City weighs in on East Medford rezoning plan

, Posted: Thu, January 16 2014 at 12:11 AM, Updated: Thu, January 16 2014 at 1:33 AM

900 acres of open land in East Medford may be rezoned for new housing and stores.

Every 20 years, the City of Medford must plan to accommodate population expansion and employment needs. The state requires it and right now City Planner Bianca Petrou says it's overdue "The last time we expanded was 1990, really we should have taken a look at it in 2010."

The Planning Commission is presenting a new urban growth plan but resident's living in and around the sites that could change aren't all happy. "It can effect our schools, it's gonna effect our public works and it's gonna have a negative effect on the environment" says East Medford resident John Thiebes.

"We can either designate it inside the current urban growth boundaries or we can expand the urban growth boundary, and we are choosing to do a combination of both" says Petrou.

The planning commission is suggesting intensifying within city limits by rezoning an empty lot near Costco from industrial to commercial but perhaps more controversial, they're also planning to zone a parcel of land on the corner of Pierce and Hillcrest for commercial use. It's right across the street from single family homes. "It's probably one of the last agricultural sites within city limits" says Thiebes.

Other proposed changes include creating another commercial lot where North Phoenix intersects Hillcrest and zoning a hill on Foothill and Mcandrews for medium-density housing, meaning 15 units per acre.

Petrou stresses none of this is set in stone, but says "We really cant do nothing".

Two public hearings are scheduled January 23rd and February 13th for the community to express their opinions.

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