Bend City Council approves stormwater plan

Officials also greenlight 600-home master plan

By Hillary Borrud / The Bulletin / @hborrud

Published Aug 7, 2014 at 12:02AM

The city of Bend has a new $25.2 million plan to decrease flooding due to storm runoff over the next 20 years, after city councilors voted unanimously to approve the proposal Wednesday night.

The price tag is much lower than the city estimated when it began work on the plan in 2006, Stormwater Program Manager Wendy Edde said at Wednesday’s council meeting. Initial estimates ranged from $172 million to $214 million.

Bend’s monthly residential stormwater fee is currently $4; under the new plan, it will increase to as much as $6.80 over the next 20 years. Nonresidential utility customers currently pay $4 per 3,800 square feet of impervious surface area, such as a parking lot. City Councilor Sally Russell said it made sense to invest in stormwater infrastructure for a relatively small cost increase over two decades.

Much of the runoff comes from properties with existing large impervious surfaces, such as parking lots and driveways. City design standards now require all new construction projects to be built in such a way that runoff from major storms will be contained on-site, for example, with small landscaped areas where water can filter into the ground.

The new stormwater master plan contains 58 new projects, which include structures to capture stormwater and well holes to allow water to drain into the ground.

One major project included in the plan will address flooding problems at the NW Franklin Avenue underpass, below the railroad tracks. However, Bend Engineering and Infrastructure Planning Director Tom Hickmann said earlier this week the city has recently been able to control these problems through frequent maintenance. Hickmann said the city will continue to monitor whether it is necessary to proceed with major improvements at the site.

One project not included on the list is treatment or filtration for untreated storm runoff that still empties into the Deschutes River from some points in the city’s stormwater system. Rather, the plan calls for the city to continue monitoring water quality to determine the impact of storm runoff. Stormwater carries sediment into the river and it also contains nutrients that can encourage the growth of algae, which in turn robs the water of oxygen for fish and other aquatic species.

Other council business: Stone Creek plan approved

Also Wednesday night, the City Council voted unanimously to give final approval to the Stone Creek master plan, which will bring as many as 600 homes, an elementary school, small commercial development and a park to southeast Bend. Developers plan to build Stone Creek on vacant land south of Reed Market Road and north of Brosterhous Road.

Neighbors in the area raised concerns that streets in the area require significant pedestrian and bicycle improvements in order to be safe for the increase in traffic that will result from the development. City employees said they are working on a development agreement with the Stone Creek property owner — Lands Bend, a development company created by U.S. Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., and his wife, Cathleen, along with Harry and Rosalynn Crowell, also of California — to use development impact fees Lands Bend would have to pay anyway to improve streets in and around the project.

City Engineer Russell Grayson said Wednesday night that Stone Creek developers will likely have to pay more than $2 million in transportation development impact fees alone; there are also fees for services like sewers and parks.

City Councilor Russell said it is important for the city to keep up with infrastructure needs as development occurs across the city.

“We don’t want to build and get ahead of our capacity,” Russell said.

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