City staff presented the Central Westside Plan (CWP) to the Planning Commission on April 11th. The plan calls for “neighborhood compatibility zones” along Commerce and Simpson, areas where residential and mixed use zones border one another.
At the Planning Commission work session on the CWP, Bill Bernardy endorsed the concept, but pointed out that the dotted lines on the map are suggestions for what is only a concept — no such thing currently exists in the Bend code.
He asked that the PC recommend creating neighborhood compatibility zones to the City Council and request that staff follow through on developing and implementing the concept.
We believe it’s important that Bend incorporate transition or compatibility buffer areas where zoning districts meet and permitted uses in the higher-intensity zone are incompatible with the adjoining residential zone. This will be an important tool going forward throughout the city as areas are up-zoned as a result of the UGB process.
Many other cities have such buffers in their policies, using both ordinances (such as prohibiting noise variances within a prescribed distance of a residential zone) and “step-downs” in permitted uses in the land use codes (going from a permitted to a conditional use, for example).
It’s in the best interests of Bend’s residents, businesses, and the City’s resources, to structure City policies to minimize conflicts, rather than build in opportunities for more conflicts. Neighborhood compatibility zones would be a step in this direction.