(OMP farmer Jed Hemming suggests that the real goal of Protect the Peninsula is to remove the business of agriculture, which will ultimately result in removing the agricultural landscape of the Old Mission Peninsula. Read on… jb)
How often has a mailing from Protect the Peninsula (PTP) gone out in our community for a call to action? How can you refuse? “Protecting the Peninsula” is important. The name, after all, infers a good cause. (Personally, I believe they mislabel their mailing list as a “membership.”)
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I have often heard the “President” of PTP claim to support the agricultural community in many ways and for many years, including input on zoning regulations and the Purchase of Development Rights program (PDR).
I very strongly disagree.
As a lifelong resident and second generation farmer, I will state unequivocally that ‘PTP’s goal is and has been to regulate agriculture.’ I challenge anybody to open a fruit processing plant today. The restrictions on warehouse capacity, local sales and viewsheds, not to mention the noise, odor and traffic impacts on adjoining roads and neighborhoods, would make the process all but impossible. It’s important to note here that the process of farming generates all of the same nuisances.
The PDR program, which is heavily supported by PTP, was and is presented as an opportunity to save farmland from residential development. In reality, it is a process to further restrict the use of agriculturally-zoned land beyond what can be done through zoning.
Admittedly, the PDR program is voluntary, and the residential development rights are paid for with real dollars. It’s not the validity of the program that I’m addressing – it’s the true goal. The size and location of pole barns, cooling facilities and labor housing is, in some cases, dictated by the PDR easement, because it impacts residential neighbors and views.
Will hours of operation be regulated because of noise? This is considerably more than limiting residential development. It could be argued that it encourages it.
I propose that PTP is, in reality, in support of an agricultural landscape, and NOT the business of agriculture.
What will happen to all the land “preserved” by the PDR program if agribusiness is no longer viable? Abandoned orchards and vineyards and another lawsuit?
I often hear about the beautiful orchards and vineyards on the Peninsula. What a beautiful place to live. I suggest that if you remove the business of agriculture, you will lose the landscape.
– Jed Hemming
Editor’s Note: A bit of history … Kroupa’s, Inc., which Jed mentions above, was located on Center Road north of Peninsula Cellars’ tasting room. After many years where it sat vacant with only the office and storage facility, that parcel is now being cleared. I heard that a horse farm might be going in there, but I’ll find out more info and report back. Below is a Record-Eagle ad from July 7, 1976, which notes local cherry processors welcoming visitors to the 1976 National Cherry Festival. Three of the processors were located on the Old Mission Peninsula – Gleason & Co. (on Center Road just south of the Old Mission Tavern); Kroupa’s, Inc.; and Peninsula Fruit Exchange (on the corner of Peninsula Drive and Kroupa Road). Only Peninsula Fruit Exchange (PFE) remains; it was purchased by Seneca Fruit in recent years. Also in the ad, note that the National Cherry Queen was OMP resident Carol Grishaw. – jb)