BEND, OR -- A Deschutes County proposal would create new zoning regulations to protect mule deer habitat. Senior Planner Tanya Saltzman tells KBND News the data used for the current Winter Range zone is 30 years old. "Mule deer populations have been declining in the county, and this is due to a number of reasons. Some of it is because of development, so we’re looking to explore a potential update to this area and kind of issue some regulations that would pertain to those areas, to help protect that habitat." The existing Wildlife Area Combining Zone would remain unchanged.
The new proposed zoning rules would impact mostly commercial uses on properties over 20 acres, "Things that have been noted by ODFW as disturbing to the deer or the deer habitat; things like shooting ranges and BMX bike parks, solar farms, that kind of thing," says Saltzman, "So, larger scale commercial things."
Saltzman says the goal is to find a balance to protect both mule deer habitat and and the rights of property owners, "People are very interested in conservation of habitat, but they’re also really interested in being able to utilize their property as they way they are entitled to by the zoning. So, our goal with these regulations is to try and center it." She says the hope is to work with property owners, "We’re trying not to ever say ‘no,’ essentially. There might be some limitations but our goal is, at the moment, to not prohibit anything because we want to allow people to have these uses available."
The proposed zone is about 180,000 acres. But because much of that is federal land, Saltzman says it would only impact owners of about 80,000 acres, "The main area, I would say, of this new proposed area, is kind of in a triangle between Redmond and Sisters and Bend." Click HERE for more on the proposed Mule Deer Winter Range Combining Zone.
Public information sessions are scheduled for April 4-10. Click on the link of a meeting to RSVP (not required but helpful for planning purposes).
- Tuesday April 4, 2023 - Sisters High School (Room TBD), 5:30 p.m.
- Thursday, April 6, 2023 - Barnes & Sawyer Room, Deschutes Service Center, Bend, 5:30 p.m. Or, tune in via Zoom, HERE.
- Monday, April 10, 2023 - Redmond City Hall (Civic Room 208), 5:30 p.m.
The Deschutes County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on April 13 at 5:30 p.m. The hybrid public hearing takes place at the Deschutes Services Center, Barnes & Sawyer Rooms (first floor) at 1300 Wall Street, Bend. Additional hearings may be scheduled after the April 13th meeting.
To hear our full conversation with Senior Planner Tanya Saltzman, visit KBND's Podast Page.