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BEND, OR -- Deschutes County continues to work through a proposal to change how some rural lands are designated. Zechariah Heck, Associate Planner with the Community Development Department, says the plan would create a new Non Prime Resource Land zoning designation, "We have, throughout the county, several areas that have incorrect zoning designations. Proposal one looks at six specific areas that are committed to residential uses but are currently zoned Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) or Forest." Those six are: Skyline Subdivision and its first addition, west of Bend, Haner Park, Meadowcrest Acres Subdivision and Section 36, in South County, and Squaw Creek Canyon Recreational Estates, near Sisters. 


While the areas are zoned EFU or Forest, Heck says those who live there report the soil is not workable, "We hear frequently from residents in these areas that they can only grow rocks. It is a really unique situation that you drive through these areas, one can tell they’re committed to residential uses, they have very small minimum lot sizes and there’s no farm or forest activities going on in these subdivisions or around them." He adds, "There’s right around 200 lots; approximately half of them are vacant. So, if we move forward and these amendments are approved, and we create a Non Prime Resource Land zoning designation and apply it to these areas, we could potentially see another up to 100 residences in these areas that, again, are pretty much already built out with residences anyway."


A public hearing and a series of open house events were held last month. At that time, the land Conservation and Development Commission said the change may not conform with state law. But, Heck says, the county is still moving forward with the project. County Commissioners will receive an update on the project next week, including reviewing those concerns raised by state land use officials.

A second public hearing on the plan is scheduled for June 13 at 5:30 p.m., at the county services building (1300 NW Wall St., Bend). 


Photo: A home in the Meadowcrest Acres subdivision, near Sunriver.

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