Regional Problem Solving- An 11-Year Process Finally Moves Ahead

RPS (Regional Problem Solving) is a public and private sector collaborative effort to direct the future of land use in the Greater Bear Creek Valley. It establishes a 50-year long-range goal, ideally providing a rational and beneficial pattern of growth. This particular proposal is the largest ever proposed in Oregon, and includes Jackson County’s participation, along with the cities of Ashland, Central¬†Point, Eagle Point, Medford, Phoenix, and Talent. The proposal established areas that were considered the best areas for future growth in the Valley over the next 50 years. The future areas of inclusion (Urban Reserve Areas, or URAs) were established based on State Statutes using population projections, densities, soils, irrigation, property uses, zoning, and, in some cases, conducting on-site property evaluations. Ultimately, the participating cities will expand their UGBs (Urban Growth Boundaries) into the URAs.

RPS began its process 11 years ago and finally came to a close last month, whereby the Jackson County BOC (Board of Commissioners) approved the RPS plan. The following is an update for the process as the project moves up to Salem. By now, the DLCD (Department of Land Conservation and Development) has likely received the BOC record and draft RPS plan. Next, the DLCD will begin to prepare a staff report and recommendation for the LCDC (Land Conservation and Development Commission), who will ultimately make the final decision. Jackson County will be sending out notice to all interested parties sometime in February for the LCDC meeting to be held in Newport, Oregon from March 14-16. The following is a link to their meeting’s webpage, where agendas will be posted when they are prepared: http://www.lcd.state.or.us/LCD/meetings.shtml.

At the March hearing, LCDC will hear the recommendation from DLCD, along with testimony from those who wish to participate, including the County, Cities, and public testimony. The understanding is LCDC will then give a tentative recommendation for approval as is, or a denial or approval with conditions, which will then get sent back to the Jackson County BOC for agreement. LCDC will not be making a formal decision at this meeting, and this part of the process cannot be appealed. Assuming the BOC agrees with the LCDC’s decision, it will then go back to the Cities for their public meetings to determine if they are also in agreement with what the LCDC tentatively decides. Once the Cities go through their public hearings and approve the decision, they will need to amend their Comprehensive Plans and Ordinances to be consistent with the decision.

Once this is done, and everyone is in “agreement”, the record will again get sent back to LCDC for a final decision, and the County will send out another notice. There is a 21-day period for anyone to submit a “formal objection”. This objection does not necessarily mean you object completely; it more or less reserves your right to be able to comment before LCDC makes their final decision. This decision could then be appealed to the Court of Appeals if someone chooses to do so.

We will continue to post updates to keep you informed on the progress of RPS, so please keep checking! If you have any questions or concerns regarding RPS, please feel free to contact us.

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