A proposal to reduce the density of short-term vacation rental units inside Bend City limits is raising eyebrows of supporters and opponents.
The Bend Planning Commission is considering changes to the Bend Development Code that regulates how and where short-term rentals can be permitted within city limits.
The proposed changes include increasing the buffer zone between permitted short-term rentals from 250 feet up to 500 feet in residential zones.
Such a restriction might limit the number of short-term rentals to one per street or neighborhood, depending on density of the area.
“A majority of supportive comments are in favor of increasing the concentration limits from 250 to 500 feet in neighborhoods. There is support for incentivizing them to be long-term rentals,” said Pauline Hardie, a senior planner for the City of Bend.
One of the Bend City Council’s goals is to “take meaningful action to make this statement a reality: People who live and work in Bend can afford housing in Bend.”
The thinking appears to be one of converting some short-term vacation rentals to long term rentals that workers can afford.
“That’s the other part of the proposed amendments, allowing a short-term rental permit holder to convert their rental into a long-term rental which is 12 months or greater and not lose their short-term rental permit if they chose to use that later in the future,” Hardie said.
Based on survey results, property owners were supportive of incentives to rent long-term, including waiving the proof of use requirements to keep the short-term rental operating license. Currently, the Bend Development Code doesn’t allow a property owner to keep their short-term rental license if the property isn’t rented out as a short-term rental for more than 12 months.
The Bend Planning Commission will have a hybrid work session on the changes at 5:30 p.m. on August 22. The meeting will be in person in Council Chambers at 710 NW Wall Street, or virtually.
A public hearing on the proposal will be held Sept. 12.
Bend City Council may consider the proposed short-term rental code changes in October.