Ashland, Oregon, January 13, 2021—Rogue Advocates, a non-profit land use organization based in Jackson and Josephine Counties, gave notice today of their intent to appeal the City of Ashland’s approval of an approximately 17-acre annexation near Ashland’s northern city limits. Located adjacent to a 45-mph section of Highway 99 on land currently occupied by a single home, the annexation would allow for the construction of 196 apartments, 30 of which are proposed to be “affordable” as defined by Ashland’s development code.
The annexation approval came after a lengthy public hearing process where Rogue Advocates and several residents expressed concerns about dangerous traffic conditions that would be created by the development. An estimated 1,857 new daily vehicular trips would be generated from development of the apartments. Members of both the City’s Transportation Commission and Planning Commission were particularly concerned about the two driveways that would serve the hillside development. These driveways would connect directly to the highway without any signalized turn controls. Accessing the development by bike or foot for northbound travelers would be challenging, according to members of the two commissions.
Craig Anderson, Land Use Program Manager for Rogue Advocates, who is helping to coordinate the appeal to the State of Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), says that Rogue Advocates is supportive of Ashland’s efforts to build more affordable housing. Anderson says, “There is no question that Ashland desperately needs more affordable housing. But Ashland’s annexation regulations wisely require that new developments be able to meet city street standards and be safely accessible to bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit users. Even Ashland’s own planning commissioners agree that this development does not comply with those requirements.”
In addition, Rogue Advocates President, Jimmy MacLeod, comments that, “We need affordable housing that is safe to access. This development fails to deliver that. The city should put safety first but here they are putting it last.”
Rogue Advocates is dedicated to cultivating livable and sustainable communities in southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley region. They work to preserve productive rural lands and to promote vibrant urban centers. For further information about Rogue Advocates, visit www.rogueadvocates.org, or contact Jimmy MacLeod 541-846-1083.