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Workshop will present ideas for 453 acres near Phoenix

PHOENIX — Ideas for development of 453 acres on both sides of North Phoenix Road, regarded as prime land for employment development along the Interstate 5 corridor, will be presented at a workshop Monday, Dec. 7.

The session is an early step in getting the land included in the city’s Urban Growth Boundary and later inside city limits before development can take place. The workshop will be from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Phoenix library, 510 W. First St.

The area, now mostly undeveloped ranch land labeled PH-5, was designated for commercial or industrial development by a decade-long Regional Problem Solving effort by six cities and Jackson County.

“It’s a guidance document and highly conceptual,” said Matt Brinkley, Phoenix planning director.

“We are not getting down to the block level. We are looking at larger areas, what types of land use,” said Brinkley. “People need to understand just because you plan for it, doesn’t mean it will be happening tomorrow.”

A large corporate campus or a high-tech plant could be located in the area, which is adjacent to I-5 Exit 24, now undergoing a $72 million rebuild, said Brinkley.

The area would be attractive to light industry, said Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. Executive Director Ron Fox. Earlier this year, SOREDI brought in site-location specialist Don Schjeldahl to evaluate business locations.

“He thought (PH-5) had great possibilities, but that it needed to be developed as a master-planned unit, not developed piecemeal,” said Fox. That would allow potential businesses to know what will be coming into an area, he said.

Oregon Department of Transportation awarded a growth management grant to Rogue Valley Council of Governments, which is developing the conceptual plans for the area.

Planning goals include providing adequate infrastructure for development and working to reduce emissions from vehicle trips generated by development, said Brinkley. A workshop was held in May to consider attributes of the area.

Stakeholders, including property owners in the area, have been collaborating with the city and RVCOG on the process, Brinkley said. Arrowhead Ranch occupied a large part of the acreage, but much of that land has been sold to another group that is in consultation with the city, Brinkley said.

Other stakeholders include Jackson County, Oregon Division of Land Conservation and Development, 1000 Friends of Oregon and the city of Medford, which has land slated for development adjacent to PH-5.

The city of Phoenix and stakeholders will begin an economic study for area development in the near future, said Brinkley. The city and participants have agreed on how to split costs for the study, he said.

Concepts for PH-10, a 43-acre area immediately south of PH-5, will also be presented at the workshop. The area would be mostly residential and is across Fern Valley Road from an existing subdivision east of I-5.

More public workshops will be held before a conceptual plan is considered by the city’s Planning Commission. For information, contact Brinkley at 541-535-2050 or matt.brinkley@phoneixsoregon.gov.

Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at tboomwriter@gamil.com