On January 18, the Bend City Council voted 4-2 to no longer require that developers create a minimum number of off-street parking spaces for new developments to help reduce the cost of new housing, reduce vehicle emissions and encourage more walkable communities.

With this policy change, Council removed minimum off-street parking requirements from Bend’s development code, and additionally created rules related to facilities for electric vehicles.

Bend joins other cities in Oregon, up and down the West Coast, and across the United States in making the change to remove parking minimums from City code, said Mayor Melanie Kebler.

“Cities across America are realizing the need to shift away from costly government parking mandates that drive up the price of housing and increase our reliance on vehicles,” Kebler said. “I’m proud and excited for Bend to be among the leading cities in Oregon making this smart policy change, which will free up land and resources for housing while also helping us address climate change.”

Not requiring off street parking spaces means more land on a given parcel can be used for housing. Encouraging more housing instead of parking spaces also helps Bend become a denser, more walkable city that is less reliant on vehicles, which helps drive carbon emissions down over time.

The change was prompted by recently adopted state requirements, known as the Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities. Before these rules, Council also has previously shown interest in removing parking minimums to align with Council climate and housing goals.

Removing requirements means a developer is not required to build a certain minimum number of parking spots. It does not mean that building new parking is prohibited, or that new parking will not be built within the city.

If a developer does not put in any parking, they will be required to put in one van accessible parking stall for certain developments. Examples include new commercial construction or new residential buildings with five or more dwelling units.

“We know that the community wants to make sure everyone has access to our transportation system no matter their ability, and that people are concerned about crowded parking in certain areas of town,” Kebler said. “Council remains committed to exploring other parking policy reforms that will increase the amount of on-street accessible parking and help us manage the curb in neighborhoods and commercial areas alike.”

New rules for electrical facilities generally require new multi-unit developments or certain new mixed-use developments to provide enough electrical capacity to support vehicle charging for a certain percentage of parking spaces provided on-site.

The new policy will take effect 30 days after a second reading. To learn more about Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities and parking changes, visit: Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities | City of Bend (bendoregon.gov)