What is the Comprehensive Plan?
Comprehensive Plan is a long-range plan for future growth and development in the Salem area that aims to meet the needs of current and future residents.
The plan has goals, policies, and maps that shape everything from where multifamily housing is built to how our street system is designed to how our natural resources are protected.
Simply put, it represents the community's vision for future growth.
Why is the City doing this project?
The community identified a need to develop a vision for growth and development as part of the
strategic planning process in 2017.
The Comprehensive Plan has not been updated altogether in decades. It may not reflect the community's vision for the future. This project is an opportunity to better understand Salem and how the community wants to grow over the next couple decades.
The City Council approved funding for this project in 2017.
What happened during the first phase of the project?
A lot happened but
not visioning. The first phase focused on data, indicators, and scenarios.
Data: We worked with a consultant team and others to collect and analyze information related to the built environment. This included looking at our housing stock, parks, jobs and businesses, development patterns, streets, and more. We also completed a
greenhouse gas inventory to better understand the community's impact on the environment.
Indicators: Using all of this data and input from the community, measures – or
indicators – were selected to evaluate the current state of Salem. We answered questions like: How livable are our neighborhoods? How strong is our economy? How sustainable is our community? Indicators included things like housing affordability, proximity to parks, average wages, tree canopy, and bicycle and pedestrian use.
Scenarios: Once we knew how we were doing now, we created different scenarios for how Salem could grow over the next 20 years under
current policies. We used the same indicators to evaluate and compare these future scenarios. We created a report
card to help answer the question: Are we headed in the right direction?
The results of the first phase of work will inform the next phase, community-wide visioning.
If phase one – Our Salem: Today – did not include visioning, what decisions were made during the first phase?
There were two decision points during phase one. At both of these points, we asked the public for input.
What indicators should we use to evaluate the city? We asked the community to select indicators to evaluate Salem as it is today and as it could be in the future under our existing policies.
Given the results of the analysis, is Salem heading in the right direction? At the end of this first phase, we brought the results of the evaluation to the community and City Council. The results were in the format of a report card and helped answer the question: Are we heading in the right direction?
Is the City developing a climate action plan as part of this project?
2017 Strategic Plan recommends developing a climate action plan, but was not funded as part of the Our Salem project. The City Council voted in June 2019 to provide $50,000 for work on a climate action plan.
Greenhouse gas inventory: The City developed a
greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, as called for in the
2018 Council Policy Agenda. This inventory was incorporated into the first phase of the Our Salem project. We did this because the built environment – buildings, related transportation networks, etc. – affects GHG emissions, and the results of a GHG inventory can and should inform larger discussions about how and where Salem should grow in the future.
Goals and policies: We expect to update the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan as part of the Our Salem project. The GHG inventory will help us understand how the updated goals and policies impact GHG emissions. Environmental actions that are not related to the built environment fall outside of the purview of the Comprehensive Plan.