A waste of property?

Zoning change required by county for development to go forward
A subdivision is planned for the area off South Stage Road near the former landfill east of Jacksonville. Mail Tribune / Bob PennellBob Pennell

JACKSONVILLE — A 405-acre former landfill area immediately east of town could see residential development if Jackson County commissioners approve a zoning change at a Nov. 7 public hearing.

The county Planning Commission recommended Oct. 11 that the zoning be changed from Woodland Resource and Open Space Reserve to Rural Use. The group also recommended approval of a residential planned unit development on the site.

If you go

What: Jackson County commission public hearing on whether to approve a zoning change to permit residential development at site of former landfill near Jacksonville

When: 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7

Where: Jackson County Courthouse, 10 S. Oakdale Ave., Medford

The development would include 27 2- to 5-acre home sites in three clustered arrangements. More than 300 acres of the site would remain in its current state, said Mike Montero, agent for owners South Stage Landfill Inc. and Bottjer-Gambee Inc.

"It's been in family ownership for many decades," said Montero. "With the closure of the landfill, it's good to take the property and put it into some use for them."

Closed in 1998, the landfill covered 144 acres. No construction would occur on that land. Owners have sought the zone change since 2010.

Development would occur in four phases if the PUD is approved. The first phase would develop private roads and open space on the property and would have to be completed within two years of approval.

Residential development would follow in three phases, with no certain timelines.

"In the current market conditions, it's hard to tell," said Montero. "I think it's going to be market-driven."

Stage Pass Estates on the northeast portion of the property, with access off South Stage Road, would have 10 houses. Prospect Terrace in the northwest area of the property, also with access off South Stage, would include three houses.

Daisy Creek Trace in the southwest part would have access off Daisy Creek Road and include 14 houses on 42 acres.

Under the PUD requirements, the developers would need to improve sight lines where vehicles would enter Daisy Creek Road.

Roads in the project between the Daisy Creek area and the South Stage areas would be gated to prevent vehicles from traveling through. However, emergency personnel would have access to keys to the gates, and pedestrians would be permitted on the roads.

By grouping houses in clusters, large blocks of open space, totaling 326 acres, would remain. The owners would continue to manage the land to benefit resident deer herds and other wildlife and plant species, they said.

The developers worked with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to create a mitigation plan.

"There would be some replanting, and as part of field management (there is) direction on how to cut vegetation to provide feed for deer," said Montero. "We will be complying with that."

Properties would be served by wells uphill from the landfill area. Comprehensive geological studies were done to ensure the safety of the water supply, said Montero.

In 2010, Jacksonville contested the process Jackson County was using for the zone change to Oregon's Land Use Board of Appeals. The board upheld Jackson County's actions. The city doesn't plan to contest the upcoming request.

"The city has no interest in fighting the South Stage development," said Mayor Paul Becker.

City Planner Amy Stevenson briefed the City Council on the development at its meeting last week. Stevenson will attend the Nov. 7 County Commission meeting to monitor the outcome, said Becker.

Any decision by the commissioners Nov. 7 could be appealed to LUBA, said County Development Services Director Kelly Madding.

The meeting will be at 1:30 p.m. in the Jackson County Courthouse, 10 S. Oakdale Ave., Medford.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

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