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Batting range, golf course due for city hearing

A new golf course next to the Medford airport is on the verge of final approval. A new batting range looks iffy.

At noon Friday, the city's Site Plan and Architectural Commission will hold a public hearing on the plan to lease a 47-acre parcel of county-owned land to the Rogue Valley Sports Center. The meeting is at City Hall.

The design calls for two nine-hole golf courses and a clubhouse, a driving range, a batting range for baseball and softball, and a miniature golf course.

If the commission gives the go-ahead, construction on the project could get under way later this summer.

City planners have recommended the commission approve much of the golf-related parts of the project. One course is designed executive-style -- all the holes will be par 3s and none longer than 200 yards -- and the other is a pitch-and-putt course.

But the staff gave a thumbs-down to the second part of the project -- the batting range, miniature golf course and a future family entertainment center -- citing zoning restrictions.

The code remains open to interpretation, according to Scott Rogers of the city Planning Department.

The commission will resolve the issue, he said. It's their call.

The land is owned by Jackson County and leased to Rogue Valley Sports Center, a corporation owned by Portland businessman Roland Haertl. It fronts Corona and Whittle avenues, about 600 feet south of Crater Lake Highway.

The county originally approved the airport's plan to develop the land as a golf course in 1992 but the project has hit several snags. Haertl is the third developer to tackle it.

Not surprisingly, the project has also undergone several revisions. One change would relocate the driving range to the south end of the property to make sure that night lights point away from the main runway -- and the eyes of pilots.

Also on Friday, the commission will hear testimony on a new bowling alley at a nearby site off Crater Lake Highway near Skypark Drive and Whittle Avenue.

At nearly 50,000 square feet, the facility would also include a restaurant, sports bar and arcade. The planning staff recommended approval.