A proposed subdivision near Shevlin Park that has concerned a nearby homeowners association got the green light from the Bend Planning Commission.

On Monday, planning commissioners voted unanimously to allow the plan for the 40-acre subdivision to move forward. The subdivision, which would be built by Bend-based Rio Lobo Investments LLC, would sit southwest of NW Shevlin Park Road near McLain Drive.

The site would include 116 lots and a nearly 4-acre park managed by the Bend Park & Recreation District. The neighborhood is one of many that was slated for development on Bend’s west side when the city expanded its urban growth boundary in 2016.

But several neighbors in the Three Pines Homeowners Association have objected to the proposal over concerns that construction would overwhelm their substandard, private roads. Neighbors also take issue with the exceptions the subdivision has so far been granted to allow for smaller lot sizes than the current zoning allows, said Byron Buck, the president of the association. The exception allows for more lots to be built, and allows for cul-de-sacs in areas that otherwise would be required to have streets that provide other ways out of the neighborhood.

“We shouldn’t pass special rules when we could be following existing ones,” Buck said Monday.

The association is asking the developer drop the number of lots from 116 to 105. That way, every lot could meet the 10,000-square-foot standard that is listed in the code, and match the character of the surrounding neighborhood.

But Tammy Wisco, who represented the developer Monday, said Rio Lobo has heard the concerns of driving on private streets and has designed the project in such a way that the first new road, Jesse Place, will be built to handle the majority of the construction traffic.

Having a few lots be smaller than the minimum required by the zone is necessary in order to get around topographical barriers, Wisco said.

There are areas that are so steep they can’t be built on, Wisco said, which means some lots will have to be larger, and others smaller.

“This is a culmination of many, many years of planning,” Wisco said.

Wisco also pointed out that the 116-lot design was already a compromise made back when the city was deciding how dense housing could be on the land. Four years ago, landowners wanted to build even more dense housing, but reached a deal with Central Oregon LandWatch to keep the area low density.

Reducing the number of lots would also go against the council’s goal to build 3,000 housing units by 2021, Wisco said.

“That’s been the impetus (for the subdivision),” Wisco said.

The planning commission appeared to agree with the logic of the developer, and supported building more housing rather than less — even if it required a deviation from the code.

“It’s easy … to want a big grid everywhere, but our topography doesn’t always lend itself to that,” Commissioner Suzanne Johnson said.

The proposal will go before the Bend City Council later this year, where a final decision will be made.

— Reporter: 541-633-2160, bvisser@bendbulletin.com

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