|via Twitter and full piece at Sightline|
There will be details we haggle over, and Salem itself will determine how much we embrace the new rules. There will be ways to make building middle housing easy, or ways to offer administrative friction and make it difficult and costly.
But there will be a new framework for the conversation and debate.
The Woods at Fairview
Meanwhile, and overtaken by the news on HB 2001, the latest phase of the Fairview project is going to be at the Planning Commission this month. The City's posted a Public Hearing Notice for "The Woods," a wedge of wooded land inside the Olsen Communities Fairview Addition. Olsen is not buying the land, however, and the resulting arrangement is a little convoluted across several dimensions.
|"The Woods": Big lots, big houses, big trees|
From the proposed Refinement Plan:
The overall design of The Woods Refinement Plan was motivated by a desire to preserve the natural topography and tree stand while creating an economic model in which the property can be developed....
The Woods is designed to further accommodate the Fairview Master plan, which shows the subject property preserving many existing trees on the site with special attention to significant oaks. The low density housing provides a compatibility with the adjoining land uses by emphasizing a sustainable, residential community while integrating substantial preservation of the tree stand.
|Fairview Addition concept in 2014|
The Woods is that brown wedge of 14.2 acres
Because The Woods does not satisfy the minimum size requirement for Refinement Plans (minimum 40 Acres) dictated by the Zoning Code, The Woods Refinement Plan of 14.2 Acres, while standing alone, is considered in many ways as integrated (nested) into Fairview Addition West and the larger community. Therefore, many of the principles overlap and The Woods and Fairview Addition West ultimately complement each other. For this reason, we refer often to both Fairview Addition West and The Woods collectively as The Greater Woods neighborhood which honors the spirit of the Code-to design cohesive neighborhoods of at least 40 acres. Because ownership does not overlap between Fairview Addition West and The Woods, for development reasons The Woods is not incorporated into the Fairview Addition West Refinement Plan.Even though the Planning Commission will see a refinement plan for "The Woods," the language inside the plan is all about "The Greater Woods." This isn't exactly a bait-and-switch, but it is a dodgy rhetorical move to switch all the attributes between a subset and superset. I think it qualifies outright as a species of BS.
|The Plan is all about "The Greater Woods," not "The Woods"|
On the other hand, it's only 16 lots, and if that means it will be easier to develop the missing middle housing elsewhere at Fairview, then that's a defensible trade-off.
So it's important to say that while the argument has some real BS in it, it also doesn't matter very much.
If building 16 big houses is necessary for the project to pencil - and here is a moment when you wish developers had to be more transparent about the financials on a project that is enjoying some amount of public assistance or subsidy - and for the middle housing to be built farther down the hill, then this seems like a small and reasonable trade-off.
|The original land use concept, now much modified|
As for the trees, if there would be reasons to be very skeptical about tree preservation with most developers, Olsen deserves the benefit of the doubt, and there are good reasons to think that most of the trees will be retained:
A tree inventory conducted by a professional surveyor shows 738 trees on The Woods Refinement Area site. All but four of the significant trees on the site will be preserved and further preservation efforts will be in compliance with SRC 808: Preservation of Trees and Vegetation. No heritage trees were identified. Per table 4, no less than 64% of the trees will be preserved, which far exceeds tree preservation requirements per SRC 808.I take this at face value, straight up.
Maybe you or others will disagree, and it will be interesting to read that critique if it is developed. Probably there will be more to say once the Staff Report is out.
The Hearing will be Tuesday, July 9th.
Update, July 4th
Late yesterday the City finally published the Staff Report for "The Woods." It recommends approval with some additional conditions and revisions.
I'm not sure there is much to say. Critique seems to be in that middle space in which reasonable people can disagree, and even if some points might be a little disagreeable or debatable, they are defensible.
A neighbor writes that the Neighborhood Association didn't get adequate notice and suggested that "The Woods" should be preserved as woods and as whole and that the process needs to be delayed.
A former investor in Sustainable Fairview writes that they like the proposal.
City Staff mostly find it acceptable.
Interestingly, the Staff Report works around the way "The Woods" borrows properties from "The Greater Woods" and does not seem bothered much by it.
There is a little more strangeness about the public-private relation.
|How do private streets encourage connection?|
|The Staff Report glides over the Private Steet sometimes|
|BRT or a streetcar is unlikely inside Fairview!|
|Backhoe marks, not petroglyph|