At their Dec. 13, 2022 meeting, the Peninsula Township Board will consider approving a Farm Processing Facilities Ordinance that has been in the works for the past few years. The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the Township Hall. As always, there will be time for public comment.
Township Planner Jenn Cram notes that the primary goals for the proposed ordinance are to 1) update the ordinance so that it’s legally defensible based on issues raised in the lawsuit filed by the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula (WOMP) against the Township; and 2) create an ordinance that is equitable and even-handed for all agricultural operators on the Old Mission Peninsula, including those who grow and process lavender, honeycrisp apples, cherries, grapes, other fruits and vegetables and so on.
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Read the draft of the Farm Processing Facilities ordinance that the Township Board is considering for approval here. Changes from previous versions are marked in red.
However, some Peninsula Township farmers are opposed to the ordinance, calling it over-restrictive and anti-farmer. In a letter that I received this week from a group of farmers, they note, “This proposed ordinance does NOT represent what farmers need and want, UNLESS the intent is to grow houses, not fruit, vegetables or other crops. It will not help to keep farmland in active agriculture on Old Mission.”
Here is the full text of the letter, which includes the farmers who signed it at the bottom.
Enough is Enough
The undersigned farmers, representing approximately 4,800 acres of farmland on the Old Mission Peninsula, are not supporters of or represented by Protect the Peninsula, a.k.a. PTP. We are farm stand owners, fruit buyers, processors, and growers of apples, cherries, grapes, hay and vegetables.
After several fits and starts, the Township is poised to adopt an unnecessary, over-restrictive processing ordinance. The ordinance is anti-farmer. The farmer has NOT been represented, regardless of the Township’s claim that there is a citizens’ agricultural committee.
This proposed ordinance does NOT represent what farmers need and want, UNLESS the intent is to grow houses, not fruits, vegetables or other crops. It will not help to keep farmland in active agriculture on the Old Mission Peninsula.
If the Township Board proceeds with this ordinance, strong revisions to the future land use plans need to reflect far more residential zoning with higher density. In other words, houses will grow, not cherries, apples, grapes, vegetables, or field crops.
We do not see how the Township, in good conscience, can move forward on this proposal, given the overwhelming opposition from nearly every farmer in Peninsula Township.
Bern and Cheryl Kroupa, Old Mission Fruit Co., LLC, Old Mission Receiving, LLC; Weatherholt Farms; Wendy Warren, Warren Orchards; Old Mission Maple, LLC; Edmondson Orchards; Ben and Jen Bramer, Agrivine, Inc.; Raymond Fouch Orchards; Montaña Rusa Farms; Robert and Kris Mampe; Daniel Fouch Orchards; Gore Ridge Orchards, Inc.; Leonard and Eddie Ligon; Marc and Deborah Santucci; Montague Estate Vineyard; Marie and Jay Hooper; Lou Santucci; Irene Van Harten; Walter Knysz, Family Orchards LLC; John Lyon, Mary Lyon, Island View Orchards; Martin Lagina, Olivia Lagina, Croft, LLC, Villa Mari, LLC; Mapleton Farms, LLC; Ursa Farms, LLC; KLM Farms, LLC; Chris and Angie Baldyga, Two Lads, LLC; Jed and Dawn Hemming, Hemming’s Way Fruit Company; Alice and John Burbank; Werner and Margrit Kuehnis, Island View Vineyard; Edson Pontes; Ochs Orchards, LLC; Barry O’Brien, O’Brien Vineyards; Mark Ladley; Garry Mannor; Tim and Laurie Holman, Jack and Georgia Holman, Holman Orchards; Cherry Ridge; Cory and Elise Holman, Cory Holman’s Pumpkin Patch; Carter and Amy Oosterhouse, Todd and Caroline Oosterhouse, Bonobo Winery, Oosterhouse Vineyards; DSO Industries; Jeff and Regan Goodman; Bruce and Terry Hooper, Hooper’s Farm Gardens; Jeff Miller and Molly Stretten, Devil’s Dive Vineyard; Justan Helton, Coldwater Farms; Chateau Chantal; Larry and Sandy Tiefenbach, Lone Silo Vineyard; Tim Quinn and Michelle Keith, Old Mission Creek, LLC; Eric Brown; Cimmaron Farms; Randy and Linda Williamson; Gifford Way Orchards; Jim and Fran Krupka; Bill and Margaret MacDonald, MacDonald Vineyard; Dale and Lynne Boersema; Fred Dohm, Twin Maples Farm; John DiLorenzo, Stonewall Vineyard; Kroupa’s Cherries & A View; George Shambaugh; Walter and Eileen Brys, Patrick Brys and Erick Outcalt, Brys Winery, LLC, Brys Secret Garden, LLC; Azmi & Kathryn Elmasri; Mike McMaster; Spencer and Erica Stegenga, Linda Stegenga, Bowers Harbor Vineyards; Stonehouse Vineyard; Bob and Jill Urtel; Ten Hands Vineyard; Tom and Claudine Petzold; Nicholas Farm & Vineyards, LLC; Eddie and Allison O’Keefe, Chateau Grand Traverse, Ltd.; Old Mission Vineyards, LLC; Sean O’Keefe; Bruce and Cathleen Hawthorne, Hawthorne Vineyards; Jeff Manigold; McKinley Hill Estate; RJF Sports, LLC; Robert and Sherri Fenton; John and Sarah Kroupa, Kroupa Farms, LLC; Leorie Vineyards; Black Star Farms Old Mission; Mario and Mary Ann Tabone, Tabone Orchards; Mario A. Tabone, Tabone Vineyards, LLC; Bruce Anderson; Bluff View Farms; Luke and Faye Pickleman; Misfits Vineyards; Tom and Linda Scheuerman, Seventh Hill Farm, LLC; Cristin and Brian Hosme; Peterson Farms, Inc., largest processors of cherries and apples in Michigan, in support of their growers; and many friends…