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Growth livability costs detailed at work session

Of the Keizertimes

Consultants working with Keizer’s city staff on possible growth scenarios fleshed out some of the possibilities during a work session Monday, Aug. 27.

Numerous members of the city council, planning commission, parks advisory board and traffic safety committee were in attendance as discussion centered around growth in Keizer’s business corridors, River Road North and Cherry Avenue Northeast.

Working off a draft report that included three options – staying the course, implementing efficiency measures and upzoning – Glen Bolen of OTAK, Inc. and Kate Rogers of Angelo Planning Group expanded on the included scenarios and answered questions from attendees.

Staying the course means Keizer’s business areas will continue to look much like they have to this point: small-ish wood structures of one or two stories.

While the city would not change much aesthetically, staying on that path has other potential consequences, Bolen said. For example, Keizer’s job-to-household ratio of .5-to-1 would not shift much, which has repercussions on how current residents and their families will grow in the future.

“We looked at rates for growth in this scenario, and it tracks, but the population is aging and children have gone to other places. Keizer is not getting the recapture rate of other areas,” Bolen said.

Creating more jobs through fostering additional office-type employment and manufacturing would put the city on a path more appealing to young adults that cannot find opportunities locally, he added. Standing in the way that of course is a lack of available land to develop or redevelop.

The second option discussed is known as efficiency measures, which would mean changing the requirements on certain types of zoning that currently exist, but not rezoning outright. Potential changes include: increasing density options and reducing the minimum lot size, parking, landscaping, and lot coverage requirements.

The third option, upzoning, would mean changing some existing zones outright. Bolen showed one example in the area between Shady Lane Northeast and Candlewood Drive Northeast on Cherry Avenue, the space is currently zoned for industrial uses, but a mixed use designation could add more residential capacity and possibly revive the space with entertainment and shopping options.

“Trading off might mean something you don’t want to see, but right now the option isn’t even on the table,” Bolen said.

Aside from market headwinds like rental rates and existing regulatory constraints, Rogers said there are geographic elements inhibiting growth.

“The proximity to residential areas creates a greater need for buffering,” she said.

Coaxing specific types of growth would require implementing some tools that Keizer has only begun dabbling in.

“Parking behind or beside buildings, ground floor windows and architectural detailing are the types of tools that create the spaces people want to be. It requires buildings to be oriented to the street and entrances oriented to the sidewalk with allowances for plazas and gathering places,” she said.

Bolen added that the new building in the Schoolhouse Square – minus the omnipresent window-cling advertising – is an example of that type of development