In a 6-0 unanimous vote, the Bend City Council approved code changes that increase the buffer between Short Term Rentals and provide flexibility for property owners.

Changes include increasing the buffer zone between permitted Short Term Rentals from 250 feet up to 500 feet in residential zones, as well as in portions of the Mixed Riverfront zone. The proposed changes would also allow Short Term Rental permit holders to rent out their properties as a long-term rental without losing their short-term rental license for up to three years.

These code changes were informed by results from a Short Term Rental property owner survey that was conducted earlier this year.

Based on the survey results, property owners were supportive of incentives to rent long term, including waiving the proof of use requirement to keep the Short Term Rental operating license. Currently, the Bend Development Code doesn’t allow a property owner to keep their Short Term Rental license if the property isn’t rented out as a Short Term Rental for more than 12 months.

Under the previous 250-foot buffer, 66% of residential zoned properties were eligible to become a Short Term Rental.

With the buffer increasing to 500 feet, the percentage of residential zoned properties that can qualify for a Short Term Rental permit is reduced to 46%.

The intent behind these changes is to address one of the Council’s 2021-23 biennium goals to “reduce regulatory barriers for housing development, with an emphasis on incentivizing rent and price restricted affordable housing, middle income housing, and housing that serves vulnerable community members.”

A second reading will take place on Oct. 19. Then, the new rules will take effect on Nov.18.