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City of Bend considering changes to short-term rental rules, larger buffers; hearing coming up

(Update: Adding video with planner comments)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Bend Planning Commission soon will consider proposed changes to the Bend Development Code that regulates how and where Short Term Rentals can be permitted within city limits.

Proposed changes include increasing the buffer zone between permitted Short Term Rentals from 250 feet up to 500 feet in residential zones, as well as in the Mixed Riverfront zone. The proposed changes would also allow Short Term Rental permit holders to rent out their properties as a long-term rental without losing their short-term rental license.

On March 2, the Bend City Council received an update on the city’s Short Term Rental program and reviewed results from a Short Term Rental property owners survey, in which 338 out of 752 Short Term Rental owners participated.

Based on the survey results, property owners were supportive of incentives to rent long term, including waiving the proof of use requirement to keep the Short Term Rental operating license. Currently, the Bend Development Code doesn’t allow a property owner to keep their Short Term Rental license if the property isn’t rented out as a Short Term Rental for more than 12 months.

The Council also was interested in looking at possibly increasing the current 250-foot concentration limit to provide more housing as long-term rentals. Council directed staff to prepare amendments to allow Short Term Rental permit holders to rent out their properties as long-term rentals and to increase the separation distance from 250 feet to 500 feet between Short Term Rentals. 

The Council’s 2021-23 biennium goals include: “Take meaningful action to make this statement a reality: People who live and work in Bend can afford housing in Bend.” The goal includes a strategy to “Pursue policy actions to increase the supply of housing as a platform for equity.”

The Planning Commission will have a hybrid work session on the changes at 5:30 p.m. on August 22. The meeting will be in person in Council Chambers at 710 NW Wall Street, Bend, OR, 97703 or virtually. Attendance instructions for the virtual meeting will be on the meeting agenda which will be posted on the Planning Commission webpage prior to the meeting. 

A public hearing, where community members will be permitted to give feedback on the record about the proposed changes, is scheduled for Sept. 12, and much of the community recently received public notice of the hearing. Comments can be sent prior to the meeting to phardie@bendoregon.gov.

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