BNC white paper on citizen involvement in land use issues

In March of 2019, the Bend Neighborhood Coalition presented a white paper to the Neighborhood Leadership Alliance (NLA) focused on improvements to public notifications related to land use matters before the City. The newly-formed NLA, a standing committee of the City Council, had been tasked with reviewing the notification process and making recommendations to the Council.

While the NLA was being formed, BNC sponsored a task force made up of ten representatives of the neighborhood associations to do the necessary homework that the NLA would need on this topic. The task force worked from July 2018 through February 2019 to complete its research and recommendations. The result is the white paper that can be accessed here.

Pages 2 to 6 of the white paper offer a sort of primer on the land use process for those unfamiliar with the requirements for new development projects and for changes to governing documents like the Comprehensive Plan and the Bend Development Code.

Over the year and a half since the paper was submitted, a work group on land use appointed by the NLA addressed many of the 19 recommendations. One suggestion, e-mailing notices to the NA land use chairs (along with traditional mailings), has already been implemented. A redesign of the notice signs posted on properties has been in the works, along with an effort to devise a “plain English” description of each project for use in all notifications. The NLA asked the Council to consider extending the period for public comment. Action on some other suggestions, like standardizing the radius for notifications at 500 feet from a property, has been stalled by the impact of the coronavirus emergency in 2020 on committee meetings.