Neighborhood Preservation District Study

Patricia Kelleher

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Neighborhood character is an essential element of quality of life for Salem residents. Due to diverse styles of architecture, house and lot sizes and landscaping, Salem’s neighborhoods are each unique. How do we preserve this character while allowing for new development and owners’ personal taste? This is the subject of a 2008 Department of Planning and Community Development study, which focuses on Neighborhood Preservation Districts as a tool to protect neighborhood character. The study includes an assessment of the potential for NPD’s in Salem, a map of potential districts, sample design guidelines for two neighborhoods and a draft Neighborhood Preservation District Ordinance. City Council must pass a Neighborhood Preservation District Ordinance before Neighborhood Preservation Districts can be created in Salem.

2008 Public Meetings

In March and April, the Department of Planning and Community Development held seven neighborhood meetings to explain the Neighborhood Preservation District concept and gather public input. These meetings were held in areas identified as possible Neighborhood Preservation Districts, including the South Salem, Derby Street, Salem Willows, North Salem, Gallows Hill, Bridge Street, Salem Common and Point neighborhoods.

In June and July, DPCD held four public meetings to refine recommendations regarding Neighborhood Preservation Districts in Salem by focusing on two neighborhoods in detail. Based on comments at the March and April meetings, the Bridge Street and Point neighborhoods were selected for further study. Four neighborhood meetings and two neighborhood tours where held in the Bridge Street and Point neighborhoods. At the June and July meetings, DPCD sought input and comments on draft design guidelines and recommended district boundaries for these two neighborhoods.

The Department of Planning made a final presentation of the study findings and recommendations on November 13, 2008.