The Bend City Council gave its final approval to the Urban Growth Boundary plan Wednesday night, a unanimous vote on a short, positive agenda item the city hopes means a smooth path to a nod from the state..
The plan, scaled back from one the state rejected years ago, also drew support from Central Oregon LandWatch, which fought the earlier proposal as being too sprawling and not enough density and infill within the current city limits.
Here's the city's announcement on Wednesday night's vote:
The city’s team of staff and consultants has spent two years studying data and engaging the community in the analysis and planning process. More than 60 volunteers spent countless hours on public advisory committees to make recommendations and more than 3,000 citizens participated in meetings, workshops and online input.
“This plan is the result of tremendous contributions from members of the advisory committees, public and decision makers. All of them shaped this plan and worked together to create a visionary plan for Bend’s future,” said Long-range Planning Manager Brian Rankin. “This plan has created broad consensus between often opposing groups in Bend.”
The UGB plan is a blend of infill and expansion. Changes will arise gradually inside the current boundary and on the edges where the expansion will happen. About 70 percent of the projected growth in housing and in jobs can be accommodated inside the current UGB with expected redevelopment.
The proposed boundary expansion is about 2,300 acres and those expansions are distributed on the west, north and south, and northeast and southeast. Expansions include a mix of land uses including residential, employment, parks, open space, schools and civic land.
The plan strategically targets nine “opportunity areas” inside the UGB, some of which are planned for more intensive development and redevelopment. Generally, existing neighborhoods were not targeted in these opportunity areas.
This plan focuses four- to six-story mixed-use buildings near the city’s core, which is a change from how these areas of Bend have developed in the past.
Today, multi-family housing (duplexes, triplexes, multi-family) accounts for a small portion of Bend’s residential stock. This contributes to the shortage of affordable housing.
The UGB plan calls for more land to be made available for a variety of types of housing, with a focus on multi-family housing, and aims to increase the supply of multi-family units from 25 percent of our housing stock to 35 percent of our housing stock. Employment lands to support Bend’s growing economy are also part of the plan.
Along with meeting many complex state mandates, the city said the plan represents the community’s best balancing of important factors such as infrastructure costs, efficient use of land and social, economic, and environmental factors, while meeting anticipated needs for all types of land.
"This is a big step forward for Bend,” said City Councilor Victor Chudowsky, the UGB Steering Committee chair. “The UGB plan outlines how the City will grow, and it will grow in a good direction - one that preserves open space, creates walkable communities, and provides for extensive redevelopment in nine key opportunity areas within the current boundary. The city staff as well as many volunteers in the community deserve massive praise for making this all happen."
The council’s approval was the city’s last formal action related to the UGB adoption, but other approvals are needed before the plan is in effect and can be used to guide development. The next step is for the Deschutes County Commissioners to consider and adopt changes to County land use plans and codes at a meeting next Monday.
Once the county adopts the changes, the UGB plan will be sent to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development for review, which may lead to approval.
Once approved by the state without appeals, the UGB plan will be in effect and result in changes to the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Development Code, which guide and regulate future development. Changes in the built environment of Bend will occur in the future when landowners propose and build according to the newly adopted plans and codes.