Here’s a roundup of news from around the Old Mission Peninsula:
Park Board. A petition was circulated to change the structure of the Park Board, and 578 valid signatures were received (481 were required). At least week’s Township Board meeting, the Board approved ballot language to be included on the November election. Voters will have the final say on whether the elected Park Board will be dissolved, and a new Park Board of three or four members be appointed by the Township Board. OMP resident Dave Murphy, who helped circulate the petitions, says this is not a reflection on any individual Park Board member, but rather simply allows greater flexibility and more efficient decision-making relating to the parks.
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New Planning Director. Randy Mielnik has been hired as the new Peninsula Township Planning Director. He will begin his new job on July 30, 2018. Randy comes to the township with a long list of credentials and experience. Read more here.
Peninsula Community Library. The library has officially accepted Cornwell Architects’ architectural documents for the construction of a new library on the corner of Center Road and Island View Road. While they have raised about $2 million of their capital campaign fundraising goal, they are still seeking the remaining $500,000 in funding before construction may begin. For more information on how to donate, visit the library’s website, call the library, (231) 223-7700, or call Library Trustee John Bercini, (630) 235-1475. He is happy to answer any questions you might have.
Fire Department Chaplain. The Peninsula Fire Department has appointed Pastor Melody Olin as the Fire Department Chaplain. Olin is the pastor at Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church.
Farm Processing Facility. A committee of the Planning Commission will draft a proposal about this issue (Section 6.7.2(19) of the Township Zoning Ordinance), which involves allowing 10,000 square feet of above-ground processing and storage building area for each 20 acres of active agriculture.
Bed & Breakfast Ordinance. The Township Board accepted the recommendation of the Planning Commission to take no action (i.e. change the current B&B ordinance) on modifications regarding uses and density of B&B establishments until a Master Plan community survey has been completed (possibly by or during 2019). Cindy Ruzak, owner of the Grey Hare Inn B&B on Carroll Road, had requested that the Township consider creating equity in land use for tourist accommodations, by filling in the gap between the one-acre B&B ordinance and the 50-acre Chateau ordinance, and allowing ag zoned properties one additional room for every five acres over the first five. She also requested the option of increased guest activities, including changing the definition of “acceptable accessory uses” to include providing additional food products and services to guests, as well as allowing events “with no greater impact than that of a single family residence having a private party.”
Short-Term Rentals. After discussion at the July 16 Planning Commission meeting, Township Trustee Isaiah Wunsch (board rep to the Planning Commission) recommended to the Township Board that no action be taken regarding short-term rentals until a community survey is completed (by or during 2019). There are currently several short-term rentals (less than 30 days) operating on the Old Mission Peninsula, although they are not technically allowed in the ordinance.
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