BEND, OR -- The Bend City Council received more information this week about a proposal to update development codes and fees, in an effort to manage continued growth. The city is reviewing its System Development Charge methodology and codes. Mayor Melanie Kebler tells KBND News changing how SDCs are applied will help create more affordable housing, “This is just to make it easier to build those smaller types of homes, which can be more affordable and can help us do some of the infill that we want to do. Instead of sprawling, we want to make sure we're filling in inside of our boundary so that we're leaving our wild open places intact outside the city. So, this is just one part of that strategy to do.”
She says this review was necessary as some of the methodology for applying impact fees hadn’t changed in 20 years, “We also wanted to take a look, especially at how we were charging SDCs for housing, new housing and try to make them proportionate to encourage smaller housing and not have a barrier. it doesn't make sense for a 3,000 (square) foot home to pay the same price as an 800 (square) foot home.”
She acknowledges that proposed updates to non-residential SDCs couldmake commercial construction more expensive, “We are still hearing feedback from folks about this. This methodology is out for comment for a while more before we make a final vote. So, we’d love to hear from folks about specific instances. These are the one-time fees when something's built. So, not an ongoing cost and we're hoping to calibrate it to represent the impacts that growth has on our city.”
A public hearing is scheduled for January 17th.
Councilors also want to streamline how the city handles contracts with utility companies that use city infrastructure.
“So, we have been individually negotiating agreements with folks to put their stuff into our right of way. And we are moving to develop just a code that will apply to everybody, and kind of have a more fair approach,” Kebler said, adding they’re meeting with utilities next week, and will vote on the proposed code at a meeting next month.