Elaine Milo Answers Our City-Wide Master Plan Question
Is The Legacy Master Plan Still Relevant?
The City of Salem City Wide Master Plan was written in 1979 under Mayor Jean Levesque. It was last updated in 1996 under Mayor Neil Harrington. Does this master Plan, as written and updated remain relevant to the needs of the city in the east 21st Century?
Thank you for this question, Bill. I know that this was something you tried to work on during your tenure on the council and it is much appreciated.
Let’s begin by saying no master plan should be static. It should be a living, breathing document that is used a litmus test for city activity, development and legislation. It should be recognized as a necessity to running city government and given the resources to keep it updated to be used as a tool in the toolbox.
There are some issues that we, as a city, have faced throughout the brief history that this mater plan addresses. Traffic is always a challenge. But I’d like to talk about a somewhat urgent challenge we are facing as a council and a city and that is the need for a zoning overhaul.
I don’t think it has ever been more apparent that developing the city parcel by parcel and passing zoning amendments parcel by parcel does not work. We need to take a step back as a city and look at the zoning map and make conscious decisions about what we want Salem to look like. We need to identify where we want our commercial, residential and mixed use and then go out and find developers, commercial or otherwise, who share that vision and want to partner with us to make that vision a reality. It is a tall order to be sure. But it is one that we need to address if we truly want to see Salem thrive in the future.