OMP Survey Results: Limit Wineries, Preserve Farmland
Debbie Bee's horses, Stormy and Skipper, on Swaney Road | Jane Boursaw Photo
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Did you participate in the Old Mission Peninsula Community Survey at the end of last year? The survey included random phone interviews with 200 residents, as well as an online survey with identical questions. About 3800 postcards were mailed to township residents, alerting them about the survey and providing instructions on how to participate online.

The survey results are in, and OMP residents have spoken. We like the rural, quiet character of the Peninsula, scenic views, and air and water quality. We don’t want growth, over-development and traffic congestion.

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We’re opposed to more wineries and expanded winery activities, we want to preserve farmland, and we like the current 30-day policy for rentals. In short, we want our township officials to create and enforce policies that maintain as much of the rural character and historic landscape as possible, even if it means limiting economic growth opportunities.

Let’s dive into the survey results below, which are already being used to help update the Peninsula Township Master Plan.

A note about the survey results: For the phone interviews, survey results came from randomly selected records of OMP households with listed landlines, and 30 percent came from available cell phone numbers (my son was one who got the random cell phone call). Of the 3800 postcards that were mailed, there were 980 responses recorded for the survey. Note that between the online responses and the random 200 phone calls, the answers to the survey questions were very similar.

Preserve the Rural, Quiet Character of Old Mission Peninsula

We all know the Peninsula is known for its rural character, scenic views, and unique geographic location. An 18-mile piece of land stretching into Lake Michigan near a town in the North Woods is indeed a rare gem. Based on the survey results, OMP residents want to maintain that rural character.

In one survey question, residents were asked to identify which of several attributes they like most about living in Peninsula Township. The rural, quiet atmosphere was the most popular response, followed closely by scenic views and air/water quality.

Old Mission Peninsula Survey Results

Limit Growth, Development and Traffic

Similarily, growth, overdevelopment, and traffic congestion topped the list of reasons why residents believe the quality of life in Peninsula Township has gotten worse in the past few years.

Old Mission Peninsula Survey Results

Township Officials: Preserve Natural Beauty, History

A strong proportion of respondents urged Peninsula Township officials to keep as much of the rural character and historic landscapes as possible, and carefully guard the natural beauty of the Peninsula. More than eight in ten respondents want Township officials to preserve the existing character of the Peninsula, even if that means limiting economic growth.

Old Mission Peninsula Survey Results

Keep the PDR Program Going

As for whether Peninsula Township should continue the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program, support for such a ballot proposal is indicated by a two-to-one margin. The reason? Again, residents want to control growth and prevent traffic congestion. Here are the results of a hypothetical “vote” on the PDR program (which is coming up for renewal).

Old Mission Peninsula Survey Results

Limit Short-Term Rentals, Enforce Dock/Hoist Limits, Skip the Town Center

As for short-term rentals, two-thirds of respondents are happy with the township’s current policy, which limits rentals to 30 days or more. Similarly, more than six in ten residents favor strict enforcement of the number of docks and hoists (existing township ordinance limits residents to one dock and two boat hoists per 50 feet of shoreline), and a majority of respondents oppose a mixed-use town center.

Old Mission Peninsula Survey Results
Old Mission Peninsula Survey Results 2020
Old Mission Peninsula Survey Results 2020

Limit Wineries and Winery Activities

What about wineries? Are we maxed out on the number of wineries the Old Mission Peninsula can handle? Based on the survey results, a majority of respondents answer “yes” to that question and want to limit the growth of new wineries.

Old Mission Peninsula Survey Results

Likewise, a majority of respondents oppose relaxing the current restrictions on wineries, meaning they do not want more activities taking place at OMP wineries.

Old Mission Peninsula Survey Results

Rural Space, B&B Events About 50/50

Should privately-owned rural spaces, farms and bed and breakfast establishments be allowed to host events? About 50 percent of respondents support the existing policy of prohibiting events in these spaces.

Old Mission Peninsula Survey Results 2020

Storage of Boats, Hoists & RVs Also 50/50

As for whether boats, hoists and recreational vehicles should be required to be stored, about half of respondents support it and about half oppose it.

Old Mission Peninsula Survey Results 2020

To sum it all up, based on the survey, Peninsula Township residents are content with things as they are, and would like township officials to maintain and create policies to limit growth, wineries and traffic congestion. See the full survey results here.

Thoughts on the OMP Community Survey results? Sound off in the comments below.

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  1. Jane, you are to be commended for this excellent article on the survey. I read the results on the Township web site but you have a special talent at pulling it all together for us. Great journalistic job!

    • Thanks, Jayne! It’s a lot of info to sift through, so hopefully it makes sense. I figure if I can write it in a way that *I can understand it, hopefully others will, too.

      I wish more people had responded to the survey, but at least it gives us some idea of how people feel about the direction of the Peninsula.

  2. I’m curious about the pedestrian friendly improvements that were favored by a strong majority of respondents. What would that mean for pedestrian heavy roads like peninsula drive and bluff and east shore roads. It would be nice to see pedestrians have a safer experience on the peninsula.

    • Thanks for the note, Dave. I think I’m going to do a separate story on the non-motorized/pedestrian issue because it is a big thing. We talked about it quite a bit at the Master Plan Committee meeting last night, so I’ll blend in some of those thoughts. The thing with Peninsula Drive and East Shore Drive is that there’s just not a lot of room there to create a nice space for bikers and walkers. Whereas creating an off-road trail that winds through orchards, farmland, etc. is sort of off the table because of liability issues with landowners and also, farmland these days is strictly regulated. You can’t even walk on the land without “signing in” at the edge of the orchard, in many cases. But I’ll write up something and incorporate all of that.

  3. […] “Unlike other winery jurisdictions, Old Mission Peninsula is a unique land mass with limited infrastructure and a thriving agricultural industry that also needs consideration in land use policy,” notes Dettmer. “Transforming winery/vineyard operations into commercial events operations, with bar-type hours, music concerts, weddings and restaurant operations, is exactly what Township residents opposed in the recent 2019 survey. […]


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