KINGSPORT - The Kingsport Regional Planning Commission is expected to take action this week on a measure to protect the identity and character of the radial streets neighborhood.
The commission will consider Thursday night the creation of the Radial Streets Conservation Overlay District. The district includes 122 parcels in the downtown area located on such roads as Hammond Street, Holston Street, West Wanola and East Sevier Avenue.
Earlier this year, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved an ordinance that allows for the creation of conservation overlay districts within the city. Residents can petition for a district to be created, with specific boundaries and appearance guidelines for homes and buildings.
The first such district includes the aforementioned radial streets neighborhood, which came about from a three-year-old study of the neighborhood.
"(Alderman Ken Marsh) asked us in 2003 to look at that area because it was declining. The churches were encroaching from one side and the hospital from the other. You were ending up with a lot of parking lots and housing that was deteriorating," said Kingsport planner Sharyl Carter. "The overlay district was a result of that study."
The overlay district aims to preserve the housing stock and traditional neighborhood style of the radial streets community. The district includes the following guidelines.
â€¢All structures should have a primary entry that faces the street and a front yard should be provided with perpendicular walkways from the sidewalk to the home's entry.
â€¢Parking spaces should be located at the rear half of the building lot and not allowed in the front setback. Circular driveways are inappropriate.
â€¢Building and roof forms and materials should be similar to those seen in the neighborhood, and all secondary structures should be placed at the rear portion of the lot.
All houses will have to adhere to these new guidelines. The district does not include rules on paint color or siding.
"The main thing is front-facing porches and your sidewalk leading to the street," Carter said. "It's more a matter of scale, location and layout."
For an overlay district to be implemented in a neighborhood, the guidelines must first be agreed upon by the residents. The matter then goes before the Planning Commission, which would vote on rezoning the neighborhood to the new district.
City planners would be responsible for making sure the overlay requirements are met when new homes come into the neighborhood or when work on existing homes is performed. Violators could be cited into court.
However, property owners could come before the Planning Commission and request rezoning to get out of the overlay district.
Carter said no other neighborhoods in Kingsport have expressed an interest in creating an overlay district.