A look at LandWatch Nonprofit known for land-use appeals and lawsuits started small in Sisters By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin ...
Protection of City of Bend
For over two decades LandWatch has monitored and, where necessary, challenged proposed development in the City of Bend. Beginning with its opposition to a development next to Shevlin Park, LandWatch has repeatedly had to challenge inappropriate developments along Tumalo Creek and the Deschutes River. Most recently, in 2011, LandWatch appealed and successfully settled a proposed development along the Deschutes near the Newport Bridge which would have exceeded the height limits allowed under the City’s Waterway Overlay Zone.
LandWatch has also appealed three times to the Oregon Land, Conservation and Development Commission (“LCDC”) on City of Bend planning efforts. The first appeal, which was also successfully settled, challenged City plans to inappropriately widen streets that would have negatively impacted established neighborhoods. One such fight involved 27th Street on the east side of Bend.
Another significant challenge to LCDC was by LandWatch to the City’s proposed urban growth boundary expansion in 2010. This expansion of up to 12 square miles was unprecedented and contrary to basic rules of Oregon land use laws requiring more compact growth and less sprawl. LandWatch succeeded in achieving a remand from LCDC of the City’s plans. Currently LandWatch is participating in and monitoring the City’s remand work.
In addition, LandWatch appealed the City’s attempted amendment of its solar code which protects access to solar energy. Where proposed City amendments would have gutted those solar protections, LandWatch appealed and successfully contended that the City’s proposed code changes violated Statewide Planning Goal 13 on energy conservation.
A guiding principle of LandWatch work has been to defend existing neighborhoods in Bend. A major problem with the City of Bend has been its tendency to give preferential treatment to new development over any concern for impacts on existing neighborhoods. LandWatch has several times advocated for neighborhoods to defend the values which attracted the existing residents to the area in the first place.