Here’s a roundup of recent news in Peninsula Township…
Hogsback Erosion. A section of the Hogsback (on Center Road about a half-mile north of the Smokey Hollow Road intersection) has washed out. The erosion is on the left side of the road if you’re heading north, just past the Cut-Across. There are currently traffic cones there, and we’ll keep you posted with any updates. (Check out last week’s erosion on Bluff Road, too.)
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Bluff Road Traffic Interruptions. On Thursday, August 19, 2021, from 8 – 11 a.m. and 12:30 – 2 p.m., there will be traffic stoppages on Bluff Road south of Blue Water Road for three- to five-minute intervals to shoot drone footage for a commercial (I believe it’s State Farm). As soon as each shot is completed, traffic will resume until they are ready for the next shot. The participants will communicate with the assigned Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s officers to regulate the traffic blockage.
Lock Up Your Cars. Peninsula Township Deputy Virnell France says that cars are still being broken into while they’re parked in residents’ driveways. He strongly advises residents to 1) not leave any valuables in your car; and 2) lock up your cars, even if they are in your driveway. For more info, read our interview with France here.
Triathlon Cancelled. Discussion of whether to allow the 16th annual Traverse City Triathlon at Bowers Harbor on August 15 was on the agenda for a special August 5 meeting of the Township Board. However, the Triathlon (and meeting) was subsequently cancelled, as the organization failed to complete the necessary paperwork and permits with the Township in a timely manner.
Kelley Park Boat Launch Update. A lease with the DNR has been finalized and signed. It had previously been determined that a boat launch will be built at Kelley Park, rather than Haserot Beach, where it had been for many years. The Township is currently working on project design and funding/grants for Kelley Park, but it’s unclear whether the boat launch will be built yet this year.
Bluff Road Closure Update. A section of the north end of Bluff Road remains closed due to erosion issues. A study was completed by GEI Consultants of Michigan, a Lansing-based engineering firm, and the Grand Traverse County Road Commission is waiting on further cost analysis before making a final decision on whether to leave the road closed permanently. From the GEI report:
“Based on our observations, exploration, testing and analysis, we conclude that the bluff is in active recession along the shoreline of Bluff Road and should remain closed. Existing failures will continue to regress further into the pavement and will eventually compromise the road near the edge of the existing bluff in areas where pavement is not yet compromised. The bluff will require stabilization if it is to be reopened for normal traffic.”
Fire Station 3 Open House. OMP residents were able to tour the new Fire Station 3 on the north end and chat with staff of the Peninsula Township Fire Department at their Open House yesterday, August 15. Here’s a pic of the staff, including Fire Chief Fred Gilstorff on the right. See pics of the station and ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this year here.
Zoning and Planning Department News. At the August 9 Township Board meeting, discussion took place regarding combining the zoning and planning departments; however, the Board decided that the two departments should remain separate. It was determined to hire a clerical person to help with day to day functions for both departments, such as gathering info and filling out permits, and then sending these to the zoning administrator or planner to sign off. Township Clerk Becky Chown will update the job descriptions for both the zoning administrator and planner, ensuring that proper communication between the departments is written into the job descriptions.
The Ordinance and Master Plan rewrites are still in motion, with former planner Randy Mielnik staying on as a consultant until a new planner can be hired. A third public hearing on the Ordinance rewrite will take place at the Board meeting on Sept. 14 (see the draft here). Interviews are currently taking place with a final candidate for the planner position.
Here’s a photo of Mielnik, fourth from left, with the Master Plan Committee at a recent meeting…
Winery Lawsuit. This is still pending. Township attorney Greg Miehn noted at the August 10 Township Board meeting that there has been no response from the court on Protect the Peninsula’s Motion to Intervene or the Motion for Summary Judgment. Discovery will be starting at the end of August or first of September, with the winery depositions taking place first. While Miehn expects the judge to make a ruling soon, he suggests that the Township try to re-open discussions with the wineries again and see if they’re willing to do so for a possible resolution. See all winery lawsuit news and opinion pieces here.
Naked Man on the Trail. There have been reports of a naked man on the trails at the north end, both on the Lighthouse Trail and the Ridgewood Trail, as well as reports of people having sex on the beach near Mission Point Lighthouse. If you see a naked person on the trail or beach, call 911 with a location. This is classified as “indecent exposure,” which is a misdemeanor subject to a fine and jail time. (I did not see any of this, however – and hope I can manage to avoid it. A hiker-friend texted me about the sightings.)