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Central Point to decide direction of the city's urban growth reserve

CENTRAL POINT - With the threat behind them of two initiatives that could have hindered development, City Council members will decide Thursday which areas outside the city to include in its urban growth reserve.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 155 S. Second Ave.

It is part of a regional problem-solving process coordinated by the Rogue Valley Council of Governments to plan growth in the valley over the next 50 years.

Participating cities and the county are identifying which areas will accommodate future growth and how.

The project involves several committees and addresses issues such as preserving open space while designating enough land for future growth.

Planning technician Matt Samitore said that while most cities already had submitted proposals, Central Point waited until after it learned the outcomes of Measures 15-25 and 15-26.

If passed, the measures would have required 50 percent of all voters to approve fee changes, which could have prevented the city from covering development costs through fees.

Voters rejected the measures in a March special election.

"It would have been difficult to afford improvements to those areas in the future with limited funding. They felt they couldn't provide the necessary infrastructure if those measures had passed."

With the measures no longer a potential roadblock, council members may recommend any or all proposed areas to regional committees for review.

Areas being considered for the urban growth reserve include:

929 acres around Tolo Road, including the Seven Oaks-Interstate 5 interchange and the land northwest of there, including Erickson Air Crane property. 22 acres off Peninger Road near the Jackson County Fairgrounds (west of Bear Creek, north of Pine Street and east of Peninger Road). 755 acres - which Samitore said had the strongest potential for growth - along Table Rock Road bordered by Wilson, Gibbon and Upton roads. An L-shaped, 58-acre parcel to the south of Scenic Road and east and west of Grant Road.Samitore said that overall, the city is growing to the northeast. He added that the greatest need eventually will be residential areas with some industrial and commercial.

The area near Tolo Road, he said, was least likely to be accepted by the various committees because it had regional significance and was host to both city and county interests.

Following the council recommendation, regionwide citizen, agricultural and technical committees will review the proposed areas before a policy committee makes a final recommendation.

Buffy Pollock is a free-lance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at.