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He wants to be 'de-annexed'

Clint Fjarli wants to get out of Medford, but he's not sure the city will let him.

Fjarli has asked Medford officials to reverse the annexation of his 17.1-acre industrial complex on Ehrman Way, near Sage Road. He annexed into the city in 2009 and now says he regrets the move, in part because of the high cost of annual city fees compared with the county's fees.

"I just messed up," he said. "It cost $50,000 to be in the city rather than the county."

It's the first time in recent memory that a property owner has requested being "de-annexed" from the city, and so far city officials have said no to the idea.

Fjarli said fees are just one issue.

Another issue on the property is Ehrman Way and Ehrman Circle, which the city says are not up to current city standards for a roadway. The city won't accept the roads as city streets, nor cover the maintenance costs, even though Fjarli pays street maintenance fees to the city. Fjarli pays for the maintenance of the roads himself, and Ehrman Way is used by Boise Cascade trucks.

The city determined that Ehrman Way, which is a cul-de-sac and was created when the property fell under Jackson County jurisdiction, is a 1,350-foot long dead-end street, 900 feet longer than allowed for a cul-de-sac under city code.

City planning staff have recommended against reversing the annexation, with Senior Planner Kelly Akin referring to Fjarli's request as "jurisdiction shopping."

Corrected 2/25/2014

The City Council, after discussing the issue Thursday, appears poised to pass an upcoming resolution that would basically say "no" to Fjarli's request.

According to Medford Planning Department documents, the city requested Fjarli annex into the city before building the roads so that they could be designed and reviewed by the city. Instead, he built roads under county standards.

Neither Ehrman Way nor Ehrman Circle have street lights, a requirement under city code.

The grade for Ehrman Way doesn't meet city standards, and there isn't sufficient crushed rock under the roadway. Also, sidewalks are built adjacent to the curb, rather than being set back, a situation that would require Planning Commission approval.

The industrial subdivision, including the roads, was approved for construction by Jackson County in 2004. The city and the county have different requirements for road construction.

In a letter to the city, Russ Logue, construction manager for Jackson County Roads, recommended denying the request for reversing the annexation.

Fjarli said the city has suggested that he extend Ehrman Circle, which is a shorter cul-de-sac, so it would connect with Mason Way to the south to create better traffic circulation of streets.

That route would require demolishing loading bays and would cost more than Fjarli said he could afford.

"You're looking at $500,000," he said.

Fjarli said he's not sure if he would appeal a denial from the city.

Mark Bartholomew, Fjarli's Medford attorney, said his client had a difficult time being annexed into the city and is now having a difficult time trying to undo that.

"We're flattered the city wants us, but the feeling is not mutual," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.

Clint Fjarli says he wants Medford to reverse the annexation of his industrial complex on Ehrman Way, near Sage Road. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Bob Pennell