City cooperating with private resident on plans for new housing development

A proposal for a new housing development has prompted the city of Mt. Pleasant to review their ordinance regarding the City Code on Modular, Manufactured and Mobil Homes.

During the Mt. Pleasant City Council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 28, the council went through the first reading of the proposed amendments to the ordinance, which brings the city?s ordinance up to date regarding these types of structures.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Jack Swarm said that the Planning and Zoning Commission has reviewed the ordinance and recommends it for approval. Swarm said that the new ordinance will especially require additional landscaping around and throughout the community, storage sheds, off-street parking, wider streets, turnarounds big enough for fire trucks and other such features.

?It fixes a lot of problems within our existing ordinance ? and removes a lot of confusing administrative problems,? Swarm said.

Swarm has been working on updating the ordinance with Mt. Pleasant residents Dan Williams and Sid Davis, of Davis Homes, who are proposing building a new residential development on a little over 10 acres of land that is surrounded by Highway 218, Iris St. and East Linden Dr.

The project will have 59 leased lots of single and multi-section homes, which will be uniformly skirted, installed and inspected in accordance with the State and Federally approved procedures. The units will be owner-occupied and not rentals, Williams said.

Williams said the property will be maintained by him and Davis Homes. ?We would maintain guidelines for living so it would be a quality property,? Williams said, adding that it will compliment Ashford Park and other surrounding properties.

Williams is hoping to break ground in May. In his proposal, he concludes that Sid Davis, his associates and the development team of experienced professionals are making every effort to lay the groundwork for an affordable community in Mt. Pleasant.

?The need is great,? he wrote. ?We are prepared to move forward with all dispatch and hope that the preceding information will assist in obtaining a favorable response from the Planning Commission, City Council and the citizens of Mt. Pleasant.?

Williams is naming the residential development Robin Run, after his wife who passed away in May. Williams was living in California until recently and bought the parcel of land 11 years ago as a way to stay connected to the community he grew up in. As a child, Williams attended Winfield junior high and was in the class of 1964 at Mt. Pleasant Community High School.

During the council meetings? public forum, Shari Phipps addressed the council, voicing her frustration in trying to acquire a portion of the parking lot of the Baptist church at the corner of Saunders and Van Buren St.

Phipps said she has been in conversations for seven to eight months with Swarm and the Historical Preservation Society, under whose care the property is under, about acquiring an additional 18 feet of the parking lot to add an addition to the garage of her house.

The church became city property about eight years ago and since then has been under the care of the Historical Preservation Society. Phipps said she met with them during two of their meetings and they came on site to see what she was proposing. She said they denied her proposal on the basis that they have plans for the property.

Phipps said that she respects that, but no one can or will explain what those plans are or the time frame for those plans, plead with the council to look into her request.

?My question is who holds the Historical Preservation Society accountable for making improvements?? Phipps said. ?They explained to me they have plans for the building and the grounds, but no one can explain to me what those plans are.?

Phipps said that she just wants to improve her property and doesn?t understand why the city can?t sell her a few feet of the land.

?At this point, we?re willing to pay whatever to get part of the parking lot,? Phipps said.

Mayor Steve Brimhall said that he will discuss the issue with the chairman of the Historical Preservation Society.

?The next thing we were going to do (with that property) was foundation work, but I don?t know a timeline. I will ask for one. We will get back with you,? Brimhall said to Phipps.

Bob Gerdes, from Midwest Old Threshers, also presented the council with an update. This year, Old Threshers will be adding a Doll Museum, moving in new displays that haven?t been seen before. They are also updating the electrical work around the campground.

Gerdes reminded that school tours begin at the end of April and into May. Last year, 1,000 students from across the state toured the grounds. This week they were working on mailing out 340 letters to various classes inviting them to the tours.

In conclusion, Gerdes thanked the council for their support, saying, ?I wish there was another way to say thank you, like ultra-thank you. We wouldn?t be able to do Old Threshers without your help.?

Speaking for the council, Brimhall responded, ?We love the cooperation of these two organizations.?

In other news, there will be a public hearing for the proposed amendment of the current fiscal year 18 budget March 14, at 5:30 p.m.