By Anyssa Bohanan
Central Oregon Daily
Months after an application was approved to build a four story apartment building overlooking McKay Park in Bend, the Evergreen Housing Development Group announced on Wednesday that several modifications have been made to their initial plan to satisfy businesses in the area.
The Evergreen Housing Development Group initially proposed their four story, 170 unit apartment building to the City of Bend earlier this year.
Despite public outcry, the project was officially approved at the end of March.
However, shortly after, two local businesses appealed the decision to the Land use board of appeals and Evergreen Housing began negotiating some changes.
We talked with William Smith Enterprises and Shevlin Dental about what they were hoping to see out of the project related to their Land Use Appeals, and we decided in order to move the project forward instead of going through multiple years of land use appeals that we would try to come to a mutual agreement that would satisfy everybody involved,” said Andrew Brand, Executive Director of Real Estate Development:
Those changes included reducing the number of apartment units from 170 to 141 and removing the top floor of the building to keep the height under the maximum of 45 feet, allowed by Bend’s Development Code.
“I think people are very passionate about this site and about this location,” Brand said. “I think a lot of people have differing opinions about growth in Bend in general.”
Some on hand at today’s hearing said they were happy the project is moving forward.
“It’s nice to see that a compromise has been reached between the appellants and the developer and we’ll get some more housing in Bend,” said Byron Buck. “I’m sorry to see the actual number reduced because this is a great site for apartments, but in the end of the day it’s going to move forward there will be 140 new apartments for needy people to rent.”
But others aren’t sure it will fix the housing issue in Bend.
“My concern is what kind of community that we’re buliding that we have all of these studios? They’re gonna charge a small fortune so these units are not affordable projects,” said Mike Walker. “This is not solving Bend’s housing needs! This is just one more expensive place for people who move in here, get the best jobs. Can you average barista live there? No.”
Evergreen says they’re hoping to break ground in the Spring or Summer of 2020 with move in dates of either late 2021 or Spring of 2022.