BEND, Ore. - With fewer than 1 percent vacancies in Bend, and the resulting rise in rents and home prices, affordable housing is a top priority for the city. In fact, they added efforts to address the issue to their list of top priorities at the end of Wednesday night's council meeting.
The next big project on a developer's drawing board is a 600-home subdivision on Brosterhous Road in southeast Bend, which won unanimous city council approval Wednesday night.
"The opponents of this project, I don't think are really opponents," Councilor Mark Capell said earlier Wednesday. "They just want to make sure that we build the infrastructure to support the project."
Critics have cited the current lack of infrastructure like sidewalks and bike lanes on stretches of Brosterhous Road.
"The city is aware of that, and some of that is going to be fixed by the developer," Capell said.
Development in the area is possible after the city expanded the sewer system.
A new elementary school is set to open in the fall of 2015 and is already under construction.
"This is the start of seeing a lot more development on the southeast side," Capell said.
Despite the punch in the housing market, city officials want to make sure to not get back into another housing bubble.
"What we don't want to do is go back into the unsustainable boom that we were in a number of years ago," said Capell.
The Old Farm District Neighborhood Association had voiced concerns about the infrastructure around the construction site, south of Reed market Road and north of Brosterhous Road.
Councilors were briefed by city Engineer Russ Grayson about the draft development agreement in the works to use SDCs (system development charges) for area road improvements beyond what the site itself requires.
They include adding bike lanes and sidewalks along Brosterhous, as well as extending Brentwood Avenue to American Lane.
In other action, councilors voted 5-0 (with Sally Russell abstaining) to spend up to $150,000 on more legal fees involving the court fight with foes of the city's $21 million water pipeline replacement project. Councilor Doug Knight, who opposed going forward with that plan in the past, cast a reluctant yes vote to not "strand" the city in its legal fight.
Councilors also unanimously approved the city's first stormwater master plan, at a 20-year cost of about $25 million -- far less pricey than the some $200 million the city estimated it would have to spend on the issue several years ago.