(Update: Adding BPRD news release)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Bend Park & Recreation board unanimously approved waiving system development charges (SDCs) Tuesday night for the Central Oregon Veterans Village project on the north side of Bend.
Earlier this year, the Bend Heroes Foundation applied for a waiver of park SDCs to help establish affordable housing for homeless veterans.
The foregone SDC revenue could save the project $88,980.
The goal is to transition homeless veterans into permanent housing within two years of moving into the village.
The development includes 15 single units, with water and electricity, and a community building for meals and services.
Bend Park & Recreation Deputy Executive Director Michelle Healy says this is about serving the community first.
"The goal in the long term is for people to get into permanent housing," Healy said. "You know, it may be may that they're in housing units that pay SDCs by that point. So this is really about serving the needs of these community members."
The city of Bend has already exempted the city’s SDCs, as well as approved city affordable housing funds for this project.
Bend Affordable Housing Manager Lynne McConnell says the project is focused on being a temporary solution.
"I believe that the risk in this development is extraordinarily low," McConnell said. "These shelters are not going to become short-term rentals. They're on county land. They can very easily be transported elsewhere, and when the county goes to redevelop this site, they will have to pay normal SDCs. as they would any other thing. So this is a very temporary use."
The Bend Heroes Foundation was able to secure funding from the city, Deschutes County, private foundations and private donors for establishing the village.
The development of the village is currently underway and is expected to be completed this summer.
News release from Bend Park & Rec District:
Bend Park and Recreation District waives costs for Veterans Village
The Bend Park and Recreation District Board of Directors authorized a waiver for the Veterans Village project at its public meeting on March 16. The meeting video is available here. Per the meeting discussion, board members and staff agree that the Veterans Village project meets the intent of the district’s desire to waive system development charges (SDCs) for temporary shelters.
“I’m pleased with the robust discussion by the board of directors and the result that will contribute toward veterans housing in our community,” said Nathan Hovekamp, chair, BPRD board of directors. “We have a concerted effort underway to balance our responsibility to provide parks, trails and recreation amenities and do our part to contribute to the crucial needs as our community grows. This waiver is part of our bigger commitment to many aspects of affordability.”
SDCs are the main source of funding for the development of parks, trails and recreation facilities to serve growth. The SDC methodology establishes the SDC fees, which influence future revenues for SDC eligible projects in the district’s adopted Capital Improvement Plan.
The Bend Heroes Foundation applied for a waiver of park SDCs for the Veterans Village project. The Veterans Village project includes the development of a temporary shelter with social services to house veterans experiencing homelessness. The goal of the project is to transition residents to permanent, or permanent supportive housing, within two years from when individuals first begin living in Veterans Village.
In January 2021, the BPRD board of directors approved Resolution No. 2021-01, which waives SDCs for temporary/emergency shelter developments. The Veterans Village project meets all of the requirements of the district’s waiver program for shelter developments, except the deed restriction requirement due to a partnership with Deschutes County to lease land. Progress on the development of the village is underway and expected to be completed in summer 2021.