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A public hearing for “The 81 on East Bay” development is scheduled for Oct. 25, 2017, 7 p.m. at St. Joseph Church, 12675 Center Road on the Old Mission Peninsula. All Peninsula Township residents are invited to attend and voice their opinions.

“The 81 on East Bay” development, which borders Boursaw Road and was first announced in 2015, could include 41 single-family lots, new paved roads, and up to 40 boat docking spaces under a Special Use Permit.

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The public hearing will include:

  • Presentation by the Applicant
  • Public Comment
  • Deliberation by the Township Board regarding only those issues that were remanded to the Township Board in the Circuit Court Order of Jan. 15, 2016 in Circuit Court File No. 2015031218AA. Deliberations may include questions to the applicant, public or Township planner or other professionals.

In Judge Philip Rodgers’ decision of Jan. 15, 2016, the issues remanded back to the Township included the location and functionality of the emergency access road, and whether the standards for soil erosion, grading and storm water have been met.

On June 21, 2017, Judge Thomas Power of Grand Traverse County’s 13th Circuit Court denied a motion filed by “The 81 Development Co. LLC’ (Case #17-32081) against Peninsula Township, asserting that the Township failed to comply with the court’s decision of Jan. 15, 2016 by Judge Philip Rodgers; specifically, seek public input and make decisions regarding an emergency fire road and soil erosion studies on the parcel.

However, a series of public hearings were scheduled by Peninsula Township to consider the issues noted by Judge Rodgers and gain input from Old Mission Peninsula residents. Of the five hearings scheduled, four were adjourned at the developer’s request, while one was adjourned at the Township’s request.

“There appears to be several opportunities to get a decision,” said Judge Power to ’81’ attorney Brian Etzel at the June 21, 2017 hearing. “I gather you fear they’re going to turn your proposal down based on one of these two remands [by Judge Rodgers].”

“The 81 on East Bay” developers also hoped to eliminate the need for soil testing on the parcel, with Etzel arguing that there’s no precedent for soil testing requirements in Peninsula Township and that it wasn’t required for the Vineyard Ridge development on Center Road, which he described as “more intense” than ‘The 81′ project.

But Power noted that “Peninsula Township was basically all farms, and most of that farmland was all fruit trees. Where the congregational church is was fruit trees, the little housing north of that was fruit trees,” he said. “Underwood Farms, that subdivision, you want to know why they call it Underwood Farms? Because it was Bob Underwood’s farm, that’s why. And the Underwoods had fruit trees there. They all sprayed their trees, and if you were a fruit grower and you didn’t spray your trees, the authorities would get after you because you’re a source of pests for everyone else.”

Peninsula Township attorney Timothy Wilhelm noted that the Township Board couldn’t make a decision regarding the ’81’ property without the soil tests. Read more about the June 21, 2017 Circuit Court decision here.

While there is currently an Earth Change Permit issued by the Grand Traverse County Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Department (dated May 9, 2016 and expiring May 9, 2018) posted on the property, there have been many legal and logistical issues since that permit was issued, and as noted earlier, the matter has not yet been resolved.

Click here for our complete coverage of The 81 on East Bay development.

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 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.

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  1. Grand Traverse Soil and Erosion is literally wasted time and money. I have watched as one of their approved sites out on East Shore slid into neighbors basements and 100’ out into East Bay after many people voiced concerns and warnings. They do not have the manpower and the manpower they do have does not have the education. Thanks for posting as we are all very interested in where this development is headed!


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