Vineyard Ridge, Ken Schmidt
Vineyard Ridge Development | Jane Boursaw Photo
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At tonight’s regular meeting of the Peninsula Township Planning Commission, the Vineyard Ridge development will be discussed and potential recommendations given.

This is Special Use Permit (SUP) #127, and the applicant is Vineyard Ridge, LLC, owned by local realtor Ken Schmidt. The development includes a 47 unit condominium subdivision planned unit development (PUD) within the Suburban Residential Single and Two-Family (R-1C) zoning district, as permitted by Section 6.4.2 of the Peninsula Township Zoning Ordinance.

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The parcel is roughly 27.87 acres and has approximately 674 feet of frontage on Center Road. If you’re heading out of Traverse City on Center Road, this parcel is on the left side of the road after you round the first corner headed north, directly across the road from the Pelizzari Natural Area on the right side of the road.

During the public hearing for this SUP on July 18, 2016, residents cited issues of traffic, tree removal, and open space as possible areas of concern.

At the hearing, Laura Serocki questioned the use of the development’s open space, much of which occurs in strips of land between the homes. “If that’s open space, that means everybody can traverse through there at any point of the day, and it also means that a homeowner cannot place anything in that area, like a patio or lawn furniture,” she noted. “Homeowners would have no rights to that property between the homes.” She also wondered how the Township would monitor the use of that open space.

Planning Commissioner Monnie Peters said the development’s designation of open space is a major concern for her, as well, noting that the Zoning Ordinance specifies open space as “an area that is open to the sky exclusive of roads, parking lots and building.” “I don’t see that this meets our definition of open space,” she said.

Brit Eaton brought up the issue of traffic, noting that he followed 13 cars on Center Road on his way out from Traverse City today. Developments such as Vineyard Ridge and The 81 would put a lot more cars on Peninsula Township roads. “The Master Plan says that we should enjoy the environment that we have,” he noted. “The fact remains that this highway is going to be measured and widened for the traffic that you’re about to approve to go on it.”

John Fisher also expressed concern about the traffic, noting that no traffic study has been mentioned, in light of recent developments such as Vineyard Ridge and The 81 putting upwards of 600 additional cars on Peninsula Township roads every day. “I can tell you right now that [traffic] is godawful on Center Road outside of my house,” he said, adding that at some point, MDOT would have no choice but to approach the Town Board with bump-outs, flashing lights and other elements to accommodate Old Mission Peninsula traffic.

Read our full report of the Vineyard Ridge public hearing here. Download the packet for tonight’s meeting, which includes reports and information, here.

Also on tonight’s agenda is a public hearing on Zoning Ordinance Amendment #191. This concerns the processing of permits for use of land, specifically, that “any parcel or parcels under the same ownership shall only be allowed to have one application pending at any time…”

The amendment notes that an application includes a pending request for a land use permit, special use permit, planned unit development, variance or other action before the Zoning Board of Appeals, or any other police power ordinance of the Township which requires as part of the permit process a review of the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance to ensure compliance.

This zoning amendment is possibly resulting from the permit process of “The 81 on East Bay” development, which currently has two applications (PUD and Use by Right) pending review with Peninsula Township. Read more about “The 81” here.

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

Bay View Insurance of Traverse City Michigan

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