Planners approve SOU's master plan

The Ashland Planning Commission unanimously approved Southern Oregon University's 10-year master plan Tuesday as long as the university adheres to a set of stipulations suggested by city planners.

Before construction begins, the university will be required to create a pedestrian safety plan, a transportation impact report and parking standards. The faculty housing portion of the project will be required to conform to design standards that take into account the existing character of the neighborhood.

The City Council is scheduled to hold a work session on the plan March 15 and to vote on it April 20. Even if the plan is approved, most of the proposed buildings will need to go through the city planning process again before construction can begin.

The plan calls for increasing student housing on campus, making Siskiyou Boulevard safer for pedestrians, improving the visibility of the campus and creating faculty housing in campus areas that border other neighborhoods.

Community members have been especially critical of the university's plans to construct more faculty and student housing.

The university originally submitted the master plan to the commission last summer, but withdrew it to get more community input. The plan the commission approved Tuesday is almost identical to the earlier one.

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