Bend moved a step closer last week to breaking ground on some of the 2,380 acres the city received state approval to annex nearly two years ago.

The City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a development agreement with four landowners who own a combined 412 acres outside city limits but inside Bend’s urban growth boundary, the state-approved line around the city that limits where it can expand. The agreement, which requires another City Council vote Oct. 17, stipulates that the four landowners have to build two roundabouts, improve three sewer lift stations, build a water line in adjacent county land and pay a combined $1.4 million to upgrade existing streets.

“It really sets in stone what the developer needs to do,” said Russ Grayson, director of the city’s community development department.

Grayson and other city employees spent more than a year working with the four landowners — NWX2, CCCC, Rio Lobo Investments and Anderson Ranch Holding Co. — to come up with the agreement. The city wanted to look at the cumulative impacts of fully developing the area rather than doing it piecemeal, he said.

“What we told the property owners is if you come in independently, you’re all going to end up with the same conditions,” Grayson said. “They’re all going to overlap each other, it’s probably going to be very expensive and we’re going to be playing a big game of chicken about who blinks first and who builds what.”

If fully developed, the land would add nearly 1,200 new homes, a new elementary school and businesses on 29 acres of employment land. It’s in conjunction with a plan to add up to 187 homes in the neighboring rural county.

Between the planned city and county development and existing development including the Tree Farm, land between the city and the boundary of the Deschutes National Forest is essentially all planned, Grayson said. Bend isn’t expecting any additional development that will affect the impacted areas.

“For a very long time, this is the large-scale development that we’re going to see on the west side of town,” Grayson said. “We looked at it as saying this is our one shot to figure it out.”

The developers will upgrade three northwest Bend sewer lift stations, at a total cost of about $700,000. The city’s water system is adequate for the new development, but developers are expected to build a new 24-inch water line through land in the county transect zone.

The four property owners will build new roundabouts at the intersections of Skyline Ranch and Skyliners roads and Skyline Ranch and Shevlin Park roads. They’ll also build a missing section of Skyline Ranch Road, completing it between Shevlin Park Road and Skyliners Road, and extend Regency Drive to Skyline Ranch Road.

Development is expected to affect six other existing intersections, including the Newport and Galveston intersections with 14th Street, and the developers will pay a combined $1.4 million to offset their impact. Much of that sum will go toward reimbursing the city for reconstruction of 14th Street between Albany and Galveston avenues, a project the city wouldn’t have money to finish this year without the development agreement.

Bend’s transportation system plan, which the city is in the process of updating, prohibits widening several west-side streets, including sections of 14th Street, Newport Avenue and Galveston Avenue that will be affected by new west-side development. That also means the city isn’t considering adding additional lanes to roundabouts on those streets.

That plan, approved by the City Council nearly two decades ago, is based on feedback from people who lived in the area and said they were willing to trade higher roadway congestion in exchange for preserving the existing neighborhoods, which are walkable and have homes close to amenities such as restaurants, bars and shops. While the city is now working on updating the plan, the city and developers have to follow the policy that’s now in place.

The plan will make 14th Street fail, Councilor Bill Moseley argued Wednesday, repeatedly asking Grayson if the city’s policy is to create congestion.

Realistically, traffic will become more congested as the new areas develop, Grayson said. But the west side of Bend has a grid system that makes it possible for drivers to choose other roads, such as Mt. Washington Drive, he said. Connecting Skyline Ranch Road also will create an additional large north-south street in the area.

Mayor Casey Roats and Councilor Barb Campbell both pointed out that the city can’t widen 14th Street without condemning private property.

“They understand there will be more congestion, and the people in those neighborhoods have decided not to tear down Newport School,” Campbell said. “Those folks said they understand that we live in a state that does not allow us to say to people ‘You cannot come.’ We must accommodate growth.”

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