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?
What were the results of the first phase?
The first phase resulted in a report card that evaluates whether we're heading in the right direction given current policies.
It also resulted in a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory . All this work is informing the visioning phase of the Our Salem project.
Check out this story map to see what we did and what we learned in phase one.
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. Work on the climate action plan has begun, and collaboration between that work and the Our Salem project continues.
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 updated goals and policies will address GHG emissions, particularly as they relate to transportation and the built environment. Environmental actions that are not related to the built environment fall outside of the purview of the Comprehensive Plan.
What is the second phase – visioning – all about?
It's about developing the community's vision for the future. We have been conducting community-wide visioning since the summer of 2019. This means we have been out and about, talking to the community about future growth and development in Salem. We've been asking people: What thoughts, concerns, and ideas do you have for the future?
We've done this outreach in a variety of ways, including public workshops, outreach at community events, stakeholder interviews, virtual meetings, surveys, and more. In June, we had a Facebook live event on the City's Spanish Facebook page where we answered questions about the Our Salem project in Spanish. You can watch the video here.
What were the scenarios that were developed in the visioning phase?
We developed four scenarios during the visioning phase. They were essentially different options for how the Salem area could grow in the future. The scenarios focused on land use. To read more about the scenarios, check out these frequently asked questions.
We held a webinar on the scenarios in April. If you couldn't join us, you can watch a recording of the webinar online. You can also watch a video about the scenarios in Spanish.