City Council delays roundabout requirement

Park district to avoid building roundabout near new pavilion for now

By Hillary Borrud / The Bulletin

The Bend City Council voted Wednesday night to allow the Bend Park & Recreation District to put off building a roundabout at Simpson Avenue and Columbia Street when the district builds a multi-use pavilion nearby. The intersection is currently a four-way stop, and existing city zoning requires the owner to build a roundabout when the property is developed.

Scott Wallace, chairman of the park district board, said the pavilion project is a great example of local governments working together.

“This community will really appreciate what we’re building here,” Wallace said. “For the last 40 years, a project like this has been talked about in the community.”

The total estimated cost of the pavilion project is approximately $10.6 million. On top of that, the district has estimated it would cost roughly $2.5 million to build the roundabout.

A park district official said in June the district could begin building the ice rink as soon as October and finish by November 2015.

The park district has estimated the Simpson Pavilion, a covered structure where there will be ice skating in the winter and a variety of hard-court sports in summer, will cost approximately $8.1 million. District plans for the pavilion include a concession area, changing rooms, 120 to 150 lockers and a Zamboni storage area. Other site improvements will include landscaping, a rock garden, a fire pit and benches.

The previous property owner, Proterra Bend, successfully sought a city zoning change to allow for mixed-use development.

During the process to rezone the property, the city researched the amount of traffic mixed-use development would generate.

A hearings officer initially recommended denial of the zone change because of the traffic it would generate, but the officer ultimately approved the change after the city and Proterra negotiated a package of street work that included the roundabout at Simpson Avenue and Columbia Street, according to a city report. Proterra never developed the property, and it went through foreclosure.

The park district asked the city not to require construction of the roundabout because the district does not expect the pavilion will generate the amount of traffic that the development planned by the previous owner would have.

Instead, the park district agreed to improve street striping at the intersection and pay the city $83,000 to rebuild sidewalk curb ramps to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and street features intended to slow traffic in the area.

The park district will also pay the city $98,000 to improve the nearby Simpson Avenue and Century Drive roundabout to make it easier for fire vehicles to navigate, and contribute $25,000 to a city study of the improvements necessary to handle future traffic increases in the area.

The pavilion will only occupy part of the 11-acre property, and the park district will still have to build the roundabout at Columbia Street and Simpson Avenue when it develops the remainder, unless the city traffic study shows that is unnecessary.

In other business Wednesday night, the City Council voted to approve a $200,000 increase to a contract with consultants developing new water, sewer and stormwater rates, which brings the total contract ceiling to $450,000. The consultants’ earlier work under the contract included developing financial plans for city water and sewer services and providing information to a city advisory committee working on sewer plans.

The City Council also voted to approve a new franchise agreement with Cascade Natural Gas for the company’s facilities that pass through public property. The new agreement raises the franchise fee from 4.5 percent to 5 percent.

The council also voted to approve an enterprise zone tax exemption for Agere Pharmaceuticals Inc., which could cost the city more than $20,000 in lost property tax revenue over five years, according to a city report.

— Reporter: 541-617-7829, hborrud@bendbulletin.com