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Old Mission Peninsula News | Jane Boursaw Photo
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Here’s a round-up of this week’s news on the Old Mission Peninsula:

TCAPS Votes to Sell OMPS. At Monday night’s board meeting of the Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS), the board voted to accept the purchase agreement submitted by the Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation (OMPEF). The agreement includes a sale price of $1.1 million for the Old Mission Peninsula School (OMPS) land, building and contents, and a transfer date of July 1, 2018. Read more about the agreement here, and our exclusive interview with OMPEF President Allison O’Keefe here. Monday’s meeting was not drama-free, however, as a last-minute bid for OMPS by an unknown group of investors was submitted to TCAPS on 5 p.m. that day. Stay tuned for a community meeting date in March, where all Old Mission Peninsula residents are welcome to attend and discuss options for a school on the Peninsula.

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OMPS Ranks #1 in NW Michigan Schools. On Jan. 20, 2017, the Michigan Department of Education released data on the latest top-to-bottom ranking for Michigan’s schools. The rankings are based on both academic proficiency and growth. Not only did Old Mission Peninsula School top the list, but it was also named a reward school, meaning it ranks in the top 5 percent overall, top 5 percent in improvement, or is identified as a “beating the odds” school. Read more info on reward schools here.

Peninsula Township Hires New Planner. Brian VanDenBrand has been hired as the new Director of Planning and Zoning for Peninsula Township. Brian graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree (Geography; Concentration in Planning). Since 2008, he’s been the Deputy Planner in Garfield Township in Grand Traverse County. He begins work with Peninsula Township on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. Welcome, Brian!

Vineyard Ridge Development Tabled. Following a public hearing at their meeting on Monday night, the Planning Commission voted to table a decision on the Vineyard Ridge Special Use Permit (SUP) #127 until another site visit could take place. Commission members will walk the property, specifically to review the 10 percent open space and topography dedicated to a walking trail around the property. The proposed development, located between Center Road and Mathison Road, across from the Pelizzari Natural Area, consists of 27.87 acres, with more than 90 vertical feet of elevation change, approximately 660 lineal feet of frontage on Center Road, and approximately 1,085 lineal feet of frontage on Mathison Road. While the R-1C zoning district’s minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet would allow the development of up to 60 residential lots through a use-by-right subdivision plat, developer Ken Schmidt, a Traverse City realtor, is proposing to develop the property as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) with 47 single-family homes, to limit the development’s impact on neighboring properties, preserve open space and, as noted in the application, “provide a different product to the local real estate market.” The PUD allows for the preservation of a 90-foot wide landscape buffer between proposed homes, and would include a common pool and patio area. Read the full Vineyard Ridge application here.

SUPPORT YOUR INDEPENDENT LOCAL NEWSPAPER: 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 and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, 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 I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our 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 OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever. Thank you so much for your support! -Jane Boursaw, Editor/Publisher, Old Mission Gazette

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