Carpenter Hill on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
Carpenter Hill on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
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(The authors of this story, Peninsula Township Clerk Becky Chown and Planner Randy Mielnik, have been instrumental in getting Participate Old Mission up and running, as well as moderating the content. Read on to see how you can voice your opinion on Township matters and help shape the future of the Old Mission Peninsula. -jb)

An ancient playwright once said, “There are as many opinions as there are people.” Given the population of Old Mission Peninsula, our Township government would like about 6,000 more opinions.

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As discussed in a February 2021 Gazette article, as well as in the Winter 2021 township newsletter, Participate Old Mission is an online forum where residents can express their views on Peninsula Township issues. Check out the website and register here to voice your opinion.

Here are some of the top questions/subjects of interest to date:

Off-Road Trails and Nonmotorized Traffic. What are your thoughts or suggestions about runners, bicyclists, and walkers on our shoreline roads? Do we need new road designs to accommodate such uses? If the Township works with TART on devising both new roadway designs and off-road trails, what would you like to share with them? Would you attend meetings hosted by TART to help with plans? How would you feel about one-way shoreline roads? Would you be willing to pay to support off-road trails or changes to our roads to make recreational use of them safer? Read more and offer opinions here.

Motorized Traffic. What are your thoughts about the trends in motorized traffic? Are there ways to improve traffic flow that haven’t made it into routine discussions? Read more and offer opinions here.

Water Quality. How are we doing with protection of water quality of the bays and maintaining natural buffer zones near the shoreline? Those were identified as top priorities in the 2019 citizen survey. Read more and offer opinions here.

Alternative Energy. Would we benefit from changing the ways property owners might produce alternative energy? Would you like to participate in ordinance rework to support new approaches to alternative energy? Read more and offer opinions here.

Agri-Tourism. What are your views on what’s called agri-tourism, including wineries? How do we promote agriculture in our township, which is listed as something most residents support, while also keeping the township “rural and quiet,” also top priorities? What are your thoughts on overnight lodging opportunities on the Peninsula? Read more and offer opinions here.

PDR Program. Our Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program has been hugely successful in limiting development and preserving agriculture. The millage collection for the program will expire this year. Are you ready to support another millage for PDR in 2022? Would you join in citizen efforts to help explain what PDR has achieved? Read more and offer opinions here.

Township Parks. Most residents place high value on our parks. Do our parks need improvements, and, if so, what are the top needs? What about our historical properties like Mission Point Lighthouse and the Dougherty House? Would we benefit from bringing more information about Native American history on the Peninsula into the mix at our historical centers? Read more and offer opinions here.

TDR Program. What are your thoughts on creating a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program that involves steps to concentrate existing levels of development potential into a village center with limited commercial activity and opportunities for more housing choices? Read more and offer opinions here.

Master Plan Visions. This coming week, the Township will add the 12 overarching vision targets and organizing principles the Township’s Master Plan Steering Committee has developed to the Participate Old Mission website. (We’ll update this story with a link when that happens.) What do you think?

If you have opinions, and the Township certainly hopes you do, please share them at Participate Old Mission.

About Participate Old Mission

Participate Old Mission was launched as a follow-up to the 2019 citizen survey to help shape Peninsula Township’s Master Plan (see the 2011 Master Plan here, and info about the update here).

The Master Plan is a State of Michigan-required document that guides our Township ordinances. If the questions about various topics listed above sound familiar, it’s because they’re some of the subjects most frequently mentioned in the citizen survey, but the Township wants even more detailed information from residents. Especially with COVID emerging and continuing during much of 2020 into 2021, Participate Old Mission became an essential means of fine tuning the survey data when in-person meetings weren’t practical. Now the Township would benefit from greater participation.

Even as restrictions loosen on in-person meetings, Township staff and leadership see the site as an ongoing vehicle to share and gather information beyond the needs of the Master Plan. Participate Old Mission isn’t intended to replace the Township’s regular website (, which will remain the repository for information such as meeting agendas and minutes, zoning ordinances, tax and assessment data, the staff directory, parks information, and much more. But Participate Old Mission will remain a fluid means of interacting with the community. In the future, look for the content of Participate Old Mission to evolve and develop.

Comments Are Moderated (and Civil)

Unlike most social media platforms, Participate Old Mission is a moderated website, meaning that Township staff routinely review posts by citizens, answer questions, and post new information and threads for discussion. The intention isn’t to limit anything that residents wish to express, but since it is a government-sponsored site, civility is essential. In other words, your views will be respected without worry of inappropriate comments from others.

Please join in by visiting and registering at Participate Old Mission, and making your views known there. We very much want to hear from you.

Also Read (2019 Survey Results)…

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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