On Wednesday night, Bend City Councilors discussed the next step to spur the creation of affordable housing: exempting affordable housing from System Development Charges (SDCs).
SDCs are collected when building permits are submitted. The money from the charges goes towards capital improvements in Bend. Check out our website for a full explanation of SDCs.
Jim Long, affordable housing manager for the City of Bend, and Assistant City Manager Jon Skidmore, presented councilors with a SDC Exemption Test Program.
According to the proposed program, expeditions would be awarded to 100 units, 15 single-family and 85 multi-family units, during biennium. These expeditions would be awarded based on a strict request for proposal process.
SDCs exemptions would reduce revenue by approximately $800,000 to $1 million over the biennium. The reduction would impact sewer, water and transportation funds differently.
Long said there are about 100 multi-family and 15 to 17 single-family units that would have qualified for the pilot program this building season.
Councilors agreed they were supportive of an SDC exemption program. They also decided there should be a dollar amount cap with a sliding scale.
Erik Kancler, lobbyist for the City of Bend, gave council his second legislation update of the session during the work session. His updates included the topics of transportation, affordable housing, land-use and marijuana.
Transportation has become a very political issue in Salem, he said. The Republicans won’t support a transportation fuel package unless amendments are made to the Low Carbon Fuel Tax.
“Local advocacy is going to be the key, as well as untangling state politics,” Kancler said, referring to funding public transpiration funding.
Kancler said legislatures are working on medical and recreational marijuana separately, and legislation for medical marijuana is the priority. Because headway hasn’t been made on recreational marijuana, he told councilors they would be able to get in on the ground floor to make sure they could implement their desired policies at a local level.
Bend City Attorney Mary Winters said there have been no regulations adopted for recreational use of marijuana, but expects there will be “seed to sale” polices put in place.
Councilors told Kancler they wanted to preserve their ability to manage time, place, manner and licensing requirements for recreational marijuana.
The City of Bend needs to have local control over things that will impact the city, such as location and when retailers for recreational sales can be open, said Mayor Jim Clinton.
Councilor Victor Chudowsky suggested coming up with a couple different scenarios and testing then in the community to learn the pros and cons.
“To me, it’s a question of recognizing that this passed, the voters want it,” he said. “Kind of looking at it in a way that’s free of stigma or stereotypes … Getting feedback from people in the community about what they really want this to look like.”
Councilor Doug Knight said he did not want to dedicate valuable council time to potentially trying to solve an issue that is better solved at the state level first. However, he acknowledged there are taxing opportunities that should be capitalized on.
City Manager Eric King asked for a subcommittee of councilors to be formed to really dive into the issue. Clinton selected Councilors Nathan Boddie, Roats and Chudowsky.
Learn more about Measure 91 in our Bend Business Journal hitting shelves June 1 and at the Bend Chamber’s What’s Brewing? Bend’s Town Hall on June 2: http://business.bendchamber.org/events/details/what-s-brewing-bend-s-town-hall-736