|By Eric Flowers, The Bulletin, Bend, Ore.|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Dec. 16, 2004 - Plans for a convention center and resort on the Deschutes River in Bend got a final stamp of approval Wednesday night.
Councilors set conditions for the 23-acre resort development on the west side of the Deschutes River near the Mount Washington Bridge, including a restriction on any development before the construction of the convention center.
"What you have is the final package of findings of what's taken close to a year now to put together," said Dale Van Valkenburg, current planning manager, about the agreement negotiated between staff and River's Edge Investments.
The approval is the final step in a 25-year, land-use saga revolving around the Riverhouse's plans to build a convention center.
Earlier this month the city approved a development agreement with River's Edge to expand the Riverhouse resort with a 38,000-square-foot convention center, a 102-room hotel, 80 condominium units, a spa and restaurant located just south of the Mount Washington Bridge.
As part of the development agreement, the city gets land for the reconstruction of the Mount Washington Bridge.
The city has put that bridge project on a fast track to take pressure off the Newport Bridge, which will be closed for reconstruction in 2006.
River's Edge also agrees to drop a lawsuit against the city over previous denials.
Neighbors opposed to the project have pledged to appeal the city's decision to the state Land Use Board of Appeals.
They have cited concerns about the process, which circumvented the Bend Planning Commission, as well as concerns about impacts of the development on the river corridor.
Project opponents have 21 days to appeal the project after the development agreement takes effect in January.
In other business, the city:
-- Received an update from staff on plans for new stop signs at Purcell Boulevard and Bear Creek Road as well as Brosterhous and Murphy roads. The stop signs will be an interim solution according to staff at Bear Creek until a roundabout a Bear Creek and 15th Street is constructed.
-- Approved a revision of its street-widening policy. The policy relaxed the requirements related to reducing existing demand before widening streets. It also designated several eastside and westside streets as off-limits to widening.
-- Declined to hear an appeal regarding a proposed blacksmith shop on Greenwood Avenue. Both city staff and a hearing's officer approved the shop. Neighbors cited noise concerns and argued that shop represented an industrial use as reason for the appeal.
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