Historic Zoning Commission

Old North Knoxville H: Level IV


Staff Recommendation for Demolition of primary structure

Staff recommends a 30-day postponement of reviewing the proposed demolition, to allow further opportunity for neighborhood input and any potential solutions to ensure thorough review and documentation of the extant historic house, salvage of any remaining architectural features, and compatible new construction on the lot.

Applicant Request

Other: Demolition

Demolition of primary structure and associated secondary structures. Main structure has been determined to be an "unfit dwelling by the Public Officer and has been placarded as unfit for human habitation" due to deferred maintenance and multiple violations of the 2018 International Property Maintenance Code. Demolition is requested by City of Knoxville Neighborhood Codes Enforcement following a 120-day repair/demolition order at the 9/30/2022 Public Officer Hearing.

Site Info

Queen Anne, c.1910

Two-story frame residence with a side-gable roof clad in asphalt shingles, an exterior of vinyl siding, and a brick foundation. Enclosed porch extends the full length of the façade. Multiple secondary entries.

1. 217 E. Scott Ave is listed as a contributing resource the ONK local historic overlay, with a designation dating to 1981, and to the ONK National Register Historic District, with a determination made in 1992.

2. The original form of the house is obscured by multiple additions to the front, side, and rear elevations. The house also features multiple secondary entrances to provide access to interior apartments, an exterior of vinyl siding, non-historic replacement windows, and an enclosed front porch which would not meet adopted design guidelines.

3. The City of Knoxville has determined that the structure is a hazard to public health and safety, reflected in the Public Officer's determination of the house as an unfit dwelling for human habitation. Basic visual assessment of the building's exterior shows missing fascia, exposed roof elements, cracked and open foundation elements, and vegetation leading to moisture issues on the foundation and siding. City and HZC staff have not evaluated the house's interior.

4. The National Register definition of architectural integrity is defined by seven aspects: location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. Properties determined to be contributing or non-contributing resources to a National Register Historic District are typically evaluated by exterior characteristics only, so the following determination does not take into account any original interior features which may remain. In the opinion of staff, the house would be considered a non-contributing resource if re-evaluated for the NR district or the local overlay (specifically, it lacks integrity of design, materials, workmanship, and feeling). Current exterior modifications to the house (and a lack of documentation of the original design) would make restoration of the house's original elements challenging or conjectural.

5. The existing house is large in footprint, compatible in scale with the high-style, larger Queen Anne examples on E. Scott and E. Oklahoma Avenues. A new house constructed on the lot would need to adhere to ONK guidelines for contextual height, scale, and massing, and may require variances from the base zoning to remain compatible with the neighborhood context.

6. Demolition of the house will not ensure resolution of all issues associated with the Public Officer determination (unpaid City taxes, owner not residing on the property, etc). If a COA is granted by the HZC and a demolition permit is secured for the house, the lot could remain vacant and potentially blighted for an undetermined amount of time.

7. Public input is not involved in the process of requesting or issuing demolition permits. Other than the Public Officer Hearing, the Historic Zoning Commission is the primary avenue for public/neighborhood input in the demolition of a historic house which once contributed to the neighborhood's overall integrity.


Scott Elder City of Knoxville

Planning Staff
Lindsay Crockett
Phone: (865) 215-3795
Email: lindsay.crockett@knoxplanning.org
Location Knoxville
217 E. Scott Ave. 37917

Sean Eric Imfeld