The Bend Bulletin reports that a dispute over sidewalks in the Woodriver neighborhood of Bend has been settled by a City Council ruling that will relieve homeowners from having to build their own sidewalks. Instead homeowners will pay a one-time fee of $5,000 into a city sidewalk fund. The old rule required homeowners who significantly renovated or built new homes on lots within 600 feet of a sidewalk to build a sidewalk along their property.

The issue was brought to the City Council last summer by two Woodriver Village neighbors, who argued their streets were too narrow to accommodate sidewalks, and that adding standard sidewalks would disrupt the rural nature of the subdivision.

Other Woodriver Village residents also have said building them would require moving large pine trees and boulders along streets — an endeavor that would only make it more expensive for property owners and affect the rural character of the neighborhood.

But last month, the planning commission voted against amending the code for Woodriver Village, over concerns that it would set a precedent for other neighborhoods seeking special accommodations. Some commissioners also questioned whether the fee system, which would cap what homeowners would pay at $5,000, would be a sustainable way to pay for improvements.

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