Saturday, May 12, 2012

City Council, May 14th - Appeals: Fairview and Cemetery Alley

(Fairview Master Plan, top; Simpson Hills Refinement Plan, bottom)

Appeals are the order of the day.

On Monday, in an appeal on a Planning Commission decision, Council returns to the matter of the third Fairview refinement plan. (For background and analysis see here, here, and here.) The lead images from the plans, though, tell quite a bit of the story in a visual shorthand. The refinement plan strays significantly from the Master Plan and Council will have to decide how much straying should be permitted and, even, whether to construe the refinement plan as "straying."

The Planning Commission would seem to have provided plenty of evidence. From an unofficial transcription of the meeting minutes, here are comments from two Commissioners who voted for approval:
I think that the type and standard of the development simply misses the mark from what was intended by the original Fairview Plan, and I absolutely understand the SFA group and Morningside group concerns expressed. I do, however, am forced to agree with staff that there are portions that are compliant with the guidance and direction...
I don’t think we are called upon to enforce the very, very highest standards that were laid on this six or eight years ago, and it seems to me that we have adequate testimony that this meets the minimum standards of the plan, and I support it...
They seem pretty clear that the refinement plan fails to meet the standards in the Master Plan, and equally clear that missing the mark doesn't matter.

It will be very interesting to see what Council decides. (Salem Weekly has more on the Planning Commission.)

The Alley and Cemetery

In another appeal, the decision to vacate the alley north of Pioneer and City View Cemeteries was appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals, and the decision was remanded to the City. On Monday's agenda is a proposal to set a new public hearing for June 4th and to set the scope of the hearing.

The City proposes a very narrow scope. To do so, it looks on the surface like they have engaged in creative interpretation again.
Staff recommends that the scope of the hearing be limited to issues raised by LUBA's remand; specifically Sa/em Transportation System Plan Policy 2.10(b), (d), and (e). LUBA rejected a number of other assignments of error raised in the appeal. Providing a hearing with an unlimited scope would allow arguments to be raised again that LUBA has already rejected.
However, as I read the LUBA decision, I didn't see LUBA rejecting arguments so much as saying "Until the city council answers the question[s], that evidentiary challenge is premature, and we do not consider it." So I disagree that LUBA "rejected" conclusively a bunch of the assignment of errors - what I see them doing is saying "we have no basis yet for an opinion." It may be necessary to remind folks of the actual content of LUBA's decision.

Cul-de-Sacs in Wallace Ridge

The developer has appealed the decision against cul-de-sacs in the Wallace Ridge development. The developer claims they need "to reduce traffic in an area with more than adequate connections" and that cul-de-sacs will accomplish this. But it's hard to see anything close to "adequate connections" here.

Other Matters

Pringle Road just north of Madrona will get some curbs and sidewalks and the City proposes to initiate right-of-way acquisition.

The Urban Renewal Agency proposes to fund an appraisal and site assessment of a parcel at the Minto/Boise site.

And the date for the Bike and Walk Salem update to the Transportation System Plan has been pushed out to July 23rd from June 11th.

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Holy Smokes! It was an epic meeting, lasting until 10:30pm.

Council affirmed Planning's decision against cul-de-sacs. Turns out they were so the developer's adult children could have adjoining backyards. This was not persuasive.

The Cemetery & Alley was postponed to May 29th so Ward 7 Councilor Blasi would be in attendance.

Fairview was continued to June 4th. Sentiment was overwhelmingly in favor of sending it back to the developer. Attorney Mark Shipman (and President of the Chamber of Commerce, though not acting in that capacity here) spoke perhaps most persuasively for this. He pointed out he was pro-developer, and that the Fairview Master Plan was intended to be extraordinary, something special.

(Maybe more thoughts tomorrow...)