Staff recommends a change to the composition of the Planning Commission and that Council
Adopt Resolution No. 2014-51 to initiate amendments to Salem Revised Code Chapter 6 increasing from one (1) to two (2), the limit on the number of members who may be principally involved in buying, selling, or developing real estate for profit, and a limit of one (1) to two (2) the number of members who may be engaged in the same business, trade or profession as allowed under ORS 227.030.We are in thrall!
So it's not quite that bad - the Staff Report notes that other nearby cities also have up to two real estate / developer types on their planning commissions. But clearly this is why Council paused on appointments to the Planning Commission earlier this year and held open one spot. It's not likely a conspiracy, but it sure gives off a whiff or two of cronyism.
Ah, but the big stinky is at the Blind School. At Howard Hall the City seemingly has no interest in applying the values in our historic preservation codes and our transportation plan as updated in Bike and Walk Salem.
|Plenty of room|
- The tree and parking lot variance (see comments for clarification)
- The "call up" on the demolition permit
SCAN asked about improving crossing Mission at Church and at Winter, as well as to ask about improved bike lanes, and the City said, "take a hike."
Sometimes the plain meaning of something suggests the City is misapplying a rule or policy. Here in this particular detail I don't think that's the case. But what is interesting is that the City really has a choice: The City can choose to coordinate and improve things and adopt a generous interpretation of the values in higher level plans, or the City can duck under procedural technicalities (valid, so far as they go) and say they are helpless or don't need to do anything more. The latter is the choice here.
This is a fine example of the way that so much of our planning and governance is more about words than deeds. When it comes down to actual decisions about implementing the values in things like Bike and Walk Salem and our historic codes, the City too often chooses not to walk the talk.
Speaking of parking lots, free parking means the City-owned parking garages require an infusion of over $700,000 in urban renewal funds for capital expenses.
There are some details on a tiny bit of right-of-way acquisition for the pedestrian median at 17th and Nebraska.
Information on a Cherriots application for a FTA "ladders of opportunity" grant to fund new buses and the South Salem Transit Center. Cherriots does not appear to be in line for a ConnectOregon grant to plan the Transit Center, and this grant is for "construction" so there's still some detail missing. Perhaps Cherriots has identified a site and not announced it yet. More to come, clearly.
Also information on Grocery Outlet on D street between Front and Commercial. It got rezoned to be in compliance and apparently to stage things for investment and improvements there. The application talks about keeping the grocery there and adding other uses. So that sounds like a very good thing. It would be great for this area to get some redevelopment. The news about the fire at the UGM store, just across the street from the grocery, suggests the Mission's shelter facilities will be moving to that site as well. I'm not entirely clear on this. There may be some future conflicts over what kind of redevelopment we want in this area and what kinds of gentrification are welcome and what kinds are not.
There's an intergovernmental agreement between the City and ODOT for new signal connectivity on our traffic lights. It would be great to see smart flexibility on signal timing around town! (But the "internet of things" also brings its own vulnerabilities, of course!)
The proposed Legislative priorities for the 2015 session contains an interesting transportation tidbit:
Pass a comprehensive transportation funding and policy package that includes elements such as a gas tax increase of 5 cents/gallon, expansion of the state's commitment to a transportation user fee based on vehicle miles traveled and a 50%-30%-20% split of new highway revenues between the state, counties, and cities.I don't know the signficance of the 50/30/20 split, and will have to check on that. (Readers, anyone know what the current split is? A reader supplies the answer: 60/24/16!) But it's interesting to see support for a tiny, tiny increase in the gax tax as well as support for a VMT tax. (Remember, taxes on houses and property are funding the current road bond, not any fees or taxes on cars and car use.) In truth we need a much larger increase. (In a comment below, Jim points out that there's actually two layers of "recommendation": The League of Oregon Cities sent out a slate of possible priorities; the Council subcommittee "recommended" subset of seven for "consideration"; and then recommends votes in support of an even smaller subset, four out of the seven. Why the "recommendation" for three non-recommended is not at all clear. This is misleading, and a detail I missed. The gas tax and transpo funding bit is one of the three non-recommended "recommended" policy proposals.)
There's formal transfer of already-committed Urban Renewal funds for construction on the Minto Bridge.
And appointments to the West Salem Redevelopment Advisory Board and other committees