Friday, October 15, 2021

City Council, October 18th - Work Session with Planning Commission on Our Salem

Earlier this month the paper's layout on the front page juxtaposed stories on our onset of our seasonal coastal "hypoxia zones" and on a debate over an undeveloped parcel in south Salem. The development story reran a couple of days ago.

Front page, October 3rd, inset Oct. 13th

This pair is one good frame - there are others of course - for the proposed revisions to our Comprehensive Plan. Council and the Planning Commission meet for a joint Work Session on Monday the 18th. So far we are unwilling to make land use subordinate to our unfolding climate emergency. Instead, we want to insulate our neighborhoods from change, whether that be apartments, pallet shelters, and sometimes even single houses. Especially parking. We want to make climate subordinate to our current living arrangements. But we know who will have the last word.

Oregonian, June 2021

LA Times, August 2021

NY Times, March 2021

In the materials themselves for the Work Session, it's a little hard to see what is the most recent update. The map in the Council agenda packet is dated "April 2021." But earlier this summer there was a map circulating dated "August 2021." The one in the Council agenda is headed, "Existing Salem Zoning," but link labels it "Proposed Zoning Map." Which is the most current, and which one best shows the proposal?

This is not at all clear for the general public

The mapping and labeling could definitely be clearer for us all.

In the draft Comprehensive Plan document itself, they reproduce those indicators you may recall from phase 1 of the planning process, but we've never circled back to look at how the new proposed zoning map helps us to make progress or to maintain on those indicators. We're not actually using them as metrics for anything.

What happened to our indicators?

In a climate section, suddenly there are some benchmarks, though, but it looks like we are already meeting them! How is this possible or plausible?

This does not look helpful

Most significantly, we have not circled back to a zoning and transportation plan that gets us to a 50% reduction in emissions by 2035. Why don't we have our Climate Action Plan exigencies better integrated into Our Salem? They are still too much operating as these independent processes on parallel tracks, layered tentatively as some kind of options or extras. (Over at our Strong Towns group, they make the same point today, saying "Our Salem and the Salem Climate Action Plan need to be joined at the hip.")

Why isn't more of this in Our Salem?

All in all, the process still looks like we are still trying to confine the main change to arterial corridors in order to insulate existing residential neighborhoods, especially those dominated by single-detached houses. A plan fully responsive to climate will need to distribute change more evenly through the whole city.

Test criticism against the rhetoric of delay

From last week see a few notes on the transportation goals and policies in the current draft (as well as a brief comparison to the 1973 plan) and overall the complete set of notes on Our Salem and the Climate Action Plan

And a couple of notes on the Meyer Farm parcel one highlighting proposal for single housing, the other on questions about a Waldo DLC and its history.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The city posted a new map and appears to have straightened out the labels. One is existing, the other proposed.