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Ashland golf course plan resuscitates

Project that would include housing is on the north side of town, where pasture lies between Highway 99 and Interstate 5

ASHLAND — Plans for a golf course first proposed 20 years ago have been resurrected, with developers holding preliminary meetings with city officials.

Billings Ranch Golf Course LLC representatives have held a preliminary meeting with city planning officials for a project that could include an 18-hole golf course on land outside city limits and 70 homes within the city.

The project developers would lease 135 acres from the Billings family, which has farmed in the area since the 1860s, for the golf course. The property is situated between state Highway 99 and Interstate 5, near the north entrance to Ashland.

A schematic plan showing 70 houses was shown to city planners in a pre-application meeting in January. The homes would be built on 15 acres adjacent to one side of the proposed course.

Craig Stone and Associates, Medford, represents developers Mike Peru and Ross Waddell in the planning process. Peru has constructed three Northwest golf courses.

A lot of people build golf courses to sell homes, said Peru. We?ll build some housing to help us build a really nice golf course.

Homebuilder Jerry Asher is working with Peru on the housing development. It will just be a regular subdivision, not country club homes, said Asher.

Access to homes would be from Nevada Street in the Quiet Village area. Conceptual plans call for golf course access from Highway 99 north of the railroad trestle, said Kim Lewis, son-in-law of ranch owner John Billings.

An 18-hole championship golf course was proposed for the same site in 1982. But various financing efforts, including a state-approved plan to sell stock in the project, fell through. The land has remained in farm use, primarily for grazing.

Jackson County granted preliminary approval of a conditional use permit for the golf course in the early 1980s. A new county permit will need to be obtained.

An unrelated proposal for a golf course and resort to be built just beyond the southeast city limits near Interstate 5 has met with resistance from neighbors and land-use activists and has been tied up in legal fights since 1987.