Public meeting: The Shape of Bend to Come

When & where:

Tuesday, June 12th, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Downtown Library, Brooks Room 
(just inside the front entrance)

Why it’s important:

As Bend grows, new ideas will shape the way the city looks and feels. This meeting is a chance to learn about two of those ideas and see how they’re applied in a major new development.

Learn about:

  • Mixed use zones, especially the new mixed urban (MU) and mixed neighborhood (MN) zones.
  • The City’s nine new opportunity areas.
  • OSU-Cascades’ long-range plan for its campus.


  • For the City of Bend:  Damian Syrnyk, Senior Planner, Growth Management Department
  • For OSU-Cacades:  Kelly Sparks, Associate Vice President, Finance & Strategic Planning; and Blair Garland, Senior Director, Community Relations and Marketing

Follow-up to call for transitional zoning

At its August 25th public hearing, the UGB steering committee heard testimony on numerous aspects of the proposed ordinance to adopt the output of the urban growth boundary project.

In connection with this final round of deliberations, BNC submitted comments to the written record asking the committee once again to add language to the policy statements in the Comprehensive Plan that will allow for transitional zoning.

BNC believes it is important to include the possibility of a step-down in permitted uses within a defined buffer zone in order to minimize “offsite impacts and nuisances” where residential zones abut commercial or mixed use zones. This type of policy is standard in many other cities that have learned how to achieve some degree of harmony between adjacent zones with different levels of intensity of use.

The existing policy statement allows for special design standards, such as reduced building heights or larger setbacks, but the physical design of a building is only one aspect of its impact on surrounding areas. The use of a property has a much greater impact. Currently, however, there are no policy statements in the Comprehensive Plan that provide justification for implementing policy tools such as the “Neighborhood Compatibility Zones” called for in the Central Westside Plan.

BNC’s comments did applaud the insertion of a statement in the “Vision of Neighborhood Livability” calling for, “Comfortable integration and transitions between housing types and commercial uses.” While nice-to-have, “comfortable” is a very imprecise notion. The concept of transitional zoning or reference to step-downs in permitted uses would be much more specific.

To read or download the letter to the UGB Steering Committee, click here.

BNC calls for policies that minimize conflicts

On Thursday, April 21, 2016, the UGB Steering Committee discussed proposed changes to the City’s Comprehensive Plan coming out of the UGB process.

BNC submitted comments to the public record asking that policies in the housing chapter include the idea of minimizing conflicts from “offsite impacts and nuisances” (including noise, vibration, odor, and parking and traffic problems) spilling over from non-residential zones into residential areas. This often means establishing a buffer area adjacent to a residential neighborhood where the permitted uses are limited and other code restrictions apply.

More urbanized cities, like Portland, have policies to avoid conflicts that would otherwise require expensive city resources, including police and code enforcement staff, to manage on an ongoing basis. As Bend grows, it also needs a policy infrastructure that allows businesses to prosper AND residents to peaceably enjoy their homes without intrusions and disruptions from adjacent higher-intensity zones.

The Bend Neighborhood Coalition requested that staff be directed to add language to the housing policies that would allow for the creation of neighborhood compatibility zones and other methods to minimize conflicts.

Having these policies available will allow Bend to successfully manage increased density and large developments, like the new four-year university campus, without the constant expense of enforcement and the negative effect on our quality of life that results when conflicts are allowed to be built-in to the fabric of the community.

To read or download the letter to the UGB Steering Committee, click here.


Neighborhood compatibility zones

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.

Continue reading “Neighborhood compatibility zones”