"Smart Growth" and "New Urbanism" … Compared with "Large Lot Zoning" (Tom Lane) [ Home Page – Click Here ]

(November 22, 2014) – Traditional "Large Lot Zoning" is "Greener" than "Smart Growth" within Urban Growth Boundaries . . . Copyright 2009 – 2014 . . . Tom Lane . . . Photographing California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington

(Nov. 2, 2010) BEND UGB (Urban Growth Boundary) – John VanLandingham and Richard Whitman (DLCD) Issue Final Order Against City of Bend UGB Proposal

Above: City of Bend’s Northwest Crossing Low Density mixed use area.  DLCD officials John VanLandingham and Richard Whitman want High Density Smart Growth; Bend citizens, city officials, and Realtors want lower density Smart Growth.

Please note: As of April 5, 2011, numerous commentaries on the ongoing Bend vs. State of Oregon debate have been truncated, reflecting the fact that this is primarily a blog about design and land use economics, not politics.

(Archived News; revised April 5, 2011) Nov. 2, 2011 was a very sad day for the City of Bend, unemployed Bend construction workers, Oregon realtors, Oregon families,  Oregon property rights advocates, and Chris Dudley for Governor supporters.   Far left Democrat Gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber narrowly won, by only 20,000 votes (1.4 percent), over Moderate-Republican candidate Chris Dudley.

On election day,  Oregon LCDC Chair John VanLandingham finally issued the City of Bend the expected final draft of the partial acceptance and partial remand of their UGB (Urban Growth Boundary) (click here for his 150 page report).

John VanLandingham, Chair, LCDC

The gubernatorial election was very close election. Kitzhaber alledgedly won by only 20,000 votes, or 1.4%, statewide, (see table below), despite examples of voter fraud, with over 3,000 ballots counted without signatures in Multnomah County, as reported by Lars Larson of Alpha Broadcasting and Compass Media Networks (on Nov. 5, 2010).

Bend voters lost in two ways on election day.  First, Chris Dudley campaigned for property rights and less regulations.  Second, Bend voters are well educated in real estate economics, and understand the necessity of increasing Bend’s urban growth boundary to induce economic expansion, by keeping real estate prices down.  It has taken Bend’s city leaders 5 years of public hearings and 4 millions dollars to formulate their own UGB proposal.  Unfortunately, due to the state’s central planning from the DLCD, what Bend city officials and citizens want is at the mercy of Richard Whitman and his commissioners.

Originally, the City said they might sue the State to expand their UGB.

Richard Whitman, DLCD Director, is both an urban planner and environmental lawyer, with three degrees, from MIT, Tufts, and UC-Berkeley.  The City of Bend has previously said they may sue the state. LCDC Chair John VanLandingham noted in his Nov. 2, 2010 report notes that the City had 60 days to file an appeal in court.

Richard Whitman, Director, DLCD

I strongly support Bend if they decide to sue, although the 60 days has passed. Is it still too late to sue?  And, so will Bend’s local taxpayers, who are unemployed construction workers waiting for the UGB approval.  Currently, Bend has 15%+ unemployment.  Bend’s planners have worked very hard to make the City a success story here in the West.  Photos on my web site of Bend appear at these posts. Bend City planners deserve to continue their great work, without heavy handed growth management from the DLCD and John VanLandingham, Greg McPherson, and Richard Whitman.

Concerned citizens for high unemployment in rural Oregon should be concerned about DLCD Director Richard Whitman.  He has failed to approve the urban growth boundary extension in Bend, Oregon.  Attorney Richard Whitman has three degrees from MIT, Tufts, and Berkeley.

He does not always connect well with Bend, and perhaps it would be best for Oregon to have two directors of DLCD:  one for Eastern and Southern Oregon, and a second (Richard Whitman) for the high density communities in the Willamette Valley.

Regional Land Use Control versus Local Control

Indeed, in the Seattle area, there’s a special liberal anti-growth agency called the Puget Sound Regional Council, establishing an urban growth boundary, and towering high density smart growth condos, over the four county area around Seattle.  And, Portland has the agency Metro, operating in a similar capacity in the liberal Portland area.  Regional agencies for land use are less controversial than statewide growth management agencies.

I consider myself even more liberal than these agencies, since I think it’s best for land use decisions to be made by local cities and counties at town meetings.  Statewide and regional commissions such as the LCDC, PSRC, and Metro have a tendency to trump on the rights of local city planners, city councils, and those who elected them.  A liberal perspective maximizes rights for individual citizens and their elected City Councils, who appoint planning commissions and City planners.

Therefore, from a historical framework, statewide and regional planning agencies are “socialistic,” rather than liberal, because of their control over local land use decisions.  Remember, liberal in the Adam Smith tradition involves freedom of choice and limited government intervention in the economy (i.e. in this case, urban growth boundaries).  As an analogy, a statewide law that bans gun rights or gay marriage would not be liberal.

On a national level, the continuing saga of the City of Bend vs. Richard Whitman and his commissioners over the City’s urban growth boundary expansion plan (especially Greg McPherson of Lake Oswego) has become at least one “poster child smart growth story,” of too much statewide control of the goals of talented and competent local urban planners.

Bend Long Range Planning Manager Brian Shetterly  tells the Daily Journal of Commerce that the City with a population of only 81,000 has spent 4 million dollars over 5 years for “studies” mandated by the State of Oregon.

Having just visited Bend for the first time (note other posts with photos, and more on the way), and comparing Bend to dozens of other Western US tourist/college towns, I have ranked Bend as #1 out of 23 cities.  Bend has great planners with exceptional vision, who care about establishing a safe and attractive City for a variety of individuals, including tourists, retirees, young families, entrepreneur, and singles.

The Case for Local Control over Local Planning Decisions

I advocate local control over local decisions, and always oppose state or federal mandates for any type of land use.  I hope Bend can expand its UGB the way they want to, and set a precedence for the growing national controversy over statewide Growth Management Acts, and their effect on housing affordability and poverty, as I outline in this post.

Bend residents, the City Council, and City planners, take great pride in their City, and want to grow with larger lot sizes than what DLCD, John VanLandingham, and Richard Whitman want.  Bill Robie, Government Affairs Director of the Central Oregon Association of Realtors, advocates in this letter to Bend Officials for large lots, affordable housing, and an expanded urban growth boundary.  On this blog, I have shown photographs of low density smart growth neighborhoods in Bend, and, examples of unsafe narrow streets and safe wide streets.

In Oregon, you can go to your local City Council and speak for or against growth, yet ultimately, it’s one of several State agencies that make the final decisions (LCDC, TGM – Transportation and Growth Management, DEQ – Department of Environmental Quality, and DSL – Department of State Lands).

I don’t know if there are any places in Oregon where your efforts speaking at public meetings has a better chance making a difference at City Council meetings.  Theoretically, it’s best if planning and other decisions are made at the local level.

For example, in Bend’s sister city of Durango, Colorado, La Plata County has developed a Smart Growth and Transit Plan without urban growth boundaries imposed by the State of Colorado.

This Breaks My Heart – Bend and West Coast Poverty and Underacheivement due to Urban Growth Boundaries and Permit Delays

The land use system in Oregon has horrible consequences for the unemployed construction workers in Bend.  In fact, the actions of DLCD are fiscally irresponsible, as the unemployed who could otherwise be building new homes and schools in Bend, receive unemployment benefits, increasing the State of Oregon’s debt.

Too often at the voting booth, we vote for policies that protect the environment, yet forget that our actions at the voting booth affect the little guy.  One must realize that DLCD denying Bend 8,000 acres for development in its proposed UGB, causing the starving of children of construction workers. Even Liberal Democrats would be opposed to the Nov. 2010 decision in Bend, as I discuss in this post.

Remember, Bend with growth management has a huge foreclosure crisis and 15% unemployment, whereas similar outdoors town Durango, Colorado has no urban growth boundary and just 6% unemployment.

Does DLCD Appreciate Bend’s Green Initiatives?

If there is any city that takes care of its environment while it grows, it’s Bend, by issuing smart growth with larger than typical lot sizes, parks, trails, a tree ordinance, and a unique focus on environmental quality and green buildings.  Bend deserves to keep growing given its commitment to several green initiatives.  Portland and Eugene with horrible congestion and air pollution should both stop growing, since they have failed to “grow green.”

Except for heavy handed land use regulations from DLCD, Bend is just like Boulder, Durango, Fort Collins, or any other “green” city in Colorado, who grow as they please, since there is no statewide growth management act in Colorado.

Bend preserves native trees on large lots, and birds of prey and wildlife are all over the City. The City residents respect nature as do the developers who build energy efficient structures, in colors matching the surrounding landscape. Why not let Bend continue to grow in the same way - that's what they want to do, but VanLandingham said no on election day. Photo looking NW from Pilot Butte towards Aubrey Butte, Black Butte, and Mt. Jefferson.

Local Control: Dead On The West Coast

In summary, the concept of local control for all decisions seems to be a thing of the past out there on the West Coast, with the governments of Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona playing far left roles in local land use decisions.  For example, the new roundabouts in the cowboy town of Wickenburg, Arizona, of all places:

http://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=3129&action=edit

One of a series of new roundabout in Wickenburg, likely due from a grant from the Arizona Office of Smart Growth. The locals do not like the roundabouts that have caused accidents. Thanks to the Wickenburg police for not impounding my car with foreign plates while taking photos. They probably don't like them either, so they gave me a pass.

Confrontation between Richard Whitman and the Bend City Council

Unfortunately, the Bend Chamber of Commerce “Chamber Weekly” reports of a confrontation between Whitman and the Bend City Council at a 2010 meeting.

From: http://www.bendchamber.org/WeeklyEmail/2010/jan/01-29.html#city

Bend City Council Questions DLCD Official

      The questions were hard and far reaching last Friday as the Bend City Council talked face to face to Department of Land Conservation and Development Director Richard Whitman.
     “When I approach a decision, I do so seriously,” Whitman told councilors. “Part of that responsibility is to understand the local decision, and understand what goes on at the local level.”
     Whitman stood firm on his responses to the city’s urban growth boundary expansion, but tried to shed light on his decisions within the 150+ page report.
     Councilors expressed their concerns over the difference of opinions in the Director’s report and questioned if DLCD staff had worked closely with city staff on the expansion documents.
     “How much help did you provide our planning staff as we went along step-by step?” questioned Councilor Oran Teater. “There are so many instances where you say we are wrong, and I think we have a wonderful staff and planning commission that did a lot of homework.”
     Whitman stated he believed his staff did work with the city staff all through process including sending a series of detailed letters and arranging meetings. He believes the reason why his department and the city are so far apart is based on technical issues rather than substantive issues. “I have respect for your planning staff,” Whitman said. “But I believe they and you have not followed the state requirements that we did communicate repeatedly as you were going through the process.”
     Mayor Kathie Eckman questioned if DLCD was trying to use a one-size-fits-all approach in its decision on Bend’s UGB. Eckman pointed out staff, steering committees, the planning commission, and citizens have spent several years and millions of dollars on a project that best reflects what the citizens want. “We want to know what the department’s position is if they feel the state has a better grasp of what we need in Bend or do the citizens of Bend have a better understanding of that knowledge?” she said. “(We feel) the state is trying to make us look like Beverton or Tualatin or Hillsboro.”
     Whitman stated Oregon’s land-use rules are pragmatic when it comes to expansion. He said the city needs to look at doing what it can to grow efficiently while also minimizing the amount of land needed. He also stressed several times there are concerns about affordable housing in the Bend area.
     Councilors balked at several portions of Whitman’s analysis stating the information the department is looking for is located within the over 15,000 page record, they also questioned his taking ownership of the document. During his presentation to the council, Whitman referred to the report as “the director’s report” rather than my report. “In reading the report, it almost sounds like there are two voices,” said Councilor Mark Capell. “Part is being pragmatic and part is being negative. Am I missing something?”
     The actual report was written by 12 different people, but Whitman said it was a team effort and he stands behind his team. He also told councilors he spent a lot of personal time on the report and he “takes personal responsibility of the entire report.” Whitman again pointed out to councilors many of the decisions reflected comments the city was given previously by his staff.
     Though the city has decided to appeal the report to Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC), Whitman said he’s still willing to work with the city on issues and technical discrepancies within the report. He also advised council, in their appeal, to use specific references to areas that might have been misinterpreted.
     The city has until January 29 to file an appeal with the LCDC. LCDC is expected to have a meeting in Bend in March. More than likely, any appeals from the city will be heard at that time. If the city disagrees with the commission’s decision, an appeal can be filed with the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Relevant Links on VanLandingham’s Decision, Election Results, Map of UGB

Updates on the UGB from the City of Bend -

http://www.ci.bend.or.us/depts/community_development/ugb_expansion_information.html

UGB Expansion Information

Final LCDC Order on Bend UGB Expansion
On Nov. 3, the state Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) issued an order that partially acknowledges and partially remands Bend’s proposed UGB expansion.  Certain elements of the City’s proposal have been approved (acknowledged); the remaining elements require additional explanation and/or work (remand).
The Commission’s order becomes final on Jan. 3, 2011 unless appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Correction: The LCDC 150 page report was signed and dated by John VanLandingham on Nov. 2.

Download LCDC final order (as a PDF)

Bend’s latest growth boundary plan a no-go

Pub: Daily Journal of Commerce, Nov. 8, 2010

by Nick Bjork
Dolan Media Newswires

PORTLAND, OR — In Bend, when all else fails, try, try again.

The seven-member state land-use board, the Land Conservation and Development Commission, sent back the city of Bend’s latest urban growth boundary proposal late last week. For nearly five years, the city and the state have tossed expansion proposals back and forth. Now, the city says two more years of work and $100,000 could be required for city staff to work through the board’s remand tasks and issue another submittal.

The city proposed expanding its UGB by 8,500 acres so that it could meet its anticipated land needs for housing and economic development over the next 20 years. The city of 80,000 people expects to add 40,000 people in that time. Bend previously expanded its UGB in 1981 when the population was 17,425.

After unsuccessfully working through some initial proposals, the city submitted the 8,500-acre proposal in 2009. It was remanded in January by the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, which said that “the director agrees with the city and county that a UGB expansion is needed, but the size of the expansion is over four square miles larger than the amount of land they determined is needed.”

The decision was immediately appealed to the state board, which made its remand last week.

“It needs to be noted that this is not a rejection,” said John VanLandingham, chairman of the LCDC. “It’s us saying that the city needs to explain this to us better.

“The city still has work to do to meet the statutory requirements for a UGB expansion,” he said. “Whether they get to expand it, or by how much, will come after that.”

The remand said the city needs to update its plans to note an additional need for land. The remand also asked the city to further prove that its land needs cannot be accommodated within the current UGB.

“A lot of the remand was based around the extent to which we can accommodate housing in the current UGB,” said Brian Shetterly, long-range planning manager for the city of Bend. “We need to identify and look into efficiency measures that could help us accommodate that.”

The next step for the city would be for it to appeal to the state Land Use Board of Appeals. But city staff may prefer to simply complete the work outlined in the final decision laid out by the LCDC.

“We aren’t seeing anything in the final order that would cause us to recommend to the (city) council to appeal the decision so far,” Shetterly said. “But we will meet with council shortly and they will make the final determination on that decision.”

The city has spent nearly $4 million on the process to expand the UGB.

While the city had proposed 8,500 acres initially, Shetterly expects that number to drop as a result of the remand process. He estimated that the current UGB can likely accommodate 10 more years of growth, but not 20 years, the amount required by state law.

“We have a history of badly underestimating our land needs, so we need to be careful as we move forward,” he said. “We now know it’s not going to be 8,500 acres, but we still believe it can be an adequate amount.”

http://www.mycentraloregon.com/news/local/1303092/Bend-Ordered-To-Trim-UGB-Proposal.html

Bend Ordered To Trim UGB Proposal

November 04, 2010    07:45 am  Glenn Vaagen

BEND, OR — The state Land Conservation and Development Commission issued an order Wednesday telling Bend to trim the size of the proposed Urban Growth Boundary. While some elements of the City’s proposals were given the go-ahead, the LCDC ordered Bend to reduce the 8,500 acres being sought in the UGB proposal. The City may appeal the ruling to the Oregon Court of Appeals, but must do so before January 3rd. It’s anticipated it could take 18 months or more for the City to agree on a modified UGB.

http://www.tsweekly.com/5017-bend-ugb-decision-forthcoming.html

Bend UGB Decision Forthcoming

The city of Bend sent notice this week that the state is ready to give Bend a final word on its 25-year growth plan, which the city submitted to the state earlier this year after several long years of work by city staff, the planning commission and the council.

However, it looks as though the plan is likely to be kicked back to the city for a major re-work, according to one person with close knowledge of the formal process, who spoke to me off the record about the project.

The plan has long been the subject of controversy, a sort of proxy battle over the city’s history of pro-growth policies. And the council made no bones about its desire to include as much land as legally defensible in the new plan, which delineates how and where Bend can grow as the urban area expands into the surrounding rural areas of Deschutes County.

However, it looks as though the city’s go-big strategy is going to result in a go-home result, as the Department of Land Conservation and Development sends the city back to the proverbial drawing board. Meanwhile, it’s anybody’s guess as to how long it will actually take Bend to exhaust the existing inventory of unsold and/or unfinished homes – not to mention all the unfinished and bankrupt housing development projects that dot the landscape.

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https://circulation.bendbulletin.com/publicus2/html/login?CSProduct=BUONLINE&CSAuthReq=1289036049:27340828825642:557187C34B869B111F1C7ACC6E62A06F&CSTargetURL=http://www.bendbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/login&AID=20101104/NEWS01/11040417

Bend gets UGB order from state

City will have to make adjustments in its boundary expansion or appeal

By Nick Grube / The Bulletin
Published: November 04. 2010 4:00AM PST

The city of Bend has some work to do before the state accepts its plan for how and where it will grow over the next 20 years.

On Wednesday, the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission issued the city a final remand order. It outlines how Bend must amend its urban growth boundary expansion proposal to comply with state land use laws.

This final remand order will cause city officials to re-evaluate Bend’s initially proposed UGB expansion and amend it to fit with the state’s guidelines, which will likely result in a much smaller UGB proposal.

City officials are digesting the final order and must decide before Jan. 3 if they want to appeal the commission’s order to the Oregon Court of Appeals. If the order is not appealed, the city will once again undergo a lengthy process of updating its UGB expansion proposal, which officials have said could take 18 months or more.

“We actually are pleased with the end results,” City Manager Eric King said of the remand order. “From a staff perspective, we don’t anticipate any reason to file an appeal at this point.”

Bend initially wanted to increase its UGB by about 8,500 acres, but officials from the state Department of Land Conservation and Development disagreed, saying the city should increase its density within current limits.

This set off a nearly yearlong battle over the city’s UGB proposal and raised questions about whether Bend should be allowed to grow the way it wants to without heavy-handed state intervention.

Under Oregon law, every city must have a 20-year supply of land for housing and economic development while also showing a demonstrated need to expand its UGB to meet those demands. The last time Bend expanded its UGB was in 1981, when the city’s population was 17,425. Today, the city’s population is over 80,000.

So far, the city has estimated it has spent about $4 million on its latest UGB expansion proposal.

Nick Grube can be reached at 541-633-2160 or at ngrube@bendbulletin.com.

From the Bend Bulletin, Oct. 6, 2010:

Bend may sue over UGB* (*Urban Growth Boundary)

The city may take state to court, if land board doesn’t budge

By Nick Grube / The Bulletin

Published: October 06. 2010 4:00AM PST

http://www.bendbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101006/NEWS01/10060390

The city of Bend is willing to take the state to court for the chance to plan its own growth.

If the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development doesn’t make certain concessions regarding Bend’s contentious plan to increase the size of its urban growth boundary, the city will challenge the ruling to the State Court of Appeals.

Bend has been fighting with the state for much of the past year over its UGB proposal, which once approved by the DLCD will dictate how and where the city will be able to grow during the next 20 years.

Build out or up?

The basic crux of that battle has been whether Bend really needed as much land as it wanted to add to its UGB — about 8,500 acres — or if it should focus on developing vacant lots and increasing density within the current limits.

Last month, the Land Conservation and Development Commission issued a draft order of what the city must do to get DLCD’s blessing for a UGB expansion. While it took city officials a couple of weeks to digest the 156-page report and prepare their responses, this week they sent a somewhat stern and sometimes conciliatory letter to the state seeking certain changes.

“We don’t want to keep drawing lines in the sand and set up an impossible situation with a state agency,” City Manager Eric King said. “But at the same time we have to be vigilant in defending this community and what’s best for Bend.”

In most cases, the city is asking the state to correct things in its final order that it felt might have been different than what state commissioners decided during a series of public hearings in spring. These could be minor clarifications that ask for more detail so the city knows exactly what it needs to do to get approval of its UGB to downright disagreements about what was meant by a commission decision during those hearings.

For instance, one strongly worded section of the Bend’s response states the city does not agree with a section of the order that would require certain lands to be to be set aside for higher-density housing in perpetuity.

By requiring particular parcels in Bend to be zoned in a certain manner forever, is “not how planning works,” the letter states, and could infringe upon the rights of private landowners. It goes on to note that if the DLCD did not correct that portion of the order it would be grounds for the city to appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

According to staff in Bend’s Planning Department, the state will issue a final ruling anywhere from the next two weeks to the next two and half months after which there’s a 60-day appeal period. Whether the city makes that decision will be up the Bend City Council, which will receive an update on the UGB expansion tonight.

“Just because we’ve pointed out something that we think needs to be corrected that doesn’t mean the state will make that correction,” Bend Long Range Planning Manager Brian Shetterly said. “We still don’t really know where we stand until we get the final order. … (And) we’re going to have to be prepared to make adjustments once we do get that order.”

Bend has spent an estimated $4 million over several years to create its UGB expansion plan. Shetterly said that while he doesn’t expect a new plan to take as long to finalize and resubmit to the state, he estimates it will take at least 18 months.

“A majority of what was adopted initially will have to be revisited,” Shetterly said. “Some of it will simply clarify findings that we have already made.”

One thing is certain, he said, Bend’s proposed UGB will be smaller than the initially expected, and there will be measures that guarantee higher density development.

Paul Dewey, an attorney for Central Oregon LandWatch — one of the groups that appealed Bend’s UGB proposal — said he thinks the states remand order was an accurate portrayal of what happened during the public hearings. For that reason, he said, Central Oregon LandWatch did not submit any corrections or clarifications like the city.

He said Central Oregon LandWatch has some problems with the city’s response to the state, mainly with those that fight increasing density within the current bounds of the city, but added that most of the requests are for greater clarification that will improve the overall process for getting a reasonable UGB approved.

“We think the (Land Conservation and Development Commission) remand is good in that one of things that we requested was as much specificity as possible so that in the next go around people expected what was requested,” Dewey said. “And, equally, the city’s request for clarification and changes for the most part is also good because it furthers that refinement and understanding so everyone’s on the same page.”

Nick Grube can be reached at 541-633-2160 or at ngrube@bendbulletin.com.

Oregon Governor Totals, Nov. 2, 2010

http://egov.sos.state.or.us/division/elections/results/2010G/339304866.html

CLICK to enlarge and read statistics, County by County. From the Oregon Secretary of State.

VanLandingham’s Nov. 2, 2010 Report

PDF Link: http://www.ci.bend.or.us/depts/community_development/docs/Bend_UGB_LCDC_OrderFinal_10PartAck_001795_11_02_10.pdf

CLICK to enlarge and read.

Again, VanLandingham and Whitman can't see the forest for the trees. This land located west of town might be part of the urban growth boundary. Even if it is, the native trees will be preserved if the developers of NW Crossing extend their development westward to this area. So what is there to complain about? Why keep wasting taxpayer money on report after report?

If Bend was really so evil for wanting to expand their urban growth boundary, as DLCD implies, then why are solar panels so common (see homes to left), and why do they have bike lanes on every street - even these bright red lanes on US-97?

Again, if Bend was really so evil and anti-green as DLCD says, then why would Web Cyclery be such a thriving local business, selling very high quality bikes and accessories?

Again, if Bend and its Developers were really so evil for wanting to expand, just as DLCD says, then why would the Developers of NW Crossing build community vegetable gardens for their residents?

(October, 2011) ODOT Approves Interchange after Seven Year Delay at Bend’s Mixed Use Industrial Park – Juniper Ridge

Click here for City of Bend Juniper Ridge Slide Show, 2009.

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After an unacceptably long delay, the stalemate between the anti-growth State of Oregon, and the pro-jobs / pro-growth City of Bend, may be over. Bob Bryant of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says (below) that he will likely finally approve the transportation plan for the 1,500 mixed use Juniper Ridge development, north of the current Bend Urban Growth Boundary.

Once Bob Bryant signs the agreement, construction can begin within Juniper Ridge. What’s unclear to me is how construction can begin, when DLCD Director Richard Whitman and John VanLandingham haven’t approved the Urban Growth Boundary extension. Whether or not Bend will be able to develop Juniper Ridge on their terms, remains to be seen.

The Juniper Ridge smart growth, pedestrian friendly development will feature residential and commercial development, along with an emphasis on preserving open space. Juniper Ridge will also feature industrial development and a new University with advanced degrees.

According to the City of Bend web site on Juniper ridge:

“The project’s design has a very strong pedestrian orientation. Juniper Ridge will offer bikeways, pedestrian paths, running trails and a network of parks, gathering places, and open space that will knit together the employment, commercial and residential neighborhoods of the plan. In short, everything the City has learned in the past fifteen years about attractive, sustainable, and successful development will be applied to Juniper Ridge.

Industry sectors such as aerospace, medical devices, computer electronics, software, telecommunications, educational services, financial services, and alternative energy resources will be specifically targeted to expand into Juniper Ridge.”

The State of Oregon, and all their ridiculous transportation and urban growth boundary rules, have stalled the development of high paying jobs in education and the high tech industry in Central Oregon. Unemployment has been much worse in Bend without high tech and educational services at the new University, due to the permit delays from State officials. In fact, Juniper Ridge was first proposed in about 2005.

From the aforementioned Bend Juniper Ridge web site, the following appears to be the reason for Bob Bryant’s ODOT transportation permit delay:

“Why does the City need an agreement with ODOT (Bob Bryant) to proceed with development? The Juniper Ridge property is currently zoned Urban Area Reserve, and must be rezoned to Light Industrial before land can be sold for development.

A state law known as the Transportation Planning Rule, or TPR for short, gives ODOT the authority to approve or disapprove of any application for a rezoning of property if the proposed project creates an adverse impact on ODOT’s roadway system. (i.e. US-97)

Usually, these impacts must be defined, mitigation measures identified, and funding sources for those mitigations guaranteed before ODOT will allow the requested rezoning to be approved.

Growth at Juniper Ridge will have a significant impact on the Cooley/97 intersection – enough to require that the intersection be completely redesigned and reconstructed – a $40 million project. Because the City cannot fund this large a project in advance, we have to come to an agreement with ODOT about when the City can generate enough money to design and construct the project before they will allow the rezoning to move ahead.”

What? Since when does a State have to tell the City that they need to fund an interchange before growth can begin? Why can they not rezone the property and rebuild the intersection simultaneously? And, why does a City, at least in this case, have to pay for a State highway (US-97)? If ODOT thinks that the new intersection will cause traffic problems on US-97, then why don’t they pay for the new interchange?

And, how many times are Oregon state officials going to keep worrying about growth in these tiny towns – Ashland, Bend, etc.? Bend has 81,000 in the City limits, that’s nothing. Ashland has 21,000. Bend does not have a traffic problem, and even if they expect one with Juniper Ridge, they have at least 5 planners on staff with certifications in urban planning from the APA (American Planning Association) to address the problem. Click here to see the rigorous testing, and extensive on the job experience that’s required for planners to become Certified planners, with the American Planning Association.

Excessive Statewide Control over Bend City Officials -

I don’t know of any state other than Oregon, where state officials, such as Bob Bryant of ODOT, and Richard Whitman of DLCD, have so much control over highly experienced officials running local governments, such as Bend.

As moderate conservative columnist David Brooks recently wrote, local municipalities don’t even control their own cities anymore. Look how many agencies are involved in Bend’s growth process: LCDC, LUBA, ODOT, TGM (Transportation and Growth Management), and others. Not to mention the special interest groups, such as 1,000 friends for Oregon, and Central Oregon Land Watch, and their attempts to manipulate local governments, and file appeals with the LUBA (Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals).

Also note what commentator Mike Rosen recently said about government on his radio show. Rosen is columnist for the Denver Post, and morning host on Newsradio 850 KOA, Denver. On Oct. 18, 2010, he said:

Mike quotes from an author of an article who wrote, “I’d like the people running government to be better than me.”

Mike responds: “Running government is one thing, but liberals take that to the next level – they want govt to run the country. However, government is actually a SUBSET of the country – government is a subset of SOCIETY – society and our country are GREATER than the GOVERNMENT – govt is only a PART of our society – the 9th and 10th amendments give us personal prerogatives to us as individuals.”

“However, the elitist point of view believes that some people are smart enough to run our country, and that there are people who know better than you, over how you should run your life – that’s the nature of Elitism that I recoil from – and that conservatives recoil from. We’re against presumptuous arrogance that makes people think they run our olives.”

“Although, in contrast, an elite heart surgeon is someone we admire.”

- Mike Rosen MBA, Newsradio 850 KOA, 10/21/2010

Rosen refers to “elitists.” Well, one could call these Oregon officials elitists. Indeed, they have been blocking Bend’s growth for years, and it’s time for this  to stop, in the interest of bringing Bend’s unemployment from 15%, down to 3%, where it was a few years ago.

What if Facebook was Running Bend, Oregon, and Juniper Ridge?

So while ODOT’s Bob Bryant has stalled development with his permitting process pursuant to state law, if Facebook was running the show, Bend would be building high tech companies instantly and hiring the 15% of Bendites who are unemployed.

Facebook VP Jonathan Heiliger was recently interviewed in the Bend Bulletin (10/16/2010):

“Bend has what it takes — the heart and soul of creative, innovative and energetic people — to be a Silicon Valley kind of town even better than Palo Alto, Calif., where Internet giants like Facebook blossomed, an official from the social networking website said Friday.

“I think Bend has the potential to be as good as Palo Alto, if not better,” Jonathan Heiliger, Facebook vice president of technical operations, told a crowd of about 400 people attending the Bend Venture Conference at the Tower Theatre.

In addition to having a wealth of people with the skills and talents required to launch a new company and contribute to its success, Heiliger said the Bend area also has a group of venture capitalists, like those contributing to the $200,000 conference prize, willing to help startup companies advance beyond the idea stage.

Heiliger’s appearance at the conference is an indicator of Facebook’s growing presence in Central Oregon. The company selected a 125-acre parcel in Prineville for its first company-owned data center.”

Currently, Bend on a national scale is the poster child for an urban growth boundary expansion war, with numerous anti-growth / anti-job State agencies and associated laws delaying their growth, despite highly talented urban planners.

Urban Design Portfolios, Juniper Ridge

Link #1 -

http://www.ci.bend.or.us/depts/urban_renewal_economic_development/juniper_ridge/master_plan/docs/06072_Master_Plan_1_0.pdf

Link #2 -

http://www.gobend.com/Documents/Final_Juniper_Ridge_Concept_Plan.pdf

From the Bend Bulletin, 10/21/2010

OTC hears Juniper Ridge proposal

State, Bend officials say agreement likely to be approved

By Hillary Borrud / The Bulletin

Published: October 21. 2010 4:00AM PST

A deal to open the city of Bend’s 1,500-acre Juniper Ridge property to some development is all but done, city and state transportation officials said Wednesday.

Bob Bryant, manager of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Central Oregon region, said after a public process he will likely sign off on the proposed agreement with the city.

The agreement breaks the infrastructure stalemate between ODOT and the city. Development at Juniper Ridge has been constrained by state requirements for more road improvements before allowing more businesses near busy roads. The trouble for Bend has been that the city didn’t have money for improvements without being able to sell land to businesses.

City Councilor Mark Capell said Wednesday he felt confident the City Council will also approve the agreement.

“I firmly believe that when this comes to council in early November, that it will pass unanimously,” Capell said. “The council is anxious to create jobs at Juniper Ridge.”

The proposal was presented Wednesday to the Oregon Transportation Commission, the advisory board for state transportation policy, at its meeting in Bend. Members of the commission voiced a mixture of praise and concerns for the proposed agreement. They will provide input but not vote on the agreement.

“Obviously, this whole Juniper Ridge enterprise raises a lot of serious questions for us,” said Commissioner David Lohman. “You’ve done, I think, a remarkable job of being creative and innovative and coming up with ways to address those issues. Still, some of the issues remain because there’s so much uncertainty here.”

Lohman did not specify his concerns, but he did question whether the state commission would support a similar proposal, if it were put forward by a private developer instead of a city.

David Ditz, Juniper Ridge project manager, said the proposed agreement could serve as a “template” solution for other areas of the state, where development is stalled because developers do not have the money to build necessary road infrastructure. But Lohman disagreed, and said that idea made him “nervous.”

Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matthew Garrett said he still has concerns about the risks involved in “this new way of doing business.”

“I’ll be very blunt,” Garrett said. “What we have is a corridor that has significant freight. As the congestion continues to grow, I see dollar signs there. I see commerce and goods and services stalled.”

Michel Bayard, president of the Hunnell United Neighbors group, said neighbors of Juniper Ridge were left out of the process to draft the proposed agreement.

On Oct. 5, the city of Bend e-mailed Hunnell United Neighbors an invitation to discuss the agreement.

“That meeting was canceled and never rescheduled,” Bayard said. Since then, the group has asked to reschedule the meeting and requested a draft copy of the agreement, but only received it recently.

“We request that no action be taken on the (agreement) for 30 days, until we have an opportunity to provide our input,” Bayard said. “And we ask the commission to make sure that happens.”

City Manager Eric King said a public meeting will be scheduled.

The proposed agreement would resolve a long-standing problem at Juniper Ridge in north Bend. Oregon’s transportation agency typically requires developers to pay for roadwork to offset the increased traffic from new businesses, but the city of Bend — the developer in this case — cannot raise the money for traffic improvements until it sells land at Juniper Ridge.

Instead of requiring the city to pay for roadwork upfront, the proposed solution would allow development at Juniper Ridge to add a limited amount of traffic to the area.

The state transportation agency is concerned about traffic volumes at rush hour, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., so the agreement focuses on the number of trips — or the number of vehicles that travel to and from new businesses in Juniper Ridge — at this time of day.

Under the proposed agreement, development at Juniper Ridge could increase traffic by 700 trips during rush hour, before the city of Bend would have to pay for road improvements.

City officials plan to take the proposed agreement to the City Council for a vote as early as Nov. 3, and they expect Bryant to sign the necessary documents by Nov. 19, according to a timeline the city presented to the transportation commission. (…)

Hillary Borrud can be reached at 541-617-7829 or at hborrud@bendbulletin.com.

Two beautiful Juniper specimens, roughly 30 feet tall, 6 miles east of downtown Bend. As one moves east, rain and snow decrease, and summer temps increase. As a result, there are less Ponderosa (that need more rain), and more Junipers.

Looking west towards the City and the Three Sisters mountains.

Looking west.

Very nice.

One comment on “(Nov. 2, 2010) BEND UGB (Urban Growth Boundary) – John VanLandingham and Richard Whitman (DLCD) Issue Final Order Against City of Bend UGB Proposal

  1. The Best
    2010

    Somewhere between 10 years and 20 years supply within UGB’s, speculation starts to occur and drives prices up.

    The effect also starts to build up exponentially once all the land is bought up by speculators and they start playing cat and mouse games with each other, holding off developing the land until the others have done theirs first. The guys who hold out the longest end up making a killing.

    Meanwhile, as the prices rise to what most buyers can’t even afford, some speculators run out of cash flow and get bought out by stronger speculators. The land is NEVER allowed to actually drop in price; not until the whole economy crashes. Even the lending institutions participate in the racket if they foreclose on a developer/speculator.

    Delays in planning permission add to this effect. Delays strengthen the position of those with the cash flow to sustain the delays, and eliminate competition that does not have the same financial strength. By the way, the “small builder” simply ceases to exist under this scenario. If he wishes to build one house, he has to buy a lot at the price dictated by the speculator. This price is usually well over 50% of the final price – instead of 15% as it historically would have been.

    As these restrictive, racketeering activities bed in, estimations of “number of years supply” become a mockery simply because the market is so distorted.

    The Chinese government recently passed a regulation that might stop this. Each “parcel” of land (as specified by the government; there will be quite a lot of parcels) within a UGB (yes, they have them too) is to be owned by only ONE person, and that person is not allowed to buy another parcel until they HAVE developed and sold the first one. Furthermore, they are obliged to develop within ONE YEAR of buying the parcel, otherwise their permission to develop lapses.

    Isn’t it incredible how much faster the Chinese have reacted against this problem? It remains to be seen if further loopholes will need to be closed by them.

    I presume local politics corruption is the obstacle to reforms either of this nature, or of relaxation of the boundaries themselves.

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This entry was posted on 2010 by in Bend, Colorado, Deschusets County, DLCD, Juniper Ridge, Oregon.

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