I was dismayed to read in The Bulletin that the city is seeking to extend the deadline for submitting a revised Urban Growth Boundary expansion plan to the state Department of Land Conservation and Development by another four years.
By shifting the horizon for addressing 20-year growth projections, further delay in the UGB process threatens the future of affordable homeownership in Bend. The current housing recovery is defined by increasing prices and reduced inventories. Bend residential sales last year were 18 percent above 2011 and the median price increased 16 percent.
Further delays in an already extended process threaten to force home prices upward based on a shortage of suitable building land. This creates the danger of another volatile housing “bubble” that cannot be sustained.
Bend’s current and future residents deserve homes that reflect the ability to choose between alternatives in a marketplace that is not troubled by land shortages and artificial upward price pressures. The current UGB expansion process has been going on since 2004. I don’t believe the public would be well served by another delay.
I am not unaware of, nor unsympathetic to, problems faced by city staff and council members. Infrastructure and transportation needs, disruptive appeals and interaction with the powerful DLCD create numerous interconnected obstacles. My concern lies with this community, its future and its stable growth.