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Mediation Begins in Parkridge Dispute

Monday, August, 20, 2018

Knoxville’s O’Connor Senior Center’s Community Mediation Center is considered one of the area’s best kept secrets and is expected to help resolve a number of community disputes, including the issue that has arisen among homeowners in East Knoxville.  The dispute is related to varying opinions concerning development in the area in the future.


On one hand, neighbors want the current historic overlay to extend to cover most of their area.  The other group does not want any restrictions that would come with an overlay.


In response to the dispute, the city has offered possible compromises, including establishing an NC-1 zone in the area.


An NC-1 zone or “Neighborhood Conservation Overlay” recognizes some buildings and houses as having “primary significance. ” It also plays a role in whether or not a structure could be demolished or a new structure could be added to property.  It has no bearing on non-historic homes or buildings.


The goal of mediation is to get the neighbors involved in the dispute into the same room to discuss options.  The executive director of the Community Mediation Center made it clear that her team is not there to solve the dispute, but to guide conversation among those involved and help them negotiate a resolution on their own.


The center has already proposed a plan that will make the process structured – something that is very important when a large group of people are involved in mediation.  The groups will be at different tables, be invited to share their opinions, and then the mediator would help the groups find common interests to build on.