BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners appear poised to approve a proposed housing development between NorthWest Crossing and Shevlin Park. The Miller Tree Farm would include five subdivisions, each consisting of ten residential lots and open space.
A county hearings officer denied the initial application over concerns not enough was being done to protect homes from potential wildfire or allow adequate access to wildlife. The developer has since beefed up wildfire and wildlife plans, including paying for experts in these fields through Homeowners Association fees. At yesterday's meeting, County Commissioner Tammy Baney was pleased with the change. "While it resonates with me in terms of the costs associated with a Homeowners Association, really that makes sure that as homeowners, you are collectively embracing the responsibility of living in that particular area. I see that as a cost associated with the ability to live in this particular community."
Commissioners Alan Unger and Toney DeBone agreed. "I think we're defining the envelope and setting the standard so, as people develop the area, they know what they're buying," Unger said at the meeting. "So, they're buying a two-acre property, but they can only build on an envelope," DeBone noted. "But, they're doing it on the west side of Bend where they have other amenities, and this is one of those things that they're agreeing to to have that opportunity." Unger continued, "A person doesn't have to buy into this if they don't want to. They have the choice to accept the conditions or not. I like the conditions. I think it will help keep this area in the type of condition that we have agreed to in the plan, into the future." The developer plans to build wildfire buffer zones around homes, and increase access to wildlife in the area.
County Commissioners are expected to formally approve the Miller Tree Farm development October 7.