BEND, OR -- A week after Bend City Councilors agreed to waive System Development Charges (SDCs) for qualifying affordable housing projects, the Bend Parks Board faces increased pressure to follow suit. Andy High, with the Central Oregon Builders Association, serves on the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee which suggested the City Council exempt SDCs to stimulate more affordable developments. He tells KBND the Parks board may have been confused about how it will work. "It’s just not someone walking in and getting an exemption. I think there are some misunderstandings, and I think some former park board members misunderstood what this really was. This is to help, usually, Housing Works, NeighborImpact, First Story, people actually doing affordable housing work. And, it also incentivizes a developer to come in and team up with one of those. "
The Bend Park and Recreation Board of Directors voted at the end of June not to allow any SDC exemptions. High says builders are frustrated. He says a typical apartment complex could cost a developer up to a million dollars in SDC’s. "In that apartment example, where it was a million bucks, $480,000 goes to the Parks District; almost half goes to the Parks District. The City Council, at first, only said they would do it if the Parks District comes along. Luckily, the City Council decided to change their mind and move forward with it anyhow, so they can show where they’re helping as well."
But with two new board members, who took office in July, High is optimistic. "I think they’ll see a change there. There are some that just believe that’s only going to help the ‘greedy, rich developers.’ 99% of our builders - you know, there’s always one bad apple in the group – but they call this home, too. And, they want to have a community in which they’re proud of."
The only Parks Board meeting this month is tonight (Tue) at 5:30 p.m.; SDCs are not on the agenda.