Friday, July 24, 2020

City Council, July 27th - Urban Trails Plan Grant Application

Council convenes on Monday, and they will consider supporting the grant application to fund an Urban Trails Plan.

But as important as local items are, just now there's a national crisis with a nascent secret police and an escalation of incipient Fascism and Authoritarianism.

Yesterday front page in DC
These are events of national significance
It's not just about rowdy BLM protests and vandalism in Portland, but is about kidnapping and secret police going out to multiple American cities, targeting American citizens, and subverting the Constitution. A couple of days ago Senator Wyden spoke ominously about "fascist practices I never thought I'd see on American soil...If the line isn’t drawn in the sand right now, America will be staring down the barrel of martial law for months to come."

That's far outside our usual scope here, but it's even more urgent now to consider national politics.

The trail system as envisioned in 1999
(black circled segments of particular interest)

Back to Council, about the Urban Trails Plan, see the note on it at the Planning Commission. Travel Salem and the local Safe Routes to Schools team have also endorsed it.

Though not remarked upon specifically, a planning process might be a place to stash the contested matter of a path connection through the cemetery. On the one hand that might be an avenue for more analysis, debate, and public process; but on the other hand that might just be a temporizing measure.

It would also fit with debate over the trail along the undeveloped right-of-way for Croisan Secenic Way, the connecting trail behind Belcrest, any trail concept in the Cordon Road plan led by the County, and other segments also.

So, again, there's a lot of potential in a plan. But it's yet another TGM funded plan whose projects may sit on the shelf, largely unrealized. Here are ones during the life of the blog we've followed in detail:
And the longer list of previous ones before those.

It has very much seemed like we should undertake fewer plans and realize more fully the plans we do make in completed projects.

Other Items
There's an update to the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding with Cherriots.

It is an ambiguous thing, not entirely consistent with the recitals. It may say, "Whereas, increasing the percentage of trips that use public transportation is one means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," but some of the details are more about preserving the autoist subsidy for parking and empowering NIMBY friction than about inducing bus trips for emissions reduction (and we saw this on the neighborhood opposition to removing parking on Winter Street in the Grant Neighborhood):
SAMTD agrees to give notification at least 10 days in advance of any proposed on-street parking removal associated with constructing a new bus stop, relocating an existing bus stop, or expanding or otherwise modifying an existing bus stop.The notification shall be in writing to the neighborhood association and via certified mail to property owners immediately impacted and at least one adjacent property in each direction on both sides of the street, and by hanging door hangers on each residence within 100 feet of the proposed parking removal along both sides of the street.Notification of residents on side-streets will be considered on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the City. If the project does not proceed within one year of initial notification, new notification will be provided.
I read this MOU a little skeptically. If it was really about streamlining support for transit for emissions reductions, I think it would read a little differently.

The final agreement of the Tax Increment Financing District for the Jory Apartments is on the agenda. It offers
36 units for individuals earning an average of 60 percent of the AMI. The owner expects to lease 12 units to individuals earning 80 percent of AMI, 12 units to individuals earning 60 percent of AMI, and 12 units to individuals earning 40 percent of AMI.
But 12 units for 80% of AMI doesn't seem like much of a concession. It might be more accurate to say 24 units for people at or below 60% of AMI. That's 10% of the total 240 units.

Is the City really getting the proper return for so much tax abatement? (Previous discussion here at the first discussion of the TIF District and the last few notes on the North Campus project.)

Also on the agenda is the second reading of a proportional SDC rebate for affordable housing.

Plan for Eagle's View Park
And there is the Master Plan for a future Eagles View Park. Even though it's hemmed in on three sides by back yard fencing, it's got two crosswise path connections and looks good from that angle.


Sarah Owens said...

Agree Jory get the City "24 units for people at or below 60% of AMI. That's 10% of the total 240 units." Whether the City's getting a "proper return for so much tax abatement" or "giving up too much leverage in a negotiation" assumes the City's in a bargaining position (negotiating). For a lot of reasons, it's not. Developer's said "this is the best I can do", take it or leave it.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

You may very well be right that in this particular negotiation the City had a weak bargaining position.

But what continues to be concerning, and it has been present each time when the TIF District has come to Council (here, here, and here), there has been no public assessment. If the TIF District can only secure this amount of housing, it may not be configured correctly or it may not be the right tool. An incentive program should not require a protracted negotiation each time it is used, but should have incentives structured so that there are clear and self-evident benefits to the desired amount of housing. Maybe an assessment will come in a later step or iteration, but the information offered publicly to Council has been very thin.