Commission OKs Bend request for code change to expand housing opportunities

A state commission has approved a City of Bend development code change request that will allow for additional housing to be built in areas currently zoned for employment use.

“This code update allows Bend the flexibility to permit additional housing at a time where it’s needed more than ever,” said City of Bend Affordable Housing Program Manger Lynne McConnell. “By focusing on areas with transit and other amenities, we are providing opportunities to reduce vehicle trips between home and work, while supporting much-needed housing development and nearby business development opportunities.”

To be eligible, properties must be located within a quarter-mile of a transit route, within certain commercial zones, and must meet additional location, development, and design standards, according to Bend Communications Manager Joshua Romero.

Here is a map of non-industrial employment properties that are eligible to develop housing.

The Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission approved the changes last week.

City staff worked with community advisory groups and partner public agencies over the last year to draft and review the code changes, Romero said.

The Planning Commission and City Council approved the code changes last fall before they were sent to LCDC for review and approval.

A state law that paved the way for the code change says no more than 40 total acres of employment land citywide can be developed as housing.

Romero pointed to a recent survey of the Bend community, that showed 23% of respondents ranked housing and affordable housing as their top concern, making it the highest-ranking community concern.

The Bend City Council reviewed the results of the community survey to help inform the biennial goal-setting process, Romero said.

Housing continues to be a top priority for City Council and is expected to be included in its goals for the 2021-2023 biennium.

City Council will adopt its two-year goals in March.

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