Is The Salem Master Plan Still Relevant?
Last week we asked a question of each of the nine Salem City Councillor at-Large candidates. We reached out to each challenger and incumbent using either email, Facebook private message, or by telephone. Each of the five challengers responded with the assigned deadline. Two of the incumbents responded also, but there some decline issues created by email issues that were overcome. Two of the incumbents never responded at all.
Yesterday we ran the answers provide by Brendan Peltier, Elizabeth Bradt, Domingo Dominguez, and Jeff Cohen. Today we bring you the remaining candidates.
Here is the question that we asked them.
In view of the property development that Salem is experiencing, do you feel the the 1979 Salem Master Plan, last updated in 1996 remains relevant and functional today?
No. Goal making in 1996 for 2006 is by definition beyond stale in 2017. The question really is: Should Salem have a 2018 Master Plan to plan its developmental goals through 2028 and beyond? We are already in the midst of planning for a quadricentennial celebration in 2026. Reflection of where we have been and where wish to go will already be a mindful exercise and this may just be an extension of that.
Instead of one city-wide master plan, over the course of the last decade or two, our city has instead had a litany of “mini” master plans: on bicycles, public art, Bridge Street Neck, Winter Island, the North River Canal, and most recently Forest River Park, among several others. In essence, the city looks through a different lens depending on the issue/concern. Most if not all have been laudable, worthy plans showing concerns for both current conditions and planning for the future. This tends to be good for more immediate, responsive development toward those concerns. Overall, this is very good.
Where a new omnibus Master Plan could be helpful for the city and its residents would be a home for ALL of those “mini” master plans. Each would have its own unique overlay that can combine to form a multi-layered holistic vision for the city – with expert input from our planning department and land use boards and practical input from our residents. Will unexpected challenges and opportunities arise after a Master Plan is initiated where we must tweak our plans? Undoubtedly. However, having a 10-year plan keeps us all on the same page on where our new and longtime residents alike want this city to go.
The current City Master Plan has been in place since 1996. It needs updating but I believe the principles that it was built on are still relevant and functional. It i important for any city to have a plan that is available for all of its citizens to view. It allows them to see what kind of development the city is trying to attract and what the residential areas of the city will look like moving forward. Because it is there and available for anyone to see; it allows the people of Salem to read it, evaluate its success and criticize its failure. It also allows the people of Salem to call for changes to the plan. The Master Plan has allowed us to plan and develop our waterfront, our economy, transportation systems, public safety, our schools, parks, and recreation facilities, our downtown and our neighborhoods. It’s guided us to a better quality of life in the past and to will continue to help us plan our future. That is why our Master Plan will continue to be relevant and functional.
No, I do not think the Master Plan is still relevant. How can a plan made in 1979 and updated in 1996 still be relevant in 2017? In Michigan they require local governments to review their master plan every five years to determine if it needs to be updated. I believe Salem should do the same thing and make changes when necessary.
Incumbent Councillor at-Large Elaine Milo did not respond to a private Facebook message, or email to her two addresses.
Incumbent Councillor at-Large Tom Furey did not respond to a voicemail left on his telephone.