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Bend considers ‘micro-units’ and ‘smaller dwelling units’ to meet 2021 housing goals

(Update: Adding video, comments from senior planner)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The city of Bend is working on updating the development code to expand housing types in residential zones, in part due to new requirements enacted by the state Legislature to address a need for more affordable housing.

Among many proposed code changes, the city is looking to add "micro-unit developments," also known as single-room occupancy units, or SROs.

The micro-units include one room for living and sleeping and one bathroom. A typical unit size ranges from 150 to 400 square feet and does not include a full kitchen. 

Pauline Hardie, a senior planner with the city, said Monday the city is also adding "small dwelling unit" developments, which consist of lots as small as 1,500 square feet.

"The micro-units are allowed in all of the residential dwelling zones, as well as some mixed-use zones, and the small dwelling units are limited to the standard-density and medium-density residential districts," Hardie said.

Hardie said they function very similarly to an apartment, but with shared common spaces.

She said micro-units are geared toward renters and the small dwelling units are geared toward potential homeowners.

The micro-units and small dwelling unit developments are part of the council’s goal to permit 3,000 new housing units by next year.

“A lot of them are young professionals who don’t want roommates any more," Hardie said. "It’s also geared towards young adults who just finished college, who can’t afford to pay a lot of rent.”

The planning commission holds a work session on the proposals Monday night and plans a virtual public hearing about the changes on Monday, Aug. 24 at 5:30 p.m.

The Neighborhood Leadership Alliance is accepting community input on a survey open until this Thursday.

The proposals are expected to go before city councilors next month.

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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


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