Grassroots Government- MAY

Planning Commission

Meeting held: May 8

What happened: The commission first identified new member Emerson Carella to acknowledge and appreciate for their hard work, dedication and volunteerism to the City of Keizer. 

One written comment was submitted by Michael De Blasi about trees in urban environments and how useful they can be. 

No public comments were made. 

Chair Matt Lawyer held three consecutive public hearings to discuss in detail the proposed amendments. 

The commission reviewed a series of proposed text amendments from multiple sections of the Keizer Development Code (KDC) that would allow the commission more autonomy when making decisions on certain types of cases such as major variances or conditional-use permits. 

Areas of change include allowing the Planning Commission more decision-making power include nursing and personal care facilities, public notice requirements, appeal provisions and the Keizer Station Master Plan. 

Allowing the commission to take the lead in cases such as these would allow them to interact more with the community and provide changes more in line with what Keizerites request. 

The commission next dealt with an amendment that would reduce the setback requirements along collector and arterial streets. Where the original setback for properties on roadways such as these was 20 feet, the amendment would make it 10 feet. 

Reasoning for this revolved around both trying to make the system of setback usage within the city less confusing for property owners but also to inspire a more “urban” look by having buildings closer to the street. 

So far, sections that have already adopted this, albeit via a modified setback, would be the overlay or revitalization sections of the city such as the River Road/ Cherry Avenue Overlay District. 

The commission reviewed another text amendment in regards to increasing the allowed square footage for an accessory structure. 

The amendment would provide change to KDC 2.313, which would change the allowable size for an detached accessory structure (ADU) from 600 square feet to 750 square feet. 

The issue first came about during a March commission meeting and would be the first change to this particular rule since 1998. 

A motion was made to not approve part C, a text amendment that deals with increasing the allowable ADU square footage. 

The commission unanimously approved the multiple section amendments as well as the setback amendment. 

Community Diversity Engagement Committee 

Meeting held: May 9

What happened: No public or written comments were given. A series of committee member reports were given by Tammy Kunz in regards to a neighborhood association report as well as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) documents which describe how to properly engage the community in respect to DEI standards. 

Discussion covered committee members attending neighborhood association meetings. Chair Thais Rodick spoke to a meeting she went to that was a joint meeting between associations and how she learned a great deal in regards to how associations interact. 

CDEC member Carrie Brown described the issues that come with translating city documents as well as other media forms and that translation is difficult as you often see documents translated with many errors or are outright incorrect. 

Tammy Kunz agreed and described how members of the Southeast Keizer Neighborhood Association have attendees who speak only Spanish and how more bilingual Keizerites would be most welcome to join and help. 

Assistant City Manager Tim Wood described how one way to help alleviate the language barrier would be to create a call for bilingual members to join or specifically ask for someone to come and act as a translator. 

The CDEC laid out what members will go to what neighborhood association as well as which CDEC member is responsible for writing a proclamation for specific holidays throughout the year. 

The CDEC conversed about whether or not members of the CDEC would continue to be selected by a city councilor or if those positions would be filled via the Volunteer Coordinating Committee (VCC) as is the case with all other volunteer positions within city hall. 

Wood described how it would be possible to change how CDEC members are chosen, however, that process could be prohibitive as the time taken to put a new member on the CDEC would be more extensive. 

The committee determined that they would allow their terms to expire but afterwards institute a system where councilors bring their recommendation to the VCC for final approval for new CDEC members. 

The committee did not have time to discuss how Keizer would create and use an equity lens though they did provide examples of how they could create one from both the City of Eugene and the Portland Police Bureau