City Council To Vote On Changes To The RS Zone On Wednesday

The City of Bend is proposing changes to its Comprehensive Plan that would allow more density in the Residential Standard Zone (RS) by permitting duplexes and triplexes (referred to as "plexes") on smaller lots. 
To ensure that new duplexes and triplexes fit in well with existing neighborhoods, staff have proposed several modest architectural standards (such as minimizing large areas of garage doors facing the street). 

The Central Oregon Builders Association (COBA) strongly opposes these standards, claiming they would prevent any duplexes or triplexes from being built. However, the staff proposal shows examples of plexes that have already been built that fit these requirements. This issue will be before the City Council on Wednesday, December 5that 7pm.

Although we have some concerns about precedents and inadequate public involvement with this process, we strongly support the retention of architectural standards if the City approves allowing more plexes in the RS zone.

Send your thoughts on this issue to the City Council by emailing

Duplexes can fit into neighborhoods well if designed with neighborhoods in mind

Duplexes can fit into neighborhoods well if designed with neighborhoods in mind

While duplexes and triplexes are a great addition to any neighborhood because they can provide missing middle housing, the City’s process for allowing them in the RS Zone raises some concerns. Read our full letter here.

There have already been many changes recently made to neighborhoods zoned RS-- above and beyond the changes implemented with the 2016 UGB plan. Neighborhoods may not be aware of the development pressures all of these combined changes will create, and there has beenlittle public outreachon changes adopted since the UGB.

    For its 2016 plan, the City projected the number of additional housing units would be needed by 2028 and made changes within the city to accommodate about 70% of that need; the boundary was expanded to accommodate the remaining need (Learn more about the City of Bend's recent UGB). The changes included increasing the density of every residential zone, and the RS zone minimum density went from 2.0 dwellings/acre to 4.0 dwellings/acre. The 2016 plan also removed the requirement for Conditional Use Permits for duplexes and triplexes in the RS zone where density and lot size standards are met. 

    Since then, additional changes that impact existing neighborhoods have been made, including allowing Accessory Dwelling Units outright and upzoning nearly 2,000 acres within the existing city boundaries whose zones did not match the Comprehensive Plan. Allowing more duplexes and triplexes in existing RS neighborhoods will be another additional change on top of what was done with the UGB.