(Update: adding video, new info, comments from city staff)
State lawmakers require cities to make more room for duplexes, triplexes and the like
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The city of Bend hosted a community information session Thursday evening regarding proposed code amendments under House Bill 2001, passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2019. The goal is to provide Oregonians with more housing choices, especially options more people can afford -- but the changes coming to established neighborhoods could raise eyebrows, if not objections.
"A lot of where this bill came from, when it moved through the Legislature, was thinking about how we make more opportunities for more homes of more types for more people in our state, and in the cities in our state," City Councilor Melanie Kebler told the audience.
HB 2001 requires Oregon large cities with more than 25,000 residents, like Bend, to allow the development of certain types of “middle housing" in areas formerly reserved exclusively for single-family homes.
Essentially, areas currently zoned for residential use, which allow for the development of detached single-family dwellings, must now also allow for the development of duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, cottage clusters and townhomes.
"The Legislature told cities, 'Hey, you need to start changing your code, and you can no longer have places in your city where the only thing that is allowed to be built is a single-family detached home," Kebler said.
"This is a big deal," she added. "It was a big deal when that bill was passed, and now here we are, a couple years later, at the end stages of actually implementing what the legislature wanted us to do."
City staff spoke virtually with more than 100 community members Thursday night. At the end of the meeting, they opened up the floor for any questions.
Some people raised concerns, including one resident who asked, "How do you require a city to build a wider variety of things while also keeping the price down?"
To that, Bend's Affordable Housing Manager Lynne McConnell replied, "The only way we can absolutely guarantee affordable housing is if we have some skin in the game. We have to invest in that property in some way in order to take a deed restriction or record a covenant on that property which allows us to keep it affordable over term."
McConnell said Bend does not have the money to subsidize and solve the housing problem on its own. She said they don't have the resources to do as much as the development community would like, but this is a good step.
City staff have spent the past several months working with the HB 2001 Stakeholder Advisory Group, which is comprised of members from the City Council, Planning Commission, Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, Neighborhood Leadership Alliance and members of other stakeholder groups, to draft a package of proposed amendments for consideration by the Bend Planning Commission and City Council. These amendments cover a range of items, from parking requirements to design standards.
To view the proposed amendments and for more information on Bend’s HB 2001 implementation, visit bendoregon.gov/HB-2001.
The Bend Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the code changes next Monday night.