|Council Work Group Report on Sustainable Services|
- Vision for Growth and Development Council Work Group includes Councilors McCoid, Cook, Lewis, and Nanke. Lisa Anderson-Ogilvie, Interim Community Development Director, serves as the lead staff person.
- Affordable Housing, Social Services, Homelessness Council Work Group includes Councilors McCoid, Andersen and Cook. Andy Wilch, Housing Administrator, serves as the lead staff person.
- Economic Development and Downtown Council Work Group includes Mayor Bennett and Councilors Nanke, Hoy and Kaser. Kristin Retherford, Urban Development Department Director, serves as the lead staff person.
- Critical Infrastructure Council Work Group includes Councilors Ausec, Lewis, Nanke and Kaser. Peter Fernandez, Public Works Director serves as the lead staff person.
- Sustainable Service Delivery Council Work Group includes Councilors McCoid, Andersen, Ausec and Cook. Kacey Duncan, Deputy City Manager, serves as the lead staff person.
- Public Transportation Council Work Group includes Mayor Bennett and Councilors Kaser, Lewis, Hoy. Julie Warncke, Transportation Planning Manager, serves as the lead staff person.
Over on Facebook there was some debate about the first version of the Work Session agenda, which contained no "Public Comment" period. It seemed to be persuasive, and a second, revised agenda has been posted which does contain an official period for Public Comment.
Initially defending the lack of a Public Comment period in the Work Session, in that thread Councilor Nanke said
A worksession is just what it impies, a chance for Councilors to discuss what has been brought forth from the public forums and subsequent meetings to discuss the issues from them. Mayor Bennett has changed the pattern recently, allowing public comment at some worksessions, which I think is very valuable. In my opinion, this is not the meeting for that. It is a chance for Councilors to discuss the issues, taking more of their valuable "weekend time" to look at what has transpired though work groups to digest the public input that we have received. There will be opportunity for public comment at a subsequent meeting. To bring public comment to this worksession would make it a full day ordeal, rather than have it be for council discussion.Given the scope of the recommendations from each subcommittee, as well as the overall scope in totality, this does seem reasonable, and hopefully small details that attract criticism or comment will not dominate and erode consideration of the big picture and high-level values. It would be easy to rat-hole on relative trivia. There's a balance between a need to focus on the planning project and being open to public comment, and hopefully they can find it.
One of the important topics is "sustainability," here not so much environmental as budgetary (chart at top).
RecommendationThis could be a great opportunity for the City to talk officially about ways that providing for walking, biking, and busing mobility is much cheaper than road expansion for auto mobility.
The City must identify the services and levels of services it desires to sustain and methods to generate the funding necessary, or reduce the costs required, to provide those services. Solutions to achieving fiscal sustainability may require tradeoffs, reduced programs, or new or increasing revenue sources.
The Report on Growth and Development also touched on a pattern of disconnect or contradiction:
[P]opulation and employment growth cannot be accommodated in the Salem area without new development. There is disagreement in the community, however, as to how development should occur. This is reflected in community reactions to City projects as well as private development proposals.
This lack of general consensus was also captured in the telephone survey conducted as part of the City’s strategic planning process. For example, many people think multifamily housing should be added near already-developed areas, while others want Salem to prioritize single-family development at the City’s edges. Similarly, many residents prefer the mixing of uses such as housing and s hops, while some want development that separates commercial and residential uses.
|Via Brent Toderian and Sustainable Prosperity|
Though the Report offers a range of possible actions, its recommendation is for the most expensive and extensive, a full-blown update to the Salem Area Comprehensive Plan.
The Affordable Housing and Homelessness Report also contained an important subpoint on holism or integration here:
Enhance neighborhood livability and resident engagement through thoughtful affordable housing site selection, development and design, which prioritizes access to transit, proximity to services and the creation of a sense of community. [italics added]The Economic Development and Downtown Report is a bulleted list only, and it does not seem as thoughtful as the others. It seems to rehearse existing programming and hopes more than dig into the tensions and contradictions and problems.
No reports for Critical Infrastructure or Public Transportation have been posted, and it's easy to wonder if too many resources and too much staff time in Public Works are being spent on the Salem River Crossing instead of projects like this.
It is also interesting to note that as high-level considerations, neither Climate Change nor the Cascadian Earthquake are very present. These seem like serious omissions for a "strategic plan."