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Peninsula Township Hall | Jane Boursaw Photo
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At a combined meeting of the Peninsula Township Board and Planning Commission tonight, township officials discussed a variety of draft ordinances.

Note that these draft ordinances are not yet adopted and “may not be the documents we end up with,” said Township Supervisor Rob Manigold. Stay tuned to the Gazette for upcoming public hearing dates.

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MARIJUANA ORDINANCE

This draft ordinance would completely prohibit any marijuana establishments on the Old Mission Peninsula.

The term “marijuana establishment,” as defined in Section 3(h) of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, 2018 Initiated Law 1, §3(h), includes marijuana grower, marijuana safety compliance facility, marijuana processor, marijuana microbusiness, marijuana retailer, marijuana secure transporter, or any other type of marijana-related business.

Violators would be subject to a fine of up to $1000, with each day of the violation constituting a separate violation subject to a fine. The Township Enforcement Officer is authorized to issue a municipal civil citation directing alleged violators of this ordinance to appear in court.

Manigold noted that the Township’s intent is to opt out of everything until the marijuana laws in the state of Michigan are more solidified.

BLIGHT AND NUISANCE ORDINANCE

This ordinance, which would repeal and replace the previous Junk Ordinance dated April 13, 2010, aims to “secure the public health, safety and general welfare of the residents and property owners of Peninsula Township, by the regulation, prevention, reduction or elimination of litter, junk, trash, rubbish, refuse or debris, and other blight and blighting or nuisance factors or causes of blight and/or nuisance upon public or private property within the Township and to provide civil remedies for violations.”

While the draft ordinance is somewhat lengthy, the nuisance component notes that “whatever annoys, injures or endangers the safety, health, welfare, comfort or repose of the public; offends public decency or aesthetic sensibilities; interferes with, obstructs or renders dangerous any street, highway, navigable lake or stream; or in any way renders the public insecure in life or property is hereby declared to be a public nuisance.”

So what would be covered in the new Junk and Blight Ordinance? (Again, note that this is simply a starting point for discussion, and a public hearing will be held in the future.) A few specific items, as defined in the ordinance as litter, junk, trash, rubbish, refuse or debris, include:

  • any worn out and/or discarded material, including scrap metal
  • dismantled or partially dismantled vehicles
  • unlicensed or inoperable vehicles
  • construction materials, garbage, scrap and waste materials
  • used tires
  • any type of trailer or device which lacks all of the necessary component parts to make it operative and serviceable
  • yard trimmings
  • appliances, televisions or furniture not usable for the purpose for which they were manufactured

Further, the litter, junk, trash, rubbish, refuse or debris must be screened from the view of all adjacent properties and abutting public or private right-of-way, and may be stored for no more than seven days.

“Blighted premises” (used in conjunction with the “Dangerous Structures Ordinance”) are also included in the draft ordinance, including those which:

  • are not being properly maintained (include broken, missing or boarded windows and/or doorways; lack of or missing siding; collapsing or missing walls, sagging or collapsed roof or floors; fire damage; dilapidated, collapsing or unsound foundation; undisputable evidence of abandonment; visual lack of maintenance of the premises or garbage, trash or junk, including abandoned vehicles located on the site; aroma of mold, gas, garbage or any other disturbing and overwhelming odors
  • have attracted illegal activities
  • are a fire hazard
  • create a substantial and unreasonable interference with the lawful use and enjoyment of adjacent land owners’ properties within the immediate area
  • constitute a health, safety or welfare hazard

The draft ordinance also notes that there are a number of properties within Peninsula Township which contain vacant, abandoned or blighted buildings and or blighted lots, “which contribute to the decline of Peninsula Township and its residents.”

However, the following would not be deemed junk, abandoned or blighted for the purpose of this ordinance:

  • vehicles or watercraft stored within a fully enclosed building
  • vehicles or watercraft stored at a duly licensed and properly approved storage facility, junk yard, landfill or salvage yard in which the owner of the facility has obtained the proper permit approvals from the Township for any such operation to be approved

And, any of the following may be approved by the Director of Zoning upon receipt of a written application:

  • historic or classic vehicles, watercrafts or farm equipment
  • any vehicle, watercraft or farm equipment that is actively being restored or repaired
  • any vehicle, watercraft or farming equipment that, by reason of special circumstances, is deemed by the Zoning Administrator or Code Enforcement Officer not to be considered as junk or abandoned

During the public comment time, Old Mission Peninsula farmer Dave Edmondson noted that every farm has a collection of things that haven’t been used for a while. “I do have a lot of relics at my place and I have a plan for them and they have value,” he said, adding that if the ordinance passed as worded, he would be subjected to someone else telling him how to farm.

Edmondson said he feels that the ordinance needs to be more practical for the Old Mission Peninsula farming community.

Bed & Breakfast Amendment

Also at the meeting, the Township Board and Planning Commission agreed to pursue more information regarding an amendment to the Bed & Breakfast ordinance. This change would increase the number of guest rooms allowed based on the establishment’s acreage. The proposed change would include three rooms for the first five acres, adding one room for each additional five acres (up to five rooms).

This request originated with Cindy Ruzak, owner of the Grey Hare Inn on Carroll Road. It was pulled out of a larger list of requests which will be decided on pending an upcoming township survey.

For more information about these draft ordinances and amendment, read the materials included in the packet for tonight’s meeting on the Township website 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 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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2 COMMENTS

  1. Nice to know that anything on my property that “annoys” anyone could be subject to a Junk and Blight Ordinance violation. I also wonder how many peninsula residents keep a burn pit on their property or beach with tree trimmings until their next fire (or a fire ban has been lifted)? What happens if someone has a house fire and is waiting for their insurance settlement before re-construction? Once again, the wording of Township Ordinances is so subjective that their attorney will keep busy. We are very quickly losing our rural character and freedoms. Get ready for every property owner installing walls of privacy fencing and arborvitae. Goodbye open views!

  2. As summer residents of nearly 100 years, my family is interested in preserving the character of the Peninsula. But the Blight ordinance stipulation of having trash screened and STILL gone w/in 7 days is not practical or neighborly. If it’s not seen, and not attracting vermin, etc., it isn’t anyone else’s business. Sort of like the misguided law about trailer camping, with the debacle a few years ago of having the lighthouse RESTORATION CREW (!) not being allowed to stay out there while working (stooopid). If I want to have my grandkids visit and stay in my camper for a week, there needs to be a short-term provision for that. As it is, we hide the damn thing behind the house for family visits, and I would so sue anyone who came on my property to find it in “use.”

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