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On a long drive

More than 2,300 cubic yards of material may be required to fill 2.38 acres of wetlands, ponds and drainage ditches to make way for the proposed Cedar Links residential development in east Medford.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Oregon Department of State Lands are reviewing the impacts on wetlands as part of the 100-acre residential development proposed at the former golf course off Cedar Links Drive.

“It is a fairly complex site, and part of what we’ll be determining is how water is flowing from one location to another,” said Joseph Sheahan, project manager for the Corps in the Eugene field office.

A pond located just north of Cedar Links Drive would be filled in as part of the proposed project, which would include single- and multifamily residential as well as senior housing. Other ponds could be retained or filled in and new storm-retention ponds and wetlands would be created under the proposed development. The Corps is taking public comments on the project through Feb. 9.

Sheahan said that depending on the review, a mitigation plan for the wetlands could encompass the entire 2.38 acres being studied or a lesser amount, depending on whether the wetlands were a natural feature or man-made.

The wetlands issue is one of many hurdles the project must clear in the months ahead.

The Oregon Department of Water Quality is also seeking comments on any potential water quality issues that might be generated by the development. 

Plans for the project include a 160-room congregant care facility, a mix of single-family houses and townhouses, and a 14-acre commercial area.

A long-range proposal calls for the city of Medford to build a roundabout at the intersection of Springbrook Road and Cedar Links Drive to handle traffic from the development.

The city of Medford has approved spending $1 million to create a 5.5-acre park on the west end of the former golf course.

Plans for the development were first approved in 2006, and a 30-lot subdivision on part of the land already has been partially built.

Some of the existing paths used for golf carts would be incorporated into the overall project. The city and developer are working on improving the design for a road system in the development.

Wes Norton, one of three developers involved in Cedar Links, said that despite the bureaucratic challenges, construction could begin this spring, though it will be built in multiple phases.

“It just takes forever to get anything done,” he said.

Even if he doesn’t get all the approvals in hand, Norton said he still expects the project to begin moving forward because it will be built on several tax lots.

Norton said the developers have been chipping away at the bureaucratic hurdles since they took ownership of the property in 2013.

“It was a lot less than it was a year ago,” he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm

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A 100-acre housing development on the former Cedar Links Golf Course would require filling in some wetlands. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch