After the Planning Commission's meeting earlier this week on the proposal to update the Comprehensive Plan, a reader pointed out a very interesting mismatch.
|City and State with very different|
counts of "complete neighborhoods"
A year ago, the Department of Land Conservation and Development presented an assessment of the extent of "complete neighborhoods" in each metro area. Salem was in the low teens, 11% in 2010 and projected for 13% in 2035. (The chart here, and a very brief discussion in the Staff Report.)
Three quarters of a year later, last fall the City published an analysis in Our Salem that 65% was the current extent.
That's a difference of a little over 50%.
11% vs 65%!
Half the city is a huge gap in the assessment.
There are some small differences in the areas under analysis as Our Salem does not embrace the full area of the MPO, but any difference should be more in line with a rounding error, nothing like the magnitude of 50%.
The City and consultant team should explain this difference in more detail. It is likely that the City has used a definition of "complete neighborhood" too generous and broad, and that it doesn't actually point to something we would agree is a walkable, bikable, complete neighborhood, one that doesn't require the use of a car for most errands and trips. Certainly 65% has not seemed like it actually reflects our lived reality in most parts of the Salem.
It is possible that the City should scrap their assessment and simply conform to the State's, as increasing numbers of administrative rules will employ the standards and definitions used by DLCD.
If they do not want to conform to this standard, they should hit pause and publish a more detailed analysis of their own scheme.
Council should not adopt the current plan with the current analysis. Without more explanation it is nonsensical and insufficient for any big decision.