BEND, OR -- A second meeting is scheduled for Friday, to allow neighbors to provide more input on a controversial 170-unit apartment complex proposed for southwest Bend. A meeting last week drew heated discussions among residents opposed to the four-story building. The Planning Division's Colin Stephens says the hearings officer is looking for new information, "I think it's a good opportunity for people who weren't able to come to the previous one to come and give their testimony. I'm just hopeful that it's not just a rehash of what we've already heard, and that we can get some new people, new ideas and new comments into the record."
Seattle-based Evergreen Housing is behind the proposal, seeing it as a solution to the area's ongoing housing crisis. But the plan to build a nearly 50-foot building on Shevlin Hixon has drawn criticism for potentially blocking views of the Deschutes River and increasing traffic congestion. Stephens tells KBND News emotions ran high at last week's meeting, but progress was made, "There were certainly people who spoke outside the criteria, very emotionally and very persuasively. But, they also were able to steer a lot of their comments to the criterion, which I think was helpful to the hearings officer." He adds, "In making land use decisions, they have to be based on code, and the criteria and regulations contained in the code; not on feelings, and emotion and the number of people who testify one way or the other. So, it's going to be up to the hearings officer to make the determination." He says there will be two more weeks' worth of discussion, followed by some final input from Evergreen Housing before a final decision will be made on whether the development can move forward.
Friday's meeting starts at 3 p.m. at Bend City Hall.