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,
"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
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
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.