What the Mayor, Scott Davis and Hancen Sale Didn’t Tell You
Mayor Jacobs and his buddies on County Commission have beaten the last breath out of the magically emotional phrases ‘housing shortage’ and ‘affordable housing’ – to convince you that those poor (multi-million dollar) corporations paving over Knox County like gold rush prospectors are hamstrung by red tape. Seriously? Dang our lying eyes.
Listen to the Mayor for heaven’s sake! He’s from the government and here to help you (er, who)? Our savvy Mayor has worked very worked hard to clear the runway for developers. How many ‘affordable homes’ have been or are being built in the process? By our count, exactly – 0!
Last night, over widespread well-organized opposition, six commissioners, like wheat in a windstorm, bowed to the Mayor and stunningly voted to give real estate developers veto power over (state- law-mandated) citizen appeals of development approvals! They ignored the advice and objections of numerous lawyers who said their action is illegal. But hey, what’s new? They are the government and you are not. Or said another way, they have the county pursestrings and you do not. Who will sue to straighten out yet another bone-brained Knox county $$$ debacle?
Mike Moyers of the County Law Department did yet another bewildering pretzel dance and gave them the legal obfuscation they needed for cover. If the County is sued yet again, so be it. The taxpayers pay. In the meantime, rumor says resistant commissioners fear the prospect of their district’s projects being frozen or slow-walked by the Mayor’s office.
The Mayor and development cabal cleverly led by lame duck commissioner and county employee Randy Smith once again trotted out young Hancen Sale of the Board of Realtors to tug at heartstrings with carefully curried statistics and sympathetic rhetoric. Notorious developer Scott Davis had his say as well.
In all the hoopla over the dreadfully ill-conceived Randy Smith/Glen Jacobs proposal, no one mentioned the real causes of Knoxville’s red hot housing demand that is making millionaires wealthier while pushing first time and low income buyers completely out of the market. How odd they did not mention historically low interest rates, pent up post-Covid demand (with home office space a new necessity), a huge influx of disenchanted blue state refugees, nor the BIG elephant in the room – INSTITUTIONAL BUYERS.
Take a look at Bloomberg Financial’s article on the institutional buyers the Mayor didn’t mention but which are filling Knox County property owners’ mailboxes with cash offers daily.