Country club spooked by road on planning map

A long-range transportation plan memorandum prepared for the city by a consultant has created angst among the membership of Rogue Valley Country Club, but the city's chief planner says it's unwarranted.

Planning Director Jim Huber said Tuesday there are no plans to implement a suggestion of extending Murphy Road to Pierce Road, which would bisect the country club's golf course.

Kittelson & Associates, a Portland-based engineering and planning firm with offices throughout the country, looked at potential ways to route traffic in future years. A paragraph in the lengthy report referencing traffic congestion in east Medford stated:

"A future collector route through the Rogue Valley Country Club should be identified should this area be redeveloped. Enhancement of a Murphy Road connection to Pierce Road to provide this link would complete a critical missing north-south segment west of (North) Phoenix Road."

Naturally, such a mention doesn't sit well with the members of club off of Hillcrest Drive in east Medford that was founded 103 years ago.

"One of our members found the proposed draft," said Jim Norris, RVCC's general manager. "We were shocked to find a road right through the middle of our golf course; we certainly don't know where it came from."

Huber, however, said the intent was to consider the extension only if the country club property's current use ended. The key phrase, he said, is "should this area be redeveloped."

Neither the city nor RVCC has such plans for such a redevelopment.

"That's a big if, and frankly if we're going to have long-range planning, we have to look at a lot of things," Huber said. "This all came out of a memorandum from the consultant. To my knowledge the council has never talked about it."

Norris said there hasn't been any proposal or discussion about redeveloping RVCC property.

"Myself and our board of directors are unaware of any redevelopment plans for the next 30 years," he said.

In its response to the city by Norris and club president Lee Fortier wrote: "This proposed road extension runs directly through the heart of the Rogue Valley Country Club golf course and maintenance facilities. "If built, this road would severely impact an important and historical organization that has served Medford for over 100 years. It is unlikely, the organization would survive this incursion, as the playability of the course would be irreparably damaged."

Spurred by state requirements, the city is updating its long-term planning for employment, residential and transportation needs for 2028, which could lead to the rezoning of hundreds of acres of land.

A hearing today will address properties north of Jackson Street. A Feb. 13 hearing will focus on property south of Jackson Street. Both hearings will start at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 411 W. Eighth St.

The proposed zoning changes would affect the Rocky Knoll land, directly across Hillcrest Road from the No. 6 hole on RVCC's inside course. Neighbors have complained that the changes would lead to a proliferation of apartment buildings and commercial developments in what is now a residential area adjacent to farm land.

While country club officials are adamantly opposed to any thought of permitting a road to bisect the golf course, they are also concerned about the changes proposed for elsewhere in the area.

"We want the proposed (road) extension taken off the draft," Norris said. "It shouldn't be up for discussion or a possibility. Secondly, when we look at the rezoning effort, we have to be supportive of our community. There are 200 homes and home sites adjacent to the golf course. If you are talking within 200 feet of the club, that number doubles and maybe triples."

Norris said RVCC has a commitment to its neighbors.

"We have a great partnership with Roxy Ann Winery and this isn't good for them. If it is something good for the neighborhood, we would support it, but not as long as it is detrimental."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or

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