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Hillcrest tees up housing

Hillcrest Orchards and the historic Roxy Ann Winery were annexed into Medford city limits Thursday night, setting the stage for at least 750 new homes.

Medford City Council on Thursday unanimously approved the 230.75-acre annexation of the east Medford property bounded by Foothill Road on the west, Hillcrest Road on the South and McAndrews Road on the north and east.

“It’s an exciting opportunity,” said Carla Paladino, principal planner for the city. “It has this great agricultural feel, and we will see that change over time.”

An open space area will remain along the northwest corner of the property along Foothill, including an agricultural buffer strip that will help separate it from housing.

The 6.6-acre property surrounding Roxy Ann Winery, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, will be preserved.

A new trail will be built along Lazy Creek for the benefit of all Medford residents.

A new road known as Bemis Parkway will cut through the center of the property, running east to west, and it will eventually connect with Spring Street once it’s extended to Foothill.

The orchard property is made up of five separate parcels owned by Rocky Knoll LLC and Cogswell Limited Partnership. The zoning was exclusive farm use, and for the time being the property will remain primarily for agricultural use.

It will likely take years before development begins on the property, and the owners will have to submit a zoning change proposal to the city for approval.

In the future, more than half the property could be designated for houses, particularly on the eastern side.

A commercial area with a town square is proposed to be built just north of Roxy Ann, and another smaller commercial area is envisioned off McAndrews.

Two high-density housing complexes have been discussed to the north and east of Roxy Ann, with one facing Foothill and the other facing Hillcrest.

A 9-acre school site is also proposed northeast of Roxy Ann, with a small park nearby. Altogether, the plans show four parks and a trail system in the development.

Paladino said 750 new homes would be the minimum number that could be built on the property based on proposed zoning.

The annexation was made possible by a joint effort among cities, Jackson County and the state known as Regional Problem Solving that essentially opened the door for cities to expand to accommodate growth.

Last year, 515 acres were annexed into the city. Another 80-acre annexation at Coker Butte and Springbrook roads is expected in March.

The Rogue Valley Manor plans to build 1,500 housing units around Centennial Golf Club, also just off North Phoenix Road.

Long-range plans call for creation of a mega traffic corridor that would improve North Phoenix and Foothill roads, essentially creating an alternative route to Interstate 5 through Medford.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @reporterdm.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneMedford City Council approved annexation Thursday of 230 acres of land around Hillcrest Orchard and Roxy Ann Winery.