Jackson County approves expansion on Urban Growth Boundary

Medford, Ore. — Medford is expanding the Urban Growth Boundary. Jackson County leaders approved the expansion on Wednesday. The city said it will give the city and all its citizens new opportunities.

Three votes to make one unanimous decision – that’s been nearly twenty years in the making.

“Today was a very exciting milestone in Medford’s attempt to expand its urban growth boundary,” said Matt Brinkley. Brinkley is the planning director for the City of Medford,

A project that’s taken effort from all aspects of the city.

“It’s taken a number of years, we had our local process with planning commission meetings, and city council meetings, and we recently had Jackson County planning commission meetings, and now the board of commissioners,” Brinkley said.

The planning director said it’s an effort that started back in 1998 at the beginning of regional problem solving.

“Anybody who has been looking for a home or looking for a place to rent knows that there isn’t a lot of inventory available,” Brinkley said.

A problem the City of Medford’s been struggling with for years.

“Part of that is our dwindling supply of developable residential and commercial land,” he said.

Wednesday’s approval of the urban growth boundary from Jackson County could change that.

“The proposal that was approved today and that was approved by city council last august calls for 1,669 acres of urbanizable land.”

Brinkley said 1,039 acres of that land is going to be used for residential expansion, and can accommodate 35,000 people.

“It’s a significant amount of population growth over the next 20 years,” Brinkley said.

The remaining 630 acres will be used to expand business in Medford. Though it’ll still be a process executing the project, he said it will be worth it for the city.

“It’s the culmination of a lot of work and a lot of public involvement and we think that on balance, on all things considered, this is a very strong urban boundary amendment that will benefit the community as a whole,” Brinkley said.

Before the move can become official, several more steps need to be taken locally, then it has to be approved by the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission.

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