BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors appear closer to reaching an agreement with the Parks & Recreation Board to allow affordable housing development to be exempt from some SDCs. City Manager Eric King says it's a tough discussion, given how important the System Development Charges are for funding things like roads, sewer and parks. "If we exempt those fees, it means we’re going to be able to not move as quickly to make some of those infrastructure improvements. So, what’s the right balance as an incentive to get the market going on affordable housing, but knowing there’s an impact to infrastructure."
Councilors have proposed creating several options for exemptions and creating a cap, so as not to jeopardize infrastructure projects. "That gives us some flexibility to how we award those exemptions out through a competitive process, so we can really focus the discount on where is the most need," King tells KBND. "And, we’ll come back to council in a few weeks to formalize that through some action. The hope is to move quickly to get the market going on getting more affordable housing in play." Bend currently has a near zero vacancy rate.
Any exemptions from parks SDCs must be approved by the Parks and Rec Board. King says, "Parks has sort of verbally agreed to the concept, in putting a cap in place – that’s how you mitigate for concerns around too much of a discount. If it’s a discount, then we’re stuck not being able to build some of the work that’s impacted by growth. I think they’re on board in concept, but I think there’s still some work to do to get it finalized."