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Today's word on journalism

March 17, 2009

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1863-2009

"Can Seattle's oldest newspaper be successfully transformed into a child of the information age? The Northwest is a land of big dreams. With the demise of the Soviet Union, one quipster noted that Puget Sound is now home to three empires still bent on global dominion: Microsoft, Amazon.com and Starbuck's. If the stars align properly and with a quality product, Seattle will show the way to a new model for journalism of the written word."

--Joel Connelly, columnist, in today's final print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Editorial Comment: And when the newspapers die. . . .

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P&Z considers possibility of Mendon city center

By Greg Boyles

Febuary 20, 2009 | MENDON -- In a proposition to the city Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday night, the Watkins family, who currently own the Little Cottage Library and the land surrounding it, offered to exchange their lot for a parcel of land higher up on the mountain.

However, the exchange would come with stipulations.

Tim Watkins presented the plan to the commission on behalf of his parents, and said his family wishes to exchange the land only if it will be used to establish a town center in the future. This would eventually include four live-in shops, a store, a post office, a city building, and more.

"The city would have to write a contract stating that the land would not become a storage unit or a night club, but would in fact become a city center," Watkins said.

If the city does not act soon, however, Watkins said his family would put a sign on the empty lot and sell the land to someone else, which would give the city little control over what is built there.

Watkins said his family wishes to provide their land as the town center because it is already located in the heart of Mendon, and would hopefully bring more business to the historic city.

"This is a typical town center concept. The idea is, the more people you can get into an area, the more vitality it brings to the area. More shops and stores in a central location will be beneficial for the city," he said.

Mendon resident Gene Hiibner agreed with Watkins, saying the development of a tight-nit down town area would not only bring business to Mendon, but would serve city residents better.

"I think this would be a good edition to Mendon, and we've needed this for a long time," Hiibner said. "I think this is a good idea because you need something like this to draw more people in."

While Watkins said the decision to turn the property over to the city would be in the near future, he is unclear when the area would be developed into a functional town center.

Watkins also said the model, which would add six new buildings, is flexible. Certain things can be placed in different locations, omitted entirely, or added. Certain sections of the model, such as the homes and stores, will also need further consideration to ensure they meet septic and water requirements, he said.

Although it was discovered that Watkins and his family would not need to change any planning and zoning ordinances to make their model work, the commission unanimously recommended that they go before the city council and ask them to approve the plan.

The planning and zoning commission chairman, Nick Nichols, said he feels this is a great idea; however, certain things make him nervous.

"I think the concept is good, having a city core is a good idea; however, some things, such as the impact on water and septic, make me nervous," he said.

Despite these troubles, Nichols said the decision is in the future, and ultimately not up to the commission to decide on.

NW
KS

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