Chattanooga TN
Campaign Phone (865) 368-5307
Community preferences have changed since Knoxville’s zoning ordinance was adopted nearly 60 years ago. The current ordinance has been heavily amended and favors a suburban, separated development pattern. Complex variance requests and interpretation of the outdated code is often needed to meet growing demand for walkable and mixed-use development. The new code must provide simple, clear land use standards to promote efficiency of public resources, continued private sector investment, and improved clarity for property owners and neighborhoods. The ordinance must also retain the character of existing neighborhoods and business districts that we value while promoting more diverse development, including mixed uses and connections to support multiple transportation modes. I serve on the 20-member advisory committee for Recode Knoxville, and I’m pleased by the many opportunities for our community to have a voice in the process as the final product will shape Knoxville for years to come.
In an era marked by political divisiveness, it’s notable that our city leaders have worked well together on shared priorities. New council members must build on this respect and professionalism, which has helped move us forward as an economically vibrant, environmentally sustainable city with strong neighborhoods radiating from a thriving downtown. I have had the opportunity to support this momentum and establish positive relationships by serving on city-appointed committees and engaging in community processes, and I support current priorities such as the Urban Wilderness, corridor redevelopment, and strong city services. Knoxville’s success has also created new priorities. As demand for urban living grows, there is a growing need for diverse housing options for residents of different ages and income levels. Although the city doesn’t directly manage schools, engaging with schools is also a priority as education directly affects prosperity, crime, safety and the health of our community.
I have been actively involved for many years to help make Knoxville a great place to live, work, play and learn. Within the past five years, I’ve served on the Knoxville-Knox County Food Policy Council, chaired Knoxville’s Better Building Board, and served as a Chancellor’s Associate at the University of Tennessee. I currently serve on boards for Ijams Nature Center, Leadership Knoxville and the YMCA. I also serve as a 17-year veteran and Officer in the United States Army Reserve. Through my current work at the nonprofit Great Schools Partnership, I oversee several programs that bring resources to public schools and families to support student success, and I have helped expand Knoxville’s community schools initiative to 15 sites. I am committed to this service because I love Knoxville, and feel that my experience, leadership skills and the positive relationships I’ve formed over years of active engagement in our community will be an asset to the First District and the city as a whole.

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