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Residents may pay for extras

Medford considers handing over the cost of fancy lights, alleys

Fancy lamp posts have brought an issue to light.

The city of Medford is considering ordinance changes that would put the responsibility for special landscaping, residential alleys and non-standard lamp posts on property owners.

The Public Works (department) comes at it from a public service standpoint, said Public Works Director Cory Crebbin at Thursday's Medford City Council study session. We keep costs low by standardization.

That standardization means the city can save on maintenance tools and supplies, as well as with things like bulk discounts to the city, he said.

Some facilities should be managed by property owners who benefit, he said.

We have a sewer pump station that serves 12 houses, he said, adding that it's a money loser for the city. The city should not own that pump station.

Crebbin also said that residential alleys create a disproportionate expense, and the whole city shouldn't have to foot the bill on taking care of alleys that run behind homes.

But council member Claudette Moore was cautious about billing folks for using more of a city service.

I think it's pretty much going to come out in the wash, she said after the meeting. She said some areas may have more public works activity, some areas more police activity, and she sees it as across-the-board taxation.

When it comes to sewers and streetlights and stuff, that's public, she said.

Randy Jones, co-owner of Mahar Homes, said the discussion was an opportunity for the council to get this issue on its radar.

For the last year-plus, the Southeast Plan Implementation (Advisory) Committee has been working on these issues and more on a deeper level than was discussed today, he said.

The Southeast Plan is a planned 1,000-acre mixed-use development in southeast Medford. The issue over special features arose after Mahar Homes requested specialty lamp posts in the Summerfield subdivision now being developed within the Southeast Plan.

Jones said that with features like the special walkways that will run through the subdivisions, having nearby property owners own and maintain them is impractical.

It basically has to be public because there's no private entity to tag it to, he said.

Greg Jones, interim city parks and recreation director, said there are questions about public vs. private building and maintenance of greenways, too. That's especially true when a developer wants to have a more manicured section along a creek that used to be natural.

He suggested the parks and recreation department create greenway development and maintenance policies for Medford, which the council supported.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail .