The Blue Ridge YAF & the City of Salem …

On June 11th the City of Salem approved their revised and updated comprehensive plan. Its approval served as a fitting culmination of over eight months of public meetings and hard work. Among the public comment offered to the City Council, I stood and offered a proposal to the City as memeber of the AIA Blue Ridge, the local YAF, and as a City resident. The YAF proposal offered to conduct a public charrette to examine a number of critical issues identified in the new Comp Plan.

Weeks before I stood in front of the Council as a representative of the YAF, I met with Kevin Boggess (City Manager) and Jay Taliaferro (Assistant City Manager, Zoning Administrator, and Clerk of the Council) to discuss the YAF’s offer. The two men openly stated they were excited about the idea, and that nobody had ever offered anything like this. Over a few more conversations Kevin, Jay, other members of the YAF, and I crafted a full proposal to describe and articulate the charrette as best as we could. The final version of the proposal was issued to the City Council a few days before June 11th (where I fielded a number of questions).

Here is how we described the idea in the opening letter of the proposal:

Thank you for the opportunity to present this proposal on behalf of the Young Architects Forum for conducting a comprehensive planning charrette. We believe we can provide a significant value to the City of Salem through a multi-day discussion about specific portions of your newly adopted Comprehensive Plan.

The Young Architects Forum (YAF) is a program of the American Institute of Architects organized to address issues of particular importance to recently licensed architects and to provide opportunities to engage in the community. We applaud the City of Salem in their efforts to refine the comprehensive plan for the city and would like to propose a collaborative effort in maintaining the momentum evident during the formation of your plan.

The members of the YAF are committed to providing energy and enthusiasm in leveraging our unique skillsets to our community by facilitating a collaborative envisioning charrette with the city. It is our hope this event assists the city in realizing the goals of the comprehensive plan by fostering a discussion about what how this plan could be brought to reality. We view your renewed comprehensive plan as a living document which relies on a continued momentum.

If you are interested in getting a copy of the full proposal, leave a comment below.

Since the inital release, a steady hum has developed. People from within the City staff are already discussing ideas for the event, as well as the core group of the local YAF. To build momentum and discuss the next steps of the process in more detail, we have scheduled a meeting on July 24th at the Salem City Hall at 5:00 pm. The event is formally extended to all YAF members, and all are welcome to join the discussion.

More details to come.

Next Post:
Previous Post: