At a special meeting of the Peninsula Township Board on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, the Board voted unanimously to hire Jennifer Cram as the new Director of Planning, replacing Randy Mielnik, who retired earlier this year. At a special meeting last Monday, the Board interviewed Jennifer and one other candidate via Zoom in the Township Hall.
Jennifer was born in Traverse City and graduated from Michigan State University in 1994 with a B.A. in Landscape Architecture. She worked as a Landscape Architect for Meridian Charter Township in Okemos until 1999, and since then, has been working in various planning positions in Colorado. During her tenure as a Planner with the Town of Breckenridge, projects included preserving historic resources and the development of cultural assets to support tourism year-round.
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For the past four years, she’s held the position of Planner II for Larimer County, Colorado, where among other things, she drafted updates to the county’s Land Use Code related to agriculture, housing and recreation.
“I believe that my 25 years of professional planning experience in both current and long-range planning will be an asset to Peninsula Township,” she writes in her letter of introduction to the Peninsula Township Board.
“Having worked the past four years for Larimer County, CO, I have become passionate about the rich history and culture of agriculture. I have a keen understanding of the importance of agriculture to the socio-economic environment of the County. Balancing the needs of agriculture operations to be economically sustainable with the associated impacts to residents is complex.”
She notes that she has been diligently working to relocate back to the Grand Traverse area, where much of her family still lives.
“Peninsula Township has a great mix of history, beautiful shoreline, scenic landscapes, and thriving year-round tourism that are appealing to me. I would love to share my experiences to help preserve the charm of the area while supporting sustainable growth and vibrancy.”
Read Jennifer’s letter and resume in the meeting packet here.
Township Board Chooses Members of Citizens Committee
At that same meeting, the Peninsula Township Board chose the members for the citizens committee that will review the demands of the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula (WOMP), as outlined in their amended complaint in the winery lawsuit. At a special meeting at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Oct. 6, the Board voted to reject WOMP’s settlement, and also voted to form a citizens’ committee.
Fourteen individuals expressed interest in being part of the committee, and you can view their notes in the meeting packet here.
After discussion regarding the availability of members to meet in-person throughout the winter, the importance of choosing a diverse group of members, and the importance of members being residents of the Township, the Board voted to install eleven members to the committee:
- Two Township Board Members: Rob Manigold, Isaiah Wunsch
- Three Protect the Peninsula (PTP) Members: John Jacobs, John Wunsch and Erin Gartland
- Three Community Members: Brit Eaton, Rudy Rudolph and Jennifer Venigoni
- Three WOMP Members: Awaiting members as selected by WOMP, should they decide to be included in the committee.
All residents of Peninsula Township are welcome to attend and voice input at all meetings of this committee.
Watch the Oct. 20, 2021 meeting of the Township Board at the Township’s YouTube channel here.