(OMP resident Lou Santucci has some thoughts about the winery lawsuit, which you can read more about here and here. Read on… -jb)
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.