Chateau Grand Traverse on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
Chateau Grand Traverse on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
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(OMP resident Lou Santucci has some thoughts about the winery lawsuit, which you can read more about here and here. Read on… -jb)‌
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‌Yes,‌ the wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula ‌knew what‌ ‌the‌ ‌rules‌ ‌were‌ ‌when‌ ‌they‌ ‌signed‌ ‌up.‌ ‌But they ‌‌should‌ also ‌expect‌ ‌that‌ ‌things‌ ‌can‌ ‌change‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌better, and that the rules shouldn’t be static and ‌should‌ ‌change‌ with‌ ‌evolving‌ ‌circumstances.‌ ‌

Does‌ ‌that‌ ‌mean‌ ‌that ‌Old Mission Peninsula‌ ‌residents shouldn’t be allowed to seek ‌a‌ ‌zoning variance‌ ‌‌because‌ ‌they‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌make‌ ‌their‌ driveway‌ ‌bigger‌ ‌or‌ ‌build‌ ‌a‌ ‌suitable‌ ‌cover‌ ‌for‌ ‌their‌ ‌car‌ ‌that‌ ‌may‌ ‌overhang‌ ‌a‌ ‌few‌ ‌inches‌ more‌ ‌than‌ ‌allowed?‌ ‌No,‌ ‌like‌ ‌any‌ ‌resident‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌Peninsula,‌ ‌they‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌right‌ ‌to‌ ‌seek‌ ‌changes‌ ‌for‌ ‌whatever‌ ‌reason.‌ ‌

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Ask‌ ‌yourself‌ ‌this‌ ‌question‌.‌ ‌Why‌ ‌are‌ ‌the‌ ‌people‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌zoning‌ ‌rewrite‌ ‌committee‌ expending‌ ‌their‌ ‌personal‌ ‌time‌ ‌amounting‌ ‌to‌ ‌hundreds‌ ‌of‌ ‌hours‌ ‌to‌ ‌review‌ ‌and‌ ‌propose‌ ‌changes‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌zoning‌ ‌rules? ‌It‌ ‌would‌ ‌seem‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌folks‌ ‌opposed‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌wineries‌ ‌want‌ things‌ ‌to‌ ‌remain‌ ‌the‌ ‌same‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌Peninsula.‌ ‌But‌ ‌if‌ ‌it‌ ‌was‌ ‌always‌ ‌the‌ ‌same‌ ‌before‌ ‌they‌ ‌arrived‌ ‌here‌, ‌they‌ ‌wouldn’t‌ ‌be‌ ‌here.‌ ‌

I‌ ‌venture‌ ‌to‌ ‌guess‌ ‌that‌ ‌many‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌people‌ ‌who‌ object‌ ‌the‌ ‌loudest‌ ‌are‌ ‌living‌ ‌in‌ ‌houses‌ ‌that‌ ‌were‌ ‌built‌ ‌on‌ ‌previously‌ ‌undeveloped‌ ‌farm‌ land.‌ ‌Their‌ ‌attitude‌, ‌if‌ ‌in‌ ‌place‌ ‌before‌ ‌they‌ ‌got‌ ‌here,‌ ‌would‌ ‌have‌ ‌kept‌ ‌them‌ ‌out.‌ ‌

It’s‌ ‌an‌ ‌old‌ ‌saw.‌ ‌Too‌ ‌much‌ ‌traffic.‌ ‌No‌ ‌more‌ ‌development.‌ ‌No‌ ‌expansion‌ ‌of‌ ‌this‌ ‌or‌ ‌that‌. We‌ ‌have‌ ‌enough of whatever is at issue! We‌ ‌see‌ ‌it‌ ‌all‌ ‌over‌ ‌the‌ ‌country‌ ‌when‌ ‌new‌ ‌ideas appear.‌ ‌It’s‌ ‌touted‌ ‌by‌ ‌some‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌same‌ ‌folks‌ ‌that‌ ‌oppose‌ ‌any‌ ‌new‌ ‌housing‌ ‌development‌ ‌or‌ ‌‌business‌ ‌opportunities‌ ‌that‌ ‌may‌ ‌be‌ ‌proposed.‌ ‌These‌ ‌people‌ ‌are‌ ‌often‌ ‌called‌ ‌NIMBYs‌ – ‌in‌ ‌other‌ ‌words‌, Not‌ In‌ My‌ ‌Backyard.‌ ‌

I‌, ‌for‌ ‌one,‌ ‌welcome‌ ‌the‌ ‌wineries‌ ‌and‌ ‌what‌ ‌they‌ ‌do‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌Peninsula‌.‌ ‌Without‌ ‌them,‌ ‌how‌ ‌do‌ ‌you‌ ‌think‌ ‌the‌ ‌Peninsula‌ ‌would‌ ‌look,‌ ‌as‌ ‌farmers‌ ‌find‌ ‌they‌ ‌no‌ ‌longer‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌market‌ ‌for‌ their‌ ‌cherries?‌ ‌We‌ ‌would‌ ‌most‌ ‌likely‌ ‌have‌ ‌either‌ ‌barren‌ ‌farmland‌ ‌or‌ ‌more‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ “dreaded”‌ ‌developments.‌ ‌The wineries ‌have‌ ‌made‌ ‌the‌ ‌landscape‌ ‌more‌ ‌beautiful‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ vineyard‌ ‌viewsheds‌ ‌we‌ ‌all‌ ‌enjoy.‌ ‌They‌ ‌have‌ ‌preserved‌ ‌the‌ ‌land‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌enjoyment‌ ‌of‌ ‌all.‌

So‌ ‌before‌ ‌you‌ ‌condemn‌ ‌the wineries and ‌say‌, ‌’You‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌stay‌ ‌just‌ ‌the‌ ‌way‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌and‌ ‌operate‌ ‌as‌ ‌you‌ ‌have,’ ‌look‌ ‌inward‌ ‌and‌ ‌ask‌ ‌yourself,‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌really‌ ‌how‌ ‌you‌ ‌want‌ ‌the‌ ‌world‌ ‌to‌ ‌be? ‌I‌ ‌think‌ ‌we‌ ‌all‌ ‌want‌ ‌a‌ ‌dynamic‌ ‌and‌ ‌fluid‌ ‌environment‌ ‌for‌ ‌ourselves‌ ‌and‌ ‌our‌ ‌kids.‌ ‌

I am ‌not‌ ‌going‌ ‌into‌ ‌the‌ ‌obvious‌ ‌economic‌ ‌benefits‌ ‌or‌ ‌the‌ ‌fun‌ that the wineries ‌provide.‌ ‌I‌ ‌will‌ just ‌say‌ ‌that‌ ‌to‌ ‌castigate‌ ‌them‌ ‌because‌ ‌they‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌earn‌ ‌more‌ ‌income‌ ‌or‌ ‌because‌ ‌they‌ filed a lawsuit when ‌the‌ Town‌ship ‌would‌ ‌not‌ ‌move‌ ‌is‌ ‌not‌ ‌helpful.‌ ‌

I‌ ‌am‌ ‌74‌ ‌years‌ ‌old‌, ‌and‌ ‌I‌ ‌fear‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌Peninsula‌ ‌is‌ ‌inhabited‌ ‌by‌ ‌a‌ ‌vocal‌ ‌few‌ ‌people‌ ‌who‌ ‌want‌ ‌things‌ ‌to‌ ‌stay‌ ‌just‌ ‌as‌ ‌they‌ ‌are.‌ ‌Let’s‌ ‌try‌ ‌to‌ ‌find‌ ‌a‌ ‌compromise. It‌ ‌should‌ ‌not‌ ‌be‌ one-‌sided‌ ‌in‌ ‌favor‌ ‌of‌ ‌no‌ ‌movement‌ ‌forward.‌

‌We‌ ‌all‌ ‌want‌ ‌the‌ ‌Peninsula‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌livable,‌ ‌and‌ ‌I‌ think‌ ‌many‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌things‌ ‌the‌ ‌wineries‌ ‌are‌ ‌seeking‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌worked‌ ‌out‌ ‌if‌ ‌the‌ Township‌ ‌and‌ people‌ ‌who‌ ‌are‌ ‌against‌ ‌any‌ ‌change‌ ‌go‌ ‌into‌ ‌this‌ ‌with‌ ‌an‌ ‌open‌ ‌mind.‌ ‌The‌ Peninsula‌ ‌is‌ already‌ ‌changing‌ ‌by‌ ‌outside‌ ‌forces‌ ‌we‌ ‌have‌ ‌no‌ ‌control‌ ‌over,‌ ‌such‌ ‌as‌ ‌changes‌ ‌to‌ ‌‌farming‌ ‌opportunities.‌

‌Let’s‌ ‌not‌ ‌make‌ ‌”Save‌ ‌the‌ Peninsula”‌ ‌a‌ ‌rallying‌ ‌cry‌ ‌to‌ ‌keep‌ ‌the‌ ‌Peninsula‌ ‌an‌ ‌archaic‌ ‌vestige‌ ‌of‌ ‌its‌ ‌former‌ ‌self.‌ In other words, let’s not kill the Peninsula.

Also Read…

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

Bay View Insurance of Traverse City Michigan


  1. Hear Hear Lou! I agree. I have observed some residents, long term family types, are opposed to nearly any change at all. You cannot stop change but you can manage it.

  2. I’m glad to discuss the issues with anyone who wants to listen to other viewpoints. Being an old guy who was taught civics which is no longer taught in the schools I learned to respect other opinions and a person’s right to voice them. i am afraid it’s not just the right versus the left anymore, It goes beyond that and encompasses every day aspects of our life.

  3. “They took all the trees
    Put ’em in a tree museum *
    And they charged the people
    A dollar and a half just to see ’em
    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got
    Till it’s gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot”

  4. Love the joni mitchell song. The wineries have planted 100s of acres with vines that create quite a vista and in October burst with a wonderful array of fall colors.

  5. Yes agree on most. So in the last three years we have added at least three new wineries. I have been to all of them. And as a resident I am a proud member of 2 wine club memberships and a mug club at Jolly Pumpkin. I like to support our local business’s when possible and I like OMP white wine offerings. It dismays me when I see a local save the peninsula or save the OMP this or that group go against our wineries. I do not get it at all . If it was not beautiful wineries and vineyards what would it be? Well it would be residential development like we got in 81 when somehow the Ag zoning got changed to high density residential. Where were the save the planet OMP groups then? So now I personally would like to see us favor methods and rules to help promote our ag business’s to prosper. It is to the benefit of all of us who respect our peninsula and beauty that we possess.

  6. Evolution is evolution, be it amongst humanity or the residents of Old Mission Peninsula. The residents of this beautiful area have either been here for years or have been drawn to it’s beauty and it’s bounty! Either way, should we choose to reside here, we should choose to work together to accomplish a common goal and it appears to me that the wineries, the residents and the Township should be and could be working together towards their common goals. What this takes is collaboration, discussion, negotiation and in other words, give and take from both sides. Face it folks, wineries or large housing developments? What would you rather see? There are varying opinions on both sides and from my personal perspective it always boils down to who spends the most money to gain what they want. There is an excess amount of money being spent to fight the inevitable as opposed to gathering together to discuss the options, finding a neutral party to mediate and settling somewhere in the middle where we can all live amongst this beautiful space in grace!

    Time for a reality check! Look at our Township Board. Unfortunately they ran completely unopposed and no one is willing to step up to the plate to accomplish the tasks required to please all of those living and working on OMP. We, as residents, allowed this to happen. This is a battle of the wills and although the township deems they have little financial support to fight the fight, I disagree. Is anyone actually paying attention to the happenings within the township? Do any of you review the budget and the increased amount of taxes being taken in? The lack of our requests, as residents, for improvements to the roads, the speeding, the obvious? It is no fault of the attorneys involved to see dollar signs as they continue this ridiculous and lengthy battle of the wills here. The wineries and the residents are more than willing to sit down to discuss the options, the opinions and come to reasonable terms. It is the township who is unwilling and condescending in their attitudes towards the opinions of the residents. Time to put up or shut up folks. We can do this in a harmonious way or allow the absurd to continue. What’s it going to be?

    Thank you Louie for vocalizing what so many are afraid to speak!


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