The City of Bend is holding its final public open house for people to weigh in on the Stevens Road Tract Concept Plan, a 261-acre plot in southeast Bend. The western portion of the Stevens Road Tract, called the Stevens Ranch Master Plan, was brought into Bend's urban growth boundary in 2016 and the City is now trying to bring the rest of it underHouse Bill 3318.
The bill lays out a process for a City to expand its UGB outside of its normal timeline, but also requires certain things for new developments like recreational spaces, having multiple types of housing and ensuring adequate capacity for water, sewer and stormwater systems. The City's been gathering public input on three different ways the land could be developed.
The City's first attempt at gathering public opinion on the Stevens Road Tract in a survey from Nov. 24 to Dec. 19 last year and identified broad principles that could be built upon. The highest principles included preserving the natural environment (20%), opportunities for affordable housing (13%) and creating recreational opportunities (11%). The second online open house on the issue went out on Feb. 20 which garnered 36 responses and laid out three different scenarios that the City could pursue.
Scenario 1 proposes the land be developed with current market trends and City policies. It would add 1,660 housing units, 49% of which would be detached single dwellings and the remaining either middle housing or multi-family dwellings. Scenario 2 prioritizes a mix of housing types and plans for 1,935 new housing units, 42% being detached homes. Scenario 3 favors density and a third of the proposed 2,476 new housing units would be detached homes. Scenario 3 also maintains the most open space, with about 39 acres dedicated to parks, open spaces and trails.
Respondents preferred scenario 3, with it edging out the others in categories like livability (41%), best opportunity for places to work (47%), best for places to play (67%) and best overall scenario (47%). Written responses showed people preferred scenario 3 because it leaves the most open space, while others noted it would add the most housing units to the Central Oregon's undersupplied housing market.
Those who preferred other scenarios noted their preference to single-family homes, that some industrially zoned areas would bring better employment opportunities and that it'd fit better with the surrounding areas.
The City launched its final round of survey questions on April 5, and it'll run until midnight on April 17. Questions regarding values and which scenarios are preferred are both included in the final option for public comment. The background information provided on the survey page differentiates the options more concretely than prior attempts, and lists tradeoffs for each plan.
The Stevens Road Tract got a nod from the state on April 12 when the Oregon State Land Board submitted a letter of support to the Department of Land Conservation and Development, giving its consent to the City to pursue incorporating Stevens Road Tract into the UGB. The City must have an approved concept plan to the DLCD by July 1, after which Bend can amend the City's comprehensive plan and land use regulations to incorporate the property by Jan. 1, 2025, before it can ultimately be sold.