Shady Cove land purchase stirs debate

SHADY COVE — A land transfer agreement between the city and a local developer brought controversy and a standing-room-only crowd to Thursday's City Council meeting.

At issue are 24 acres of state land along the Rogue River purchased for $575,000 by the city, with money provided by local real-estate broker and developer Mike Malepsy.

The city and Malepsy signed an agreement in April 2007 whereby, after the city acquired the land, it would be transferred to Malepsy, who agreed to build and provide maintenance for a 6-acre city park.

The council subsequently voted 5-0 on a resolution approving the transfer agreement.

Resident Bud Rees said he believes the sale violates Oregon law that regulates how a city must sell its property.

"The public was kept in the dark about this purchase," he said, "and more importantly, no public hearing or appraisal was done before the sale."

Earlier this month, Rees appealed the sale to the Jackson County Planning Commission. He said the commission probably will have an answer in about a month.

Malepsy said the city had wanted to buy the property at the end of Brophy Lane for a city park as early as 1993 but never had enough money.

"I became aware of the state's plan to sell the property and approached the city about purchasing the property," said Malepsy. "Once again, the city had no funds."

He said that's when he approached the city about "me purchasing the property from the state via the city."

"The proposal was at no expense to the city," he said. "I would put up the funds to purchase the property and I would enter into an agreement to donate and build a park."

Malepsy said he thought at the time the city got a good deal.

"We're now in a real-estate depression," he said, "and we are now the proud owners of probably unmarketable real estate. But, of course, that's not your problem."

Rees said he had no problem with what Malepsy was trying to do.

"I think you're a great developer," said Rees. "I've looked at several of your developments and I think you've done an excellent job. My beef is with the way the city handled the sale."

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at

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