|More attention to wall clearance (yellow)|
With interesting history at the Meyer Farm (and in another, forthcoming note, on a different instance of history), I missed this a little, and so this will be a short note that skates along the surface only. Whoops.
The Staff Report cues it up:
In 2014, the UDC was completed and adopted as Title X of the Salem Revised Code (SRC). The UDC was a complete reorganization and update of Salem’s development codes. The UDC was adopted with the expectation that periodic updates and amendments would be made over time to ensure that any unanticipated concerns with the provisions of the UDC were regularly reviewed and addressed.
The code amendments included with this proposal provide a comprehensive update to the UDC and address a variety of issues that have arisen since the last major update to the UDC in 2019. Included in the proposal are policy-related changes that respond to concerns from the community and recent changes in State law; changes identified by staff to improve the application and administration of the UDC; and minor housekeeping amendments.
Examples of changes include increasing the types and number of poultry that may be kept in the City; expanding the types of residential uses allowed within the City’s residential zones to include middle housing (e.g. townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, and cottage clusters) as required with the passage of State House Bill HB2001; eliminating the General/Retail Office and Front Street overlay zones and incorporating their design review standards into an updated CB (Central Business District) zone with improved design and development standards; allowing managed temporary camping for the homeless and emergency shelters as temporary uses; allowing self-service storage within existing CB zoned buildings in the downtown, subject to limitations on location and design; updating the City’s tree preservation ordinance to increase tree protection and preservation requirements and add to the list of trees species and sizes that meet the definition of a significant tree; and updating the City’s land division ordinance to create a new land division process specifically for land developed for middle housing as required with the passage of State Senate Bill SB458.
Though it may seem "efficient" to bundle and shoot out a firehose of code amendments, the volume makes it difficult for non-specialists to read and understand the changes. It would be easier to digest as several smaller chunks rather than one omnibus package.
|On regulatory sludge as a tax - via Twitter|
So here are some highlights of the summary, a summary of the summary.
A lot of the changes are part of a HB 2001 compliance package for middle housing.
|On sidewalks, parking, drive-thrus|
|On transit and parking|
Maybe later there will be more time to go through some of them in more detail. They look generally positive on the surface, but it would be nice to have a better sense for how generously the City is interpreting the middle housing requirements in the HB 2001 compliance package. Is this Potemkin compliance, with a restrictive interpretation that will hinder middle housing? Or is the City actually going to encourage middle housing?
More detail on bike parking is welcome.
There is also a section on tree conservation. In his capacity as a tree advocate, Commissioner Slater published detailed comments last month. He specifically addressed the balance in our housing crisis and tree protection:
As much as I appreciate the City’s proposal to expand the overall percentage of trees preserved in construction from 25% to 50% (I hear it may now be 30%), I feel that need for housing, and increasingly dense housing, precludes expanding the percentage beyond the existing 25%.
This is important so that tree conservation does not have a crypto-function as a NIMBY tool to foil desperately needed housing.
Statewide Planning Goal 5 is intended to protect a jurisdiction’s natural resources, scenic and historic areas, and open space. Goal 5 requires cities to inventory their natural resources and to develop a plan to protect and mitigate impacts on them. Salem’s development code has not incorporated the current Goal 5 standards related to natural resources and relies on potentially out-of-date inventories.
The Planning Commission recently heard a case where the focus of the discussion and appeal was the location of an unmapped waterway and the lack of setback protections to mapped waterways. Through this case, it came to the Commission’s attention that our natural resource inventories, specifically mapped waterways and riparian areas, may be out-of-date and that Salem has not adopted minimum required building setbacks to waterways. Despite the Commission’s desire to protect Salem’s waterways, we cannot apply standards that do not exist and cannot update the waterways map through review of a development application.
He asks for a gradual, phased and incremental update project, since there is no State grant funding for it.
A Goal 5 review would be consistent with climate action and with Our Salem, and this is a reasonable request.
The Planning Commission meets online at 5:30pm this evening, Tuesday the 5th.