As new companies move to Salem and existing businesses expand, the need for employment land in the city will grow. To ensure there is enough land in the Salem area to accommodate expected employment growth, the City conducted a study in 2014 called the Salem Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA).
Summary of the Economic Opportunities Analysis
The EOA examined Salem’s need for industrial and commercial land through 2035 and determined the following:
- Salem has a projected commercial land shortage of 271 acres.
- About 60 percent is for office and commercial services (about 170 acres).
- About 40 percent is for retail and retail services (about 100 acres).
- Salem is projected to have enough industrial land to accommodate industrial employment growth (about 907 acres more than the forecast need).
The EOA provided strategies to meet the projected employment land needs in the Salem area, specifically Salem’s portion of the urban growth boundary (UGB). Together with the Housing Needs Analysis (HNA), it also confirmed that the existing UGB does not need to be expanded.
Guiding City decisions
The City Council voted to adopt the EOA on October 26, 2015. The City now uses the EOA and its findings to inform policy decisions about commercial and industrial land, including how to respond to requests to rezone such land. This was one of the main purposes for conducting the study.
As part of the adoption of the EOA, the City also updated goals and policies in the Salem Area Comprehensive Plan to reflect Salem’s land needs and better align with the City’s economic development program. For example, a policy was revised to reflect the City’s desire to preserve key high value industrial land, and a new policy to identify areas that may be appropriate to convert from industrial to commercial land was added.