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Future Home of Peninsula Community Library | Jane Boursaw Photo
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At last night’s Planning Commission meeting, Peninsula Community Library (PCL) moved one step closer to its new location on the corner of Island View Road and Center Road on the Old Mission Peninsula.

After a public hearing, the commission voted unanimously to direct the Township Planner to write up the ‘Findings of Fact’ (a rather long and detailed document) for the next Planning Commission (PC) meeting in February.

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According to PC member Monnie Peters (see her comment at the bottom of this story), the PC will most likely approve all the “Findings” and then right after that will likely approve the “Special Use Permit” (SUP). This action then sends the SUP to the Town Board.

The Town Board will need to have a public hearing similar to last night’s meeting and go through a similar procedure of approving “Findings of Fact” and then a final approval.

Changes to the site plan were minimal, including moving the driveway closer to Center Road, updating the lighting and landscaping plans, and addressing the height of the power lines.

During the public comment time, several people spoke on behalf of the library, including Nancy Davy, President of Friends of PCL, who said the level of community support for the library is tremendous. More than 200 donations have been received from the fundraising campaign’s December appeal alone, as well as financial support from Tom’s Food Markets and other local businesses. Learn more about about the new library and how to support it here.

Others who spoke at the meeting include PCL Director Vicki Shurly, who noted, “I have been overwhelmed by the support of the new library … this is a good thing for the community,” and PCL Board President Heatherlyn Johnson Reamer, who said, “I’m obviously a huge supporter of the library, and I’m elated to see how far we’ve come.”

Roger Myers, who owns the neighboring Bewitched Farms with his wife Martha, said the new library has their full support. “They’re going to be a good neighbor,” he said.

Brit Eaton spoke on behalf of Neahtawanta residents, who made a group donation towards the new library, even though 60 percent do not live on the Old Mission Peninsula fulltime. “They think so much of the library and Vicki’s wonderful programs that they came up with $50,000 to donate to the library,” said Eaton.

Also at the meeting:

Discussion took place regarding the Junk Ordinance. Trustee Isaiah Wunsch said his subcommittee is not ready to make any decisions yet, as they are working on tightening up the definitions of “junk” and “blight.” He said there has been some pushback from the agricultural community, and the subcommittee is working on defining what items are classified as standard farming equipment and what constitutes junk.

A brief discussion took place regarding short-term rentals. Wunsch said the subcommittee is looking at allowing some uses, but they are mindful of the rigorous process that must be adhered to by OMP Bed and Breakfast establishments. They are hoping to have language in place by May, before the summer tourism season begins.

Cindy Ruzak, owner of the Grey Hare Inn on Carroll Road, commented on her letter dated Jan. 17, 2018, to Township Planner Brian VanDenBrand, regarding accepted additional capacity and permitted activities of bed and breakfasts. The letter includes suggestions for three categories of lodging establishments on the Old Mission Peninsula: 1) Tourist Rooms; 2) Bed and Breakfasts; and 3) Country Inns. For more detailed info, view Ruzak’s letter in the meeting packet here.

Peninsula resident Nancy Heller commented about the policy regarding Township meeting minutes. She would like to see notations in the minutes about who took them (i.e. the recording secretary) and who edited them, and would also like to see updated corrected copies posted online, after being corrected and approved by the respective Township boards and commissions.

The public hearing for proposed zoning ordinance amendments, Section and 7.4.7 Flood Plain Controls, was rescheduled for February.

The commission unanimously approved a motion to recommend approval of proposed zoning ordinance amendment Section 4.2.1  Enforcement/Violations and Penalties, changing the time in which violations shall be remedied from 15 days to seven days. That section now reads:

Violations and Penalities. Any person, firm, association, corporation, company, or other entity which fails to comply with any Peninsula Township Ordinances, Michigan law, or any regulatory measures or conditions imposed by the Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, or Township Board shall be found in violation. If such violation has not abated, ceased to exist or otherwise been remedied within seven days after written notice of the violation has been sent, the violator will be deemed to be responsible for a municipal infraction as defined by Michigan statute. This infraction shall be punishable by a civil fine in an amount to be determined for each violation. The amount will be determined by the Township violation fee schedule, or in an amount determined by the Court, along with all expenses (direct and indirect) incurred by the Township. Each day that a violation continues to exist shall constitute a separate violation of this Ordinance. A violator of this Ordinance shall also be subject to such additional sanctions and judicial orders as authorized under Michigan law. Provisions of this Ordinance may also be enforced by suit for injunctive relief. 

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.

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.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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  1. The Library project has not yet been passed by the Planning Commission.

    What was done last night was “to direct the Planner to write up the ‘Findings of Fact’ (a rather long detailed document) for the next PC meeting in February. The PC will most likely approve all the “Findings” and then right after that will likely approve the “Special Use Permit” (SUP). This action then sends the SUP to the Town Board.

    The Town Board will need to have a public hearing similar to what happened last night and go through a similar procedure of approving “Findings of Fact” and then a final approval. However, the Town Board sometimes moves through the process faster than the PC.


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