Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Riverbend Phase Two at Planning Commission Tonight

At the Planning Commission tonight the 3rd is a proposal for the second phase of a horizontally mixed-use project at Riverbend and Wallace Roads in West Salem.

Second phase to the north with apartments;
also expands the southern half shopping center
Just in general terms, this kind of thing has been envisioned for nearly 20 years in the West Salem plan.

This kind of thing is in our plans

But the NIMBY is strong, and neighbors are using it in two ways:
  • To leverage the failure of the SRC to stop the project
  • To leverage the project to restart the SRC
Lots of squawking
But the shopping center, with access to downtown or east-side businesses more constrained, may actually be more competitive without the SRC. As we have continued to build capacity across the river, on its own West Salem has failed to generate new retail and other commercial destinations. The Neighborhood Mixed-Use zoning from nearly a decade ago remains unused. Continuing to supply new cross-river capacity for drive-alone trips seems to drain demand for new commercial activity in West Salem itself.

Now with four-plex legalization also, new neighborhood-scaled and walkable commercial pods in West Salem may be supported in ways they were not before, and the lack of new cross-river capacity for drive-alone trips will help support them. There's likely a silver lining here.

That's not what the neighbors want to hear, but that's a reasonable perspective from high altitude.

The Hearing seems likely to be continued, and any decision seems sure to be appealed, so there will probably be more to say. (Previous notes on Phase One here.)

The Planning Commission meets at 5:30pm tonight in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Addendum, Saturday

It looks like the Planning Commission approved the second phase.

The architect's comments on "15 minute neighborhoods"
On FB a discussion of 15-minute neighborhoods prompted this response by the project's architect and planner.

He's right that it represents progress towards the goal of 15- or 20-minute neighborhoods, and it's important to recognize this.

But the idea that it "has arrived" is overselling things a fair bit.

Adjacent density is probably not yet sufficient to sustain a walkable, 15-minute neighborhood. Four-plex legalization might help some with this. The commercial pod will at the start be more like a strip mall and its kind of retail, and there won't be a grocery store there. The "pedestrian walks" will be through slack greenspace, not along building fronts. It's still a little Corbusierian, we might say.

By itself, this kind of development does not create the 15-minute neighborhood ex nihilo, nor does it exert sufficient gravitational force to change the larger neighborhood. And a classic 15-minute neighborhood is along an old streetcar line on a collector or minor arterial, not on a giant state highway stroad like Wallace Road. More changes will be necessary to realize a 15-minute neighborhood fully.

This is a start, but it's not the completion.


Susann Kaltwasser said...

There is a proposal coming forward for the area at the intersection of Doaks Ferry and Orchard Heights. Lots of NYMBYs working on that too. I recall back in 1993-5 when the city was working on re-zoning 300 acres of land to multifamily there was a lot of discussion about the need for more commercial development outside of that on Wallace and Edgewater. I supported the concept of commercial development on Doaks Ferry. Little did I know that 25 years later, I would move to the area. But I still support the plan to help get people services and shopping without having to go to Wallace Road, or across the River.

Neighbors are pointing out all the horrors of having a business that would sell candy or alcohol across the street from the high school. I just have to smile because my kids went to McKay HS which is on a major arterial, has multiple places that sell all kinds of tempting items and more than a dozen places that sell alcohol within a quarter mile!

I suspect that development will prevail in the end.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

The Bone Estate again or a different parcel?

You are right of course about McKay!

Susann Kaltwasser said...

I think this is different. One parcel that has been discussed before is in the northwest corner of the intersection. This is in the southeast corner. It is across the entrance of West Salem HS on Doaks Ferry. The other was more on the side entrance. There is a discussion about this on the West Salem Neighborhood Association Facebook page.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks for the clarification.

Also added comments on the prospect here for a real "15 minute" neighborhood.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Holy Moly. The August Minutes show an overview of the NIMBY commentary on the proposed "Titan Village." EG: "I’ll put money into a pool to hire some lawyers and fight this in court." and "We have had enough of this; we have owned property here for 54 years. We’ll fight this." So I guess this proposal will be one to watch.