Sunday, October 13, 2013

City Council, October 14th - Parking of Course; Also Historic Review

Well, the big item on Council agenda for Monday is the Parking meter petition, but there's nothing really new to say on it. The new staff report has additional details on the budgetary consequences of losing the revenues from moving to a longer "free" parking scheme. (For all the discussion of downtown parking, see here.)

So instead there's a few forward-looking items that are interesting.

State Hospital North Campus:
Pietro Belluschi's Breitenbush Hall not likely to be preserved,
but would require a public process before demolition
In "a future report," the City announced a proposed new layer of oversight in historic design review of new construction.
Currently, Council can only initiate review of historic demoliton decisions. The proposed amendment will allow Council to initiate review of Major Historic Design Review applications for new construction in addition to demolition decisions.
It would be interesting to learn what problem this is supposed to address - what recent Major Historic Design Review was not reviewed by Council and should have been.

Mid-Century building by Pietro Belluschi
without official historic significance
demolished last week without any public notice
One future set of design reviews that could be in mind are ones that will follow from the sale and redevelopment of the North Campus of the State Hospital.  Council will accept an information report and update on the project.  In it is a note about the mid-century buildings of "low significance," led by the Belluschi-designed Breitenbush Hall. The report says, "[the] Developer must obtain both a Stage 2 Demolition Approval and Historic Design Review Approval from the Historic Landmarks Commission."  The amendment would facilitate Council involvement in the approvals process. (For more on the North Campus redevelopment project, see here. )

Seismic work at the State Capitol could also be in mind.

Vacating the Capitol will have a cascade of effects,
including ones on transportation and car parking
As part of the Capitol seismic project, the Capitol Mall will be impacted significantly, and Council may endorse a letter in support of a Transportation and Growth Management grant to write a circulation and demand management plan. (This could be transformative!  But it could also elicit crickets, or run into entrenched inertia and barriers.)

In a couple of small matters there's a dedication of right-of-way for a new road in the Fairview redevelopment, just off of Reed Road, and Council review of the Davis Road/Bella Cresta subdivision road plan and connectivity (see here for earlier discussion).


Curt said...

I'm not going to boycott Cascade or any other business that supported the petition. My bitterness will fade in time. This is mostly a philosophical/rhetorical discussion that I'm advancing for the benefit of anyone who might be interested in challenging the conventional wisdom in Salem that downtown "local" businesses deserve our unconditional support.

As you know, I have put many volunteer hours into the Coop as well hoping that one day I could enjoy at least one place to shop that isn't in a strip mall or on a stroad. That seems to be a pretty simple thing that is mostly taken for granted in other Oregon cities.

But lack of available parking has been cited many times as the reason why we can't have a Coop downtown.

You say that Cascade is trying to activate State St. but they haven't offered any support for the mobility study (just like they haven't offered any testimony on the parking recommendations). Based on my conversations with them they aren't interested in streetscape improvements on State St. They are probably totally unaware that these are city council goals. As far as I can tell, they don't even read the blog.

I could understand if SBOB had the political clout of a BTA, Walk Bike Vote, CLF, etc. But what have "allies" in Salem helped get accomplished?... Just one tangible outcome... I can't point to any. Most seem pretty uninterested (If a Pioneer Cemetery ped. path materializes, Lifesource will deserve some credit)

One of the few businesses that did offer some written testimony was Heath Florists (where they suggested they would leave downtown if parking meters were installed). Based on the story in the SJ it appears they won't be returning to the Roth-McGilchrist building. We will be getting a small grocery store instead(!)... made possible by the toolbox loan/grant program that is underfunded due to the parking situation. Maybe some won't like it but I call that progress.

So... support obstructionist businesses or support progressive policies that will bring in better ones?

And finally... The SJ asked over the weekend "What does downtown need the most?" The winning answer with 33% (out of 5 choices).... more parking!

I thought we didn't need meters because we have plenty of parking.

Curt said...

Also on the topic of compromising and horsetrading:

You also know that I put time and effort into Carole's streetscape initiative too. I even supported her parking bribery strategy. I still do. Even with no biking improvements at all, it would be a dramatic step forward for downtown. But that went down in flames too.

I think it is important for readers to get the whole picture and see what compromise and concilliation have done for Salem.