|The Jory family was involved in the United Growers cannery|
|Looking south on Liberty at Skyline in 1915 and 2015|
Salem Library Historic Photo Collection and the Google
The developer wants to put in a 93 unit apartment complex on four lots of land that is currently zoned for "Retail Commercial" just off of Liberty and Skyline. Apartments are allowed in this retail zone, but only as a conditional use, so that requires a "conditional use permit." There is also one lot that is zoned for "Neighborhood Commercial" and here the zoning needs to be changed to allow for apartments. (Update: This description isn't quite right. See comment below for a clarification from City Staff. It's a technical/legal detail rather than anything that affects the larger points here.)
Overall, the project seems blandly generic and customary, something in the meh-middle space between bad and good. If you see something really great or awful about it, chime in! But in the absence of that, there are some other incidental things to note. Let's wander a bit.
|Location at Liberty and Skyline|
|From the City's Zoning Map|
A map from an earlier land use decision in 1997 shows the approximate location of the CN strip in question, on the east side and shaded.
|The 1997 decision shows the shaded CN strip|
On other side of the shaded lot is Wendy Kroger Park, and the City's proposed conditions to the development include an easement and pathway connecting the cul-de-sac bulb with the Park's western side. That would be an important piece of east-west connectivity here.
|United Growers Cannery, Liberty and Skyline, circa 1959|
Salem Library Historic Photos
(Chapt. 3 of the Pringle, Glenn-Gibson, Claggett, and Mill Creeks Watershed Assessment has more on Pringle Creek and a few additional bits on the cannery. Not perhaps coincidentally, Wendy Kroger wrote this chapter! )
|Liberty and Skyline, Sunnyslope Shopping Center|
Proposed apartment site at center
with reddish patch and cleared land
The neighborhood objections are of the usual sort and mainly seem to be:
- Three story apartment blocks are too tall and residents could see into back yards
- 147 off-street parking stalls won't be enough (a 1.5 ratio)
- The path from Pembrook to the Park will encourage loitering and crime
- Nearby apartments aren't fully leased and demand is slack
A development at this location could move towards something more walkable and mixed-use, but that's an opportunity that doesn't look like it will be seized - and maybe it's not the best spot for that anyway. There will be a site plan review later in the process, so perhaps the project will show more then.
In the meantime, as we think about redeveloping other industrial sites around town, the way this cannery became a Walgreen's, storage units, and a what looks to be a generic apartment complex is an opportunity missed to create a more vibrant mixed-use kind of cluster for a more walkable neighborhood.