BEND, OR -- City Councilors continue to push the Bend Parks and Recreation Board of Directors to agree to an SDC exemption for affordable housing development. Bend City Manager Eric King tells KBND councilors are trying to take a multi-pronged approach to the area’s lack of affordable housing options. "We’re just looking to try and incentivize the market to produce more affordable housing by looking at a reduction in fees. Other cities have this - Portland, Salem and Eugene all have exemptions for affordable housing."
System Development Charges (SDCs) are collected from developers as they construct new housing units, and pay for a variety of infrastructure, including streets, sewer and parks. King says that currently, SDCs can increase the cost of building a single-family home in Bend by up to $20,000. He says the Parks Board has been resistant to cutting parks SDCs, although the board has not formally declined the proposal. "There are ways to address some of their concerns; like we would cap the number of exemptions that we would offer per year. There’s another side of this: The less you collect on these impact fees, the less you’re able to address some of those issues with growth. And, we know folks are concerned about growth paying for itself." King says the city would also take steps to make sure developments receiving an exemption remain available for low-income families.
Bend's Affordable Housing Manager Jim Long says the city is in an affordable housing crisis, with only about 20 units available at any given time. Long says the city is also considering cutting other SDCs, like street and sewer, charged to affordable housing developments to encourage construction.