Last night, the Planning Commission recommended approval of Brooks Resources' proposed Master Plan for the build-out of 245 acres west of Northwest Crossing. This land was brought into the City of Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) in 2016, but needs to be officially annexed into the City before it can be developed.
For more than a decade, Central Oregon LandWatch has been concerned about the risk of catastrophic wildfire in the forested area next to the west side of Bend. Most of this land would have been developed at urban levels had it come in with the City of Bend’s 2009 Urban Growth Boundary proposal to expand the city by more than 8,400 acres. Instead, our advocacy helped reduce the approved expansion by 70% by increasing densities inside the existing city boundaries.
Discovery West will be one of the first 2016 UGB expansion areas annexed into the City’s boundaries. Thanks to our collaborative work to create the Westside Transect, this development will taper density as it moves toward higher wildfire risk areas.
It also includes a Wildfire Protection Plan that utilizes land use pattern (increased building setbacks), landscape (vegetation) management, and building construction techniques to be enforced through the development's Homeowners Association and Architectural Review Committee. Additionally, the architectural design guidelines will include building requirements for fire protection. These features will provide space for wildlife passage between buildings and resiliency to wildfire.
These techniques are very similar to the regulations and enforcement mechanism utilized in the adjacent Tree Farm development, which is a nationally recognized model community for wildfire preparedness and resiliency planning. It was recently designated a Firewise community.
The Planning Commission's recommendation to approve the Master Plan will be heard before City Council along with annexation in the next couple of months.
Central Oregon LandWatch has been instrumental in using our legal backing, relationships, and commitment to protecting our natural resources to lead the way in advocating smart planning on the City of Bend’s west side edge. The resulting fire-resistant neighborhoods will not only help protect residents and wildlife, but will provide a first line of defense that may help protect the Bend neighborhoods behind them.
You can learn more about our work to advocate for sensible planning in the Wildland Urban Interface by visiting www.centraloregonlandwatch.org/wui