Modifications to Salem’s code would enable for managed tenting, extra duplexes and extra chickens


Salem City Council will vote on the proposed changes in late January.

Quail chicks. (Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons)

Salem residents could soon keep quail and similar birds, be limited in the size of trees they can cut, and see more duplexes and triplexes in their neighborhoods once Salem City Council adopts a series of changes to the city’s unified development law has.

The Council delayed a vote on the changes after two public hearings in December. Citizens can comment on the changes in writing up to January 10th. The Council will vote on the changes on January 24th.

One of the biggest changes is to allow medium-sized apartments on plots that are designated as single-family homes. The middle case includes duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes.

It was a change that was required under HB2001 that effectively removed single family zoning by requiring each lot to be a semi-detached house or larger depending on the size of the lot.

Lisa Anderson-Ogilvie, Salem’s planning administrator, said most of the city’s lots are large enough to allow for a triplex or more under state rules.

She said the city planners knew they had to make the updates to comply with state laws and identified some other issues they wanted to include in the latest code update.

The uniform development code is updated approximately every two years.

One of the changes requires expanding the definition of significant trees to include Oregon white oaks 20 “or more in diameter from the current 24”. It would also expand the definition to include all trees, with the exception of Douglas fir, that are 30 inches or larger.

Property owners are not allowed to cut significant trees according to the city regulations.

Anderson-Ogilvie said when subdivisions come before the planning committee, a lot of the comments focus on trees.

She said the city’s tree stocks were viewed as “fairly minimal” by residents speaking at the meetings.

The proposed changes to tree protection are a combination of the community’s contribution, the council’s climate goals and the canopy targets set by the city, she said.

The changes will also enable managed camping and thermal accommodation for temporary use. Currently managed campsites such as micro-protection villages are allowed under an emergency declaration as they do not comply with the current zone regulations.

Anderson-Ogilvie said this will introduce a licensing system for homeless service providers who wish to operate managed temporary camping that includes micro-accommodation, tents and vehicles.

“Supervised temporary campsites may have a maximum of 30 camp shelter units (micro shelters, tents, vehicles / mobile homes) with a maximum of two adults per unit (excluding vehicles that can be inhabited by a family). It is proposed that managed temporary camping be allowed within residential areas, but only if operated on the premises of a church or other religious organization, and in all other zones, ”the proposed change states.

It also calls for consistent access to the toilets, stores, and garbage disposal on site.

The changes would increase the numbers and types of birds that residents can keep to include guinea fowl, pheasants, pigeons, quails, partridges, pigeons and similar avian birds in addition to the chickens and ducks currently allowed. People can keep up to 12 birds under the changes, doubling the amount currently allowed.

There are also changes being made to enable self-storage facilities in the city center. You can only go into existing buildings and be on the lower or upper floor.

Anderson-Ogilvie said it did so at the request of owners of vacant buildings in the city center.

“Storage can be one use that can make these larger buildings more financially viable,” she said.

But it won’t allow new downtown buildings to be warehouses or street-level facilities.

Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected]

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