Upper Rogue Community Center okay to expand

Of plans and dreams Anatole France said: “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” It was evident during the Feb. 26 Planning Commission Public Hearing that the Upper Rogue Community Center is planning for and acting on their dream of making the center a better place for all via a new two story addition. The first floor will house computers; the second will be used for office space.   

However, if the dream of an addition is to come to fruition URCC must meet the condition. Make that conditions – and lots of them. It seemed everyone in attendance at the hearing had a list of conditions: City Planner Dick Converse, Public Works Manager George Bostic, Fire Chief Bill Miller and of course the commissioners. Some conditions must be met prior to any work being done, some fall between construction and use. Conditions range from practical: lighting plan, fire safety plan, drainage study; some lean toward the aesthetic: landscaping, exterior design and color.   
Most conditions were basic and either already planned for or easily agreed upon. There were a few issues which stood out and warranted extensive discussion: Parking, landscaping and a lean toward green. The green thread shot through both of the other issues.

The existing site development plan does meet ordinance requirements for number of parking spaces and will be completely paved. However there was mass concern that meeting regs weren’t sufficient for a building that upon occasion has very large gatherings. After lots of consideration and brainstorming by all it was decided the center must reach some type of shared parking agreement with adjoining businesses before they can build. On a green note Commissioner Thad Gala also asked that the center increase the number of bike racks under the parking umbrella. This condition was also added as bike usage will not only help with potential parking problems but is a people and earth healthy idea the center can help promote.

Landscaping was also heavily discussed. The URCC has no official landscaping plan at present. In keeping with the green theme; Steve Hauck, URCC CEO,  again noted that the URWA is actively working on a grant for monies to put in a rooftop rainwater retention system to aid in irrigation. Bostic noted that such a system would also be a benefit in matters of overall drainage and Commissioner Donna Barrett added: “I like the idea of catching the water very much.” URCC should know soon whether or not the grant monies will be – well – granted. The outlook is positive as it’s a small monies grant and similar ones have been bestowed on other area organizations. The URCC is also hoping for local plant and labor donations for landscaping, but have no firm commitments in those areas yet. The final landscaping condition was set as: landscaping must be completed within 6 months of the final stage of construction and interim clean up must be done as construction progresses (i.e. lack of final landscaping does not mean piles of detritus can stand as a placeholder).   
In the end the commission approved the application for the addition 4/0 (Commissioner Jack Stout has not yet been replaced). URCC has a lot of work yet to do, but they are confident their big plans will make their big dreams come true.
By Christy Pitto
Of The Independent

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