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REDMOND, OR -- Central Oregon’s two largest cities are competing for special permission to streamline the UGB expansion process, to increase affordable housing options. The HB-4079 pilot program, approved by the 2016 Legislature, allows a city to expand its Urban Growth Boundary by less than 50 acres without the typically lengthy process, for the purposes of creating more affordable housing. Nine cities over 25,000 people were eligible to apply, but only Bend and Redmond plan to submit applications; only one will be accepted. 

 

Redmond City Manager Keith Witcosky tells KBND News, "We’re looking at a 40-acre parcel owned by Deschutes County in the area of Kingwood, on the eastern edges of Redmond [pictured]. We’re anticipating we can have 485 housing units built; 50% being the affordable kind and probably 50% being more market-rate." Bend’s application involves two privately-owned parcels totaling just over 40 acres, near Highway 20 and Hamby Road. It's unknown exactly how many units could be developed on the tracts. 
 
Witcosky asked County Commissioners to support the Redmond proposal last week, "We’re hoping to get all the resolutions of support in place before the end of June and then we actually want to submit our application in July." Bend's proposal would also need a resolution fo support from county. In fact, Witcosky says, there are several agencies who are expected to express support for both projects in the state applications. 
 
"If you’re selected, you kind of get to get in red-tape free, which means much more efficient, much less costs, etc.," says Witcosky. He admits the Redmond project wouldn't automatically be killed if it's not chosen, "We could still go forward with the project, but we’d have to go through the normal LCDC [Land Conservation and Development Commission] processes." And, that can be lengthy. He admits, though, even if Redmond is selected, it would be two to three years before the first housing units were ready for residents. "We’ve got expressions of interest from seven housing developers. But, if we’re selected for this, we still need to find a program manager/master developer to make this vision happen." And, the land would need to be annexed into the city, "[The] County obviously wants to see that done as quickly as possible so we can begin to address the affordable housing problem that’s current and growing; we want that too. But, there’s a lot of work to be done if we’re selected."
 
The winning city is expected to be announced by the end of the year. 

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