Welcome to the City of Medford - Home
Enter Search Term
Site Map | Advanced Search



200 South Ivy Street, Lausmann Annex, Room 240
Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 774-2380
Fax: (541) 618-1708
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday


City of Medford Oregon / Planning / Comprehensive Plan / Urban Growth Boundary Amendment

Urban Growth Boundary Amendment


The webpage for the ISA/PAL and ESA components of
the urban growth boundary amendment project

Latest update: 13 March 2015


Every city in Oregon has a boundary line enclosing lands that are eligible for urban development. These urban growth boundaries (UGBs) separate urbanizable land from rural land and are intended to provide a 20-year supply of buildable land to accommodate growth.

Medford is working on an amendment to its UGB to comply with the supply requirement. In order to identify the 20-year demand, the City adopted an updated Economic Element and an updated Housing Element into its Comprehensive Plan; these demonstrate the estimated demand for commercial, industrial and for residential land over the next two decades. In 2007 the City conducted a Buildable Lands Inventory (BLI), which shows land in the UGB that is vacant and land that is underutilized or ready for redevelopment. Taken together, these studies indicate that Medford does not have a full 20-year land supply.

Note phase 1 is now complete. Phase 2 is still in process.



Phase 2: External Study Area Boundary Amendment
Mar. 13
At their regularly scheduled meeting, March 12, 2015, the Planning Commission considered City File number CP-14-114 (UGBA Phase 2: ESA Boundary Amendment). The Planning Commission heard a presentation of the staff report and then opened the public hearing to take testimony. There were dozens of people in attendance and more than 40 people chose to speak. The proceedings lasted approximately four and a half hours.

The Commission closed the hearing but the record was kept open for the next 14 days - through March 26, 2015. Anybody wishing to submit written comment to the Planning Department is welcome to do so up until the March 26 deadline.

The Planning Commission voted to meet with staff at a study session, to be held April 6, 2015, to further discuss the proposal prior to making a recommendation to City Council on the matter. The study session will be open to the public but the public will not be permitted to provide testimony at the meeting. Location and time will be posted on this page once it is set. At the study session the Commission is expected to determine when this matter will be brought back to a Planning Commission meeting for further consideration. Once that date is set that information will be posted here as well.

Slide Show from Staff Presentation at PC Hearing
Testimony Submitted after Publication of the Agenda Packet for PC
Testimony Submitted at or after the PC Hearing

Mar. 11
Wetlands: There are several things that need to be done prior to annexing any of the areas added to the urban growth boundary through this process. Some of these things, such as master plans, will be the responsibility of the individual property owners to complete. Other items, such as a revised Transportation System Plan (TSP) and Local Wetland Inventory (LWI), the City will complete. The City has been working on a revised TSP for over a year but the final work cannot be completed until the boundary location has been determined.

The City has hired SWCA Environmental Consultants to conduct an LWI for the urban reserve. An informational meeting regarding the LWI work will be held Wednesday, March 18, 2015, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., in the Carnegie Building at 413 W. Main Street. More information can be found on the attached notice below. SWCA will need to access the properties containing wetlands in order to field verify the existence of wetlands and to more accurately map the extent of the wetlands. More information about the process will be presented at the informational meeting. The City is seeking consent from property owners to allow SWCA to access the necessary properties in order to complete their work. A copy of the consent form is attached to the link below.
Informational Meeting Notice and Permission to Access Form

Mar. 11
The Planning Commission will take public testimony and consider staff's recommendation regarding the proposed urban growth boundary amendment at their March 12, 2015 meeting. A copy of the agenda packet (including the staff report for the urban growth boundary amendment) can be found at the link below:
Planning Commission Agenda for March 12, 2015 meeting

Feb. 6
The Planning Department has completed its work of ranking the External Study Areas (ESAs) and producing a recommendation based on that analysis. The Planning Department's recommendation will be presented to the Planning Commission at the March 12, 2015 hearing. At that time the Planning Commission will also be receiving testimony from the public regarding the recommendation. The Urban Growth Boundary Amendment (UGBA) accomplished through Phase 2 of the project will be made up of three parts: 1) amending the Urban Growth Boundary and assigning General Land Use Plan (GLUP) map designations to the areas added to the UGB; 2) amending the Medford Street Functional Classification Plan of the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive Plan to include the expansion areas; and 3) amending some portions of the Urbanization and GLUP Elements of the Comprehensive Plan to accommodate the UGB amendment.

The proposed UGB expansion area includes a total of 3,948 acres of land, of which 402 acres are either already developed or unbuildable, resulting in a total of 3,546 usable acres: 1,877 acres for Prescott and Chrissy parks and 1,669 acres for future development. The developable acres consist of 1,032 acres for residential development and 637 acres for employment uses.

Each of the three components of the UGBA as recommended by the Planning Department is shown in the attachments below:
1) Boundary Amendment and Assigned GLUP Designations
2) Revised Street Functional Classification Plan Map
3) Proposed Comprehensive Plan Text Amendments

Oct. 29
The process of amending Medford's UGB began in the late 1990s with the start of the Regional problem Solving (RPS) process.  RPS was a joint effort between six local municipalities, Jackson County, and the State of Oregon to determine future land need for the region and to determine the most appropriate locations for future growth.  From RPS the City adopted the Regional Plan Element of the Comprehensive Plan.  The Regional Plan Element specifies where Medford's future growth will occur by identifying the Urban Reserve (UR).  The UR areas, totaling approximately 4,400 acres, are meant to provide a 50-year land supply for the City.

In order to determine the land need for the next twenty years the City relies on the Buildable Lands Inventory (adopted in February 2008), the Population Element (adopted November 2007), the Economic Element (adopted December 2008), and the Housing Element (adopted December 2010) of the Comprehensive Plan.  The Buildable Lands Inventory (BLI) determined the amount of land available within the existing UGB.  This total supply of land was adjusted to account for the effect of the PALs (from UGBA Phase 1, assuming they are adopted as recommended by the Planning Commission).  The Population Element was taken along with the Housing and Economic Elements to determine the total land demand for the 20-year period.  The supply was then subtracted from the demand to determine the total land deficit by individual land type over the 20-year period.  It has been determined that the City needs approximately 1,600 additional acres to meet the land need.  The UGB must be expanded by this total deficit amount in order to meet the land need for the 20-year period.

Because there are over 4,400 acres of land available within the Urban Reserve, and the City only needs to add roughly 1,600 acres, the Planning Department used a coarse filter process, considering proximity and parcelization, to narrow the focus for further analysis from the available 50-year supply.  The areas that passed through the coarse filter became known as External Study Areas (ESAs).  Data were collected for the ESAs for serviceability for water, sewer, and transportation.  The scores from each of the five factors (proximity, parcelization, water, sewer, and transportation) will be used to guide the Planning Department's recommendation concerning the location of the expanded Urban Growth Boundary.  The Planning Department will select areas from the ESAs to fill the land need by type, and in total, for the 20-year period.

Staff Presentation to City Council Explaining Process

Ranking Maps:
All Urban Reserve
Conceptual Plan  
Parcel Size
External Study Areas (ESAs)

Memos Used to Create Ranking Maps:
Map for water score
Water Score Data
Sewer Score Data from Medford Sewer
Sewer Score Data from RVSS
Memo for Transportation Score


Phase 1: Internal Study Area/Proposed Amendment Location (ISAs/PALs) General Land Use Plan Amendment

Dec. 19
The ordinance adopting the General Land Use Plan map changes: 
Ordinance no. 2014-154
Ordinance no. 2014-154, Exhibit A (same as "Final Report" below)
Ordinance no. 2014-154, Exhibit B (same as "SAL map" below)

Dec. 8
Phase 1 is complete. The City Council adopted a modified version of the Planning Commission recommendation at its 12/04 hearing. The notable changes were the elimination of PALs 810 and 950, and the change from UH to UM for PALs 212b and 213. The revised ordinance is in the works and will be posted soon.
With the PALs no longer proposals, the adopted GLUP changes are termed "selected amendment locations" (SALs) in the attached documents.
Final Report (to be attached to Ordinance no. 2014-154)
SAL map (to be attached to Ordinance no. 2014-154)

Dec. 1
The City Council hearing on the PALs will be on 12/04 at 7:00 PM. The staff report for the PALs is excerpted from the Council agenda packet following.
PAL staff report (excerpt from 12/04/2014 City Council agenda packet)

Nov. 10
The City Council has decided to hold a hearing on the proposed amendment locations (PALs; formerly known as internal study areas, or ISAs). The PALs constitute some 550 acres inside the current urban growth boundary. 
The City Council hearing will be held on Thursday, 4 December 2014, at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 411 West 8th Street.
PAL map
(scroll down this page to see a table explaining the GLUP designations you'll see on this map)

Apr. 21
The revised staff report—which collects all the findings and conclusions developed over the course of the hearings—will be on the "consent calendar" of the Planning Commission agenda for this Thursday, 24 April 2014. Consent calendar items are typically final orders or recommendations and usually are not discussed individually; rather they are formally adopted as a group.
In this case the revised staff report constitutes the Planning Commission's formal recommendation to the Council on the PALs.
CP-13-032 Revised staff report, 2014-04-17

Mar. 17
The Planning Commission voted 8–0 to approve the "proposed amendment locations" recommended by staff, with a small reduction to PAL 640b so it would not back onto the lots on Windward Drive, and the addition of several inclusion requests. Until staff makes a final map, the following will serve to show the Planning Commission's recommendations:
PAL recommendations by PC, 2014-03-13
Note that the Internal Study Areas (ISAs) are defunct now that this step has been completed. They were a useful planning tool that served their purpose, but are no longer needed. 
The Commission's recommendation will not go to the City Council until the Commission has also prepared a recommendation on boundary expansion areas as well. That means it won't likely be until late this year—at the earliest—that the Council will take up this recommendation for consideration.

Mar. 6
As promised in the February 14 update, Planning Department staff has developed a recommendation for the Planning Commission to consider at its 3/13 meeting. In order to differentiate these recommended areas from the internal study areas (ISAs), they have been termed "proposed amendment locations" (PALs). The supplemental staff report and associated maps follow:
Staff report, supplemental
Map: Proposed Amendment Locations, staff recommendation, 2014-03-03
Map: PAL map showing GLUP context
Map: ISA scoring

Feb. 14
The Planning Commission held its last hearing last night on the ISA project. They will begin deliberations at their March 13 meeting, where the planning department will present its recommended version of the amendment areas. Remember: more than 800 acres were analyzed, but only about 80 acres of UM (medium-density residential) and 90 acres of UH (high-density residential) are needed. We also analyzed about 250 acres for potential conversion to CM (commercial), but the need is more than 700, so it would be ideal to get as much converted as is feasible.
The following is written testimony that was received from Feb. 7 through the end of the workday on Feb. 13, and written testimony received at the hearing:
Written testimony (4) received after the 2-13 meeting packet was prepared
Written testimony (5) received at the hearing

Feb. 7
The Planning Commission will hold its next hearing on Feb. 13 starting at 5:30 in the Council Chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 411 West 8th Street. The following is written testimony that was received from Jan. 24 through yesterday, Feb. 6:
Written testimony (3)

Jan. 24
The Planning Commission held its first ISA hearing last night and received testimony from nearly 50 individuals. The next hearing will be held on 13 February 2014. The goal is to concentrate discussion on the ISAs south of Jackson Street, but that doesn't bar anyone from speaking on any ISA.

The following items supplement the staff report and attachments posted under the Jan. 16 heading.

Written testimony (1) received after publication of the staff report
Written testimony (2) received at the hearing
Staff presentation

Jan. 16
The complete agenda packet for the Jan. 23 meeting is available on the Planning Commission's agenda page, but because it's such a large agenda, the staff report and attachments for just the ISA agenda item are available here:

CP-13-032 staff report, part 1
CP-13-032 staff report, part 2
CP-13-032 staff report, part 3

Jan. 16
Murphy Road. There has been a lot of talk lately about this street, but despite the rumors there is no plan to extend Murphy Road through the Rogue Valley Country Club. Actually, the concept exists only as a suggestion in a technical memo from a transportation consultant. One of many recommendations in that memo is that if the Country Club property were to ever redevelop, an extension of Murphy Road northward would help improve north-south transportation connectivity.
That memo was included in the staff report on the ISA project because its primary purpose was to examine the impacts of the ISAs on the City's transportation system. The City is not considering amendments to its Transportation System Plan at this stage, so the Murphy Road suggestion has not been evaluated or recommended by staff, and is not up for consideration at this time.

2013 updates
Dec. 20
Staff mailed out notices (view one here) to the property owners in the ISAs and to property owners within 200 feet of the ISAs to notify them of the hearings scheduled for 1/23/2014 and 2/13/2014. The City would like to concentrate on the internal study areas NORTH of Jackson Street at the 1/23 hearing and on the areas SOUTH of Jackson Street at the 2/13 hearing (see links to maps below). The City encourages those who wish to testify to appear on the night that is appropriate to the area they wish to testify on.

This is a legislative action to change the General Land Use Plan (GLUP) designation of several areas in the City. The GLUP designation of a piece of property is the basis for its zoning. The Planning Commission will take testimony and consider its recommendation to the City Council, which will make the final decision on which ISAs or portions of ISAs to adopt. The file number for this action is CP-13-032.

10/9: The Council authorized the Planning Commission to begin the hearings process on the internal study areas (ISAs; see below. See Resolution no. 2013-127, 9/5/2013, for authorization details).



There are two major components in the process. One is an analysis of areas inside the current UGB for opportunities and constraints for handling the expected growth. The other is an analysis of areas outside the UGB to assess their suitability for inclusion. 

  • Internal Study Areas (ISAs; now the proposed amendment locations, or PALs, after the Planning Commission made its recommendation on 2014-03-13). The first component involves land-use plan map designation changes. For example, the city might look at an area that is vacant or ready to redevelop that could be changed from low-density housing to medium-density housing. Then, when that land develops, it will take up more of the projected housing demand than it would have done if the zoning were unchanged. Likewise, changing from industrial designation (of which there is a projected surplus) to a commercial designation (for which there is a projected need) will help take care of part of that need. Planning staff referred to these changes generically as "internal study areas" (ISAs).

The General Land Use Plan (GLUP) designations that are used in the map are explained in the following table. The General Land Use Plan map is part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan; it provides the underlying land-use pattern for the zoning designations.


GLUP designation Corresponding Zoning Designations Example Uses and
Potential Density

A         Airport

I-L       Light Industrial

 airport-related uses

CM      Commercial

C-N     Neighborhood Commercial
C-C     Community Commercial
C-R     Regional Commercial
C-H     Heavy Commercial

Retail stores, repair shops, restaurants, filling stations, banks, personal services, hotels, etc.

SC        Service Commercial

C-S/P  Service Commercial & Professional Office

Professional and medical offices, hospitals, some retail allowed
CC       City Center No specific zoning Allows any kind of zoning designation
UR       Urban Low-density residential SFR-2, SFR-4, SFR-6, SFR-10
           Single-Family Residential
2–10 dwelling units per acre (depending on zoning)
UM      Urban Medium-density residential MFR-15
           Multiple-Family Res.
10–15 dwelling units per acre
UH       Urban High-density residential MFR-20, MFR-30
           Multiple-Family Res.
20–30 dwelling units per acre
GI         General Industrial I-L       Light Industrial
I-G      General Industrial
Traded-sector manufacturing, fabrication, warehousing; some banking and restaurant allowed
HI         Heavy Industrial I-G      General Industrial
I-H      Heavy Industrial
Traded-sector manufacturing, fabrication, warehousing; some banking and restaurant allowed
PS        Parks & Schools No corresponding zoning Parks and schools

  • External Study Areas (ESAs). The second component involves extending the boundary itself. There is a system for doing this laid out in State Statutes and Rules that puts highest priority on the urban reserve, which the City obtained through the State's acknowledgement of the Regional Plan (through the Greater Bear Creek Valley Regional Problem Solving (RPS) process), followed by “exception” or nonresource lands, then marginal agricultural and forest resource lands, and—at the lowest priority—good agricultural and forest resource lands. “Exception” lands, generally, are those under County zoning that are commercial, industrial, or residential because they have been granted exceptions from the Statewide Planning Goals related to protecting agricultural and forest lands.
  • The City will be selecting a number of areas from the urban reserve to study for the effects of urbanization on streets and other utilities. The amount of land chosen will exceed the city's 20-year need so the analysis to give decision makers enough information to eliminate the excess.

  • Looking for the ESA map? Find it hereNote that the areas on the map exceed the City's 20-year need by about a thousand acres, but we cannot do a comparative analysis of expansion areas without considering an excess of land.



What law requires:

How Medford is doing it:


STEP 1: OAR 660-024-0050 (1)

“When evaluating or amending a UGB, a local government must inventory land inside the UGB to determine whether there is adequate development capacity to accommodate 20-year needs determined in OAR 660-024-0040.

Buildable Lands Inventory (2008)


“For residential land, the buildable land inventory must include vacant and redevelopable land, and be conducted in accordance with OAR 660-007-0045 or 660-008-0010, whichever is applicable, and ORS 197.296 for local governments subject to that statute.

Housing Element (adopted by the City; not yet acknowledged [approved] by the State Land Conservation & Development Commission)


“For employment land, the inventory must include suitable vacant and developed land designated for industrial or other employment use, and must be conducted in accordance with OAR 660-009-0015(3).”

Economic Element (2009)


STEP 2: OAR 660-024-0050 (4)

“If the inventory demonstrates that the development capacity of land inside the UGB is inadequate to accommodate the estimated 20-year needs determined under OAR 660-024-0040, the local government must amend the plan to satisfy the need deficiency, either by increasing the development capacity of land already inside the city or by expanding the UGB, or both, and in accordance with ORS 197.296 where applicable.

The City will be pursuing both tracks: internal changes to increase “development capacity” and expansion of the boundary. See the following two descriptions for more details.


“Prior to expanding the UGB, a local government must demonstrate that the estimated needs cannot reasonably be accommodated on land already inside the UGB.

A set of “Internal Study Areas” (ISAs) was evaluated to determine places in the city that can be changed to accommodate the land need. Staff analyzed areas that are being considered for capacity increases for impacts on infrastructure and livability. There were general meetings/open houses for early public input. As of 3/13/2014, the Planning Commission made a recommendation on a subset of the ISAs, known as PALs.


“Changes to the UGB must be determined by evaluating alternative boundary locations consistent with OAR 660-024-0060.”

A set of candidate expansion areas will be evaluated for impacts on public facilities.


STEP 3: OAR 660-024-0050 (5)

“When land is added to the UGB, the local government must assign appropriate urban plan designations to the added land, consistent with the need determination.

Since the city is trying to meet the needs for different types of land (commercial, residential, industrial), General Land Use Plan designations will be proposed so staff can quantitatively show how Medford is meeting those needs.


“The local government must also apply appropriate zoning to the added land consistent with the plan designation, or may maintain the land as urbanizable land either by retaining the zoning that was assigned prior to inclusion in the boundary or by applying other interim zoning that maintains the land’s potential for planned urban development until the land is rezoned for the planned urban uses.

By common practice, the current County zoning will remain on all land included in the urban growth boundary until those lots and parcels annex into the city limits.


“The requirements of ORS 197.296 regarding planning and zoning also apply when local governments specified in that statute add land to the UGB.”



Planning Commission (PC)

Joint Transportation Subcommittee (acting as Citizens Advisory Committee) and Technical Advisory Committee (ad hoc) to evaluate material produced for the traffic impact analysis being funded by a Transportation and Growth Management grant from the State of Oregon.


Draft technical memoranda from traffic analysis can be found on a website set up by the traffic consultant, Kittelson and Associates: medfordtsp.com.



Who you can talk to

Questions about the UGB Amendment Project may be directed to Joe Slaughter, AICP, or John Adam, AICP, at
City of Medford Planning Department

200 South Ivy Street
Medford, Oregon 97501

Tel. 541.774.2380

City of Medford, Oregon | ©2010 All Rights Reserved | printer friendly version Printer friendly version | Designed, Developed and Deployed by ProjectA.com