Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Zoning Subcommittee Meets for Final Time on Thursday the 15th

The Zoning Subcommittee for Our Salem convenes on Thursday the 15th for the final time, and they appear to have a consensus on the six zoning concepts.

Draft recommendations added in blue

Intro to the summary memo

From here, they don't quite come into full focus as a coherent approach or something that is really at the right scale yet.

Eliminating parking requirements and allowing more generous building heights seem reasonable.

Adjusting minimum density in mixed use and multifamily areas from 12 to 15 homes per acre seems very marginal. 

But the last one, adjusting single family residential near the core network to 15 homes per acres is stronger. This is "the density at which drivable suburbanism transitions into walkable urbanism."

You can read the full summary here.

via Twitter

One commenter offered a good summary critique:

This idea that the Zoning Subcommittee is going “bold” strikes me as ridiculous. When I hear Subcommittee members express concern about someone not being able to build their “dream home” because it may not meet a new minimum density, that is hardly a bold sentiment. Going bold requires an acknowledgment that we live within an urban growth boundary; with that in mind, we should be doubling or tripling our housing density with all new construction. We shouldn’t see new 3500 square foot homes on 7000 square foot lots anywhere in this city.

At the same time, we also should stop seeing pods of three story apartment buildings surrounded by surface parking lots. Is that really the style of multifamily housing we all want? Or do we just accept that is the best we as a city can do?

Just the other day the Oregonian picked up a wire story and illustrated it with a picture of middle housing and low mid-rise commercial development in Reykjavik. Something like this is doable and could be delightful. But Our Salem remains a good ways away from envisioning a future like this that is also responsive to our climate emergency.

Middle housing and commercial in Reykjavik
via Twitter

1 comment:

Jim Scheppke said...

These and other strategies to lower our emissions will face a day of reckoning when presumably the Verdis Group consultants that the City hired for the Climate Action Plan report on whether they will get us even close to carbon neutrality by 2050 and halfway there by 2035. If they don't we all need to insist that the City Council go back to the drawing board and try again. We mustn't settle for a CAP that doesn't meet the goals or that fudges on the goals. The need for that discipline is why 350 Salem OR insisted that goals be set. Originally the CAP planning process did not include goal setting at the start of the process. We convinced Councilor Andersen that he needed to fix that, and he did. Now we need to make it stick.