Big step: Bend's new UGB gets state approval

State calls it 'model for other cities to follow'

State gives green light for Bend to grow

BEND, Ore. - The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development has approved the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) expansion plan for the city of Bend, officials said Tuesday. 

The expansion added 2,380 acres of land for housing and employment to the City's UGB. Those expansions are distributed on the west, north and south, and northeast and southeast edges of the city.

The UGB plan is a blend of infill and expansion. City officials said the 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. State law requires cities to plan for 20 years of expected growth and to identify land for residential, industrial and commercial needs to accommodate that growth.

The Bend City Council and Deschutes County commissioners each unanimously approved the expansion after an exhaustive public input process that included more than 60 volunteers on three technical advisory committees and more than 70 public meetings. 

Councilor Victor Chudowsky told NewsChannel 21 on Tuesday officials will have to rezone sections of land to get the ball rolling, when it comes to construction. 

The Central Oregon Builders Association said it will encourage developers to fill empty space already within the current boundary. 

The city will see a lot of infill housing -- more density and more height, depending on how it gets zoned, COBA,Vice President of Government Affair Karna Gustafson said. 

The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development received four objections to the proposal and found only two were valid objections, officials said. The state further rejected the two valid objections and concluded the proposal satisfied all applicable state laws.

There is a 21-day appeal period. Appeals must be received by December 5

More information about the plan:

City Senior Planner Damian Syrnyk said the approval came far quicker than expected, less than six weeks after the plan's Oct. 7 submittal. He said when they met with state officials in October, they said they wanted to complete their review by the end of the year.

Central Oregon LandWatch issued a statement, saying it “applauds the state’s quick approval of the City of Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary proposal. “

 “The prompt approval by the State is a recognition that the City’s Plan is forward-thinking and was the result of broad public involvement,” said Moey Newbold of LandWatch. “We are pleased that the process ended up being so collaborative and that it tackled the hard issues like affordable housing.”

LandWatch – which fought a larger UGB expansion several years ago – said it “is now turning its attention to encouraging implementation of the plan.”

At Wednesday night's Bend City Council meeting Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development Director Jim Rue will congratulate the city and city council on the approval of the UGB expansion.

Formally approved by the department on Monday, the new UGB is the result of years of work, by the city council, city staff, consultants, advisory committees, and the public.

The process culminates in a plan that positions Bend well for future growth and development, is supported by the community, and meets both the statewide planning goals and the city’s needs for new lands for housing and employment opportunities, the agency said.

“We understand and appreciate the incredible investment the City made in this process,” Rue said, “Bend serves as a model for other communities to follow. From the high quality data analysis to the extensive public outreach used to shape this project, the city has taken every measure to produce a high quality urban growth boundary decision.”

There are many impressive aspects of the final urban growth boundary decision, the state said, in particular:

·         The designation of “opportunity areas” – where market analysis showed higher levels of support for redevelopment for both employment and housing opportunities;

·         A focus on affordable housing, identifying, designating, and obtaining commitments to increase the city’s housing supply;

·         And a plan that preserves open space and creates walkable communities, adding to the long-term livability and quality of life in the City of Bend. 

“I’m pleased to be able to congratulate the City in person for reaching this milestone,” added Rue. “We recognize that it is a very big deal to have this work completed, and look forward to seeing the city’s planning efforts implemented.”

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