Mendon debates recreational facility proposal
By Bryanna Allen
STAFF WRITER | July 08,2014
Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo
A for sale sign is seen Monday on the plot of land across from Sugar & Spice restaurant in Mendon that could potentially be the site of a future mini-golf course.
MENDON — Tension started to grow for Mendon town residents during a meeting Monday night that allowed for open discussion of the potential construction of a new recreational facility.
Tim and Carolyn McBain have lived in Vermont for years and want to invest in a lot across from the intersection of Route 4 and Meadowlake Drive, and turn the roughly 1.7 acres into a recreational facility. The facility would include a mini-golf course, snack bar, batting cages, arcade and playground.
The land is owned by James Grace of Chimayo LLC and is home to several properties, including an empty house that he said would most likely be torn down should the plans follow through.
“We are envisioning a family-friendly place,” said Tim McBain during the meeting. “We want the community, tourists and local economy to benefit from the business.”
The McBains want the golf course to have a “Vermont feel” to it by incorporating local attractions into the theme. A Quechee Gorge obstacle will be one hole in the course, along with a covered bridge and maple leaf.
“We want this to fit in with the authenticity of the town,” he said.
However, some Mendon residents see more issues than benefits.
Mark Latski lives several lots down from the property and expressed concern about the noise and traffic levels should the business happen.
“I worry about teenagers being loud after dark,” Latski said. The business would be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during peak months, and alcohol and drugs would be prohibited.
“Just because they’re prohibited, doesn’t mean they won’t be there,” Latski said.
Traffic was another major concern, with the potential business on a tight corner of Route 4 coming down from the mountain.
“The location of a business would be disruptive of the town,” said one Mendon resident. “People already drive too fast right there. It’s dangerous and no one will want to drop their kids off for an afternoon of fun.”
Mendon residents talked about what the business will look like in the fall and winter when it’s closed for the season.
“It will be an ugly, dead space,” one community member said.
Tim McBain disagreed, saying the empty buildings on the land look worse than a functioning business.
“We want to bring more life to the town. All the kids and teens we’ve talked to are excited. They say there is nothing to do,” said Carolyn McBain, causing negative murmurs from residents. The golf course would cost about $6 per person; the playground would be free.
One issue that was brought up would be the lack of fencing for protection between the golfing area and the playground. Tim McBain said that mini golf is not intended to be an aggressive game and he is “hoping no one will treat it that way.”
Planning Commission member Phil Douglas disagreed.
“Hoping and reality are two different things,” he said.
The planning and approval of the business are still in the infant stages of discussion and still need to be refined to meet zoning and planning criteria.