google-site-verification=M255BswdwO81cMuJI538R_JmOw56tE2pIpF0zhanY4I Uncertainty In East Knoxville

Uncertainty In East Knoxville

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

People need to realize that these homes in East Knoxville are gold mines.

Why are people upset with Jennifer Montgomery?

Is it for having vision?

Is it for the tactics her company uses to obtain properties?

Is it to late to buy the neighborhood back?

Houses are and always have been wealth builders except in East Knoxville.



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People need to realize that these homes in East Knoxville are gold mines. Why are people upset with Jennifer Montgomery? Is it for having vision? Or is it for the tactics her company uses to obtain properties? Is it to late to buy our neighborhood?

Houses are and always have been wealth builders except in East Knoxville.

Historic overlay divides East Knoxville's Parkridge community

Gloria Hunter’s soft whisper of a voice doesn’t get very loud, but she’s direct.

She met a group of community members last week in East Knoxville’s Parkridge neighborhood in the home next door to the home she owns and rents out to her daughter and another young woman.

She and her husband bought the home on East Fifth Avenue before he died in the late 1980s.

Now, 30 years later, she is part of a group of Parkridge residents and investors that are concerned about a proposed H-1 historic zoning overlay district that’s been drawn for 522 homes in the community.

The group is afraid the guidelines will be restrictive, expensive and will eventually price people out of the neighborhood, changing the makeup of the community.

“It would create a hardship on me because I get a social security check, I’m retired, and I don’t draw a whole lot of money and that house was supposed to be sort of backup money to help me in my retirement,” Hunter said.

Proponents of the overlay say the restrictions are limited, not financially burdensome and reiterate that change is happening already, so why not direct it in a healthy way with an overlay?

“All the H-1 does is say, ‘Okay look, if (development) is going to happen and we couldn’t stop it if we tried, but we want to channel it to say, 'Hey, welcome to the neighborhood, here’s what makes it special’ … it makes a common expectation,” Magnolia Avenue resident John Craig said.

The ‘golden egg’ of property values

Kennie Riffey has been a leader in the Parkridge community fighting the H-1 overlay for months. Riffey and the group of residents say they understand property values are already increasing as downtown Knoxville continues to be a more inviting place.

But Riffey said an H-1 overlay would expedite the process. Already, in the past few months two homes in Parkridge, one on Woodbine Avenue and one on East Fifth Avenue, have sold for over $250,000. These homes are down the road from homes which are currently listed for sale for under $100,000 and some listed under $40,000.

“My question is, how high do you want to go? What do you want to push it to until you’re happy?” Riffey asked.

“It’s more important about the building than it is about the people in the community from a housing standpoint (in an H-1), and we’re here to preserve the neighborhood and help uplift it from the inside,” she said.

Gloria Hunter’s neighbors, Glen and Tammie Spidell moved into Parkridge in 2013. Tammie said an H-1 overlay would be property development, not community development, and that’s not right.


Tammie Spidell and her family, from right, Stephen and Glen with their neighbor Grace Resha, left, who rents from Gloria Hunter. “The concept of the H-1 is you invest in the community by investing in the property and really the property is kind of pitted against the people that are here,” Spidell said. “And they’ll say this is community development, but in actuality, I don’t think of community as being property.” (Photo: SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)


“The concept of the H-1 is you invest in the community by investing in the property and really the property is kind of pitted against the people that are here,” she said. “And they’ll say this is community development, but in actuality, I don’t think of community as being property.”

Parkridge Community Organization President Jennifer Montgomery lives in the segment of Parkridge that is already in an H-1 overlay. She said the neighborhood is made up of small and large homes, which is good.

“I like that there are big houses and smaller houses in my neighborhood,” she said. “I like that because it creates affordability and more people can afford less house.”

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