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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Likewise, a majority of respondents oppose relaxing the current restrictions on wineries, meaning they do not want more activities taking place at OMP wineries.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 OMP. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb