Bend’s city committees now have a clearer idea of what their work for the next two years will look like.
Leaders of several standing city committees met with the City Council on Wednesday afternoon to hear about the city’s goals and what the council expects committees to do to meet those goals. Much of the work the city wants to do will require participation from several of the committees, City Manager Eric King said.
Affordable Housing Advisory Committee and Planning Commission
A lofty goal for the next two years is to issue building permits for 3,000 new homes by July 2021. Councilors said they wanted to see the affordable housing advisory committee work on that goal.
The committee makes recommendations to the city on how best to spend federal and city money to build homes for people making less than the median income in the area. The federal money is subject to tight restrictions, but the city is considering adjusting its policies to allow local money to be used also for homes for people who make more than the federal income limits, but not enough to afford to rent or buy homes in Bend.
“We’re really looking not to just focus on deed-restricted (housing) but also look a little more broadly,” Councilor Justin Livingston said.
The committee, along with the planning commission, will review the city’s development code and work on policies to allow alternative types of homes, including tiny homes, fourplexes and units that resemble dorms with separate bedrooms and shared common space.
Economic Development Advisory Board
The Bend Economic Development Advisory Board also is focused in part on increasing affordable housing. Board member Kevin Cole said many of the issues the board deals with are circular in nature.
“We have a lack of workforce housing; that generates a shortage of employees; that inhibits economic growth,” he said.
One part of the committee’s work this year is updating business registration fees to generate more money that can be used to meet city goals. It also will work on changes to how the city oversees Visit Bend.
Neighborhood Leadership Alliance
The alliance, which focuses on livability and formed last year, will work on traffic safety and educating the community about how land use policies work.
About $400,000 has been earmarked in the upcoming two-year budget for a neighborhood traffic safety program. The committee will help decide where to spend that money.
Climate Action Steering Committee
The committee’s main goal is to finalize Bend’s climate action plan, which the city plans to adopt during the next two years. Lindsey Hardy, co-chairwoman of the committee, said the work the committee’s done will help in other ways as well.
Other city goals are related to the environment and include reducing waste and researching renewable energy production.
“The plan really can help you achieve a lot of your other goals,” Hardy said.
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