MASON — A Tristate developer wants to meet with Mason residents tonight to get their take on a proposed development in the city's downtown district.
CMC Properties will host a town hall on Monday at 7 p.m. to get input on their planned four-acre development of undeveloped land downtown. The meeting will be held at the Mason High School Commons, according to Jim Cohen, president of CMC Properties.
He said they want the $20 million development to include up to 120 apartments with about 15,000-20,000 square feet of retail space. Mason City Council members approved the project in September by a vote of 4-2 after extensive comment from residents, many of whom questioned the development. Some downtown business owners and residents say they want to see something else.
"It's not that we don't want development, because that's what is being said about us, that we don't want development," Amy Lortz, who owns Common Beer Company with her husband, Mark.
"We want it vibrant down here and people to come from other cities and spend a day down here, but this isn't it," Lortz said. "One-hundred and twenty apartments shoved in here isn't it."
Lortz's business backs up to the property that's planned for development. She and other Mason residents are circulating petitions to stop the development.
Cohen said drawings and even some of the details released about the project are preliminary. He said the purpose of the town hall is to get input from Mason residents on what they want to see in the development.
"I think everyone would agree that we want a healthy and vibrant downtown Mason," Cohen said. "And what we're proposing at this point, what we have shown at this point, is nothing more than some concept plans."
"That's why I say we're ahead of ourselves right now, because the whole process up to now has been just getting the development agreement signed. But most people are concerned about traffic and parking – and rightfully so," he added. He also said he wants to correct the traffic problems in the area.
Several opponents of the development say they plan to attend the town hall meeting.