(Editor’s Note: If you are in support of the new Farm Processing Facilities Ordinance, you are welcome to add your name to a letter drafted by Protect the Peninsula (PTP), a volunteer organization founded in 1979 committed to preserving the Old Mission Peninsula community for the common good of everyone – farmers, winery owners and residents. At their Dec. 13, 7 p.m., meeting at the Township Hall, the Township Board will discuss the ordinance and consider approving it. Read the draft of the ordinance here. Changes from previous versions are marked in red. Read on for a note from PTP. -jb)
Guided by Township Planner Jenn Cram, Peninsula Township has worked over the past year to craft a Food Processing Amendment aimed at establishing clear regulations for all kinds of farm processing, including winery operations.
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A proposed amendment will be considered for adoption at the upcoming Dec. 13 meeting of the Township Board. This amendment will provide greater opportunity for non-winery farmers to market their products, and will also establish clear guardrails to ensure that commercial activities on ag zoned land are truly agricultural in nature. PTP sees this as a much needed improvement.
This well-crafted amendment has been developed with input from farmers and residents to provide greater economic opportunity to farmers, while also protecting the community from conflicts arising from non-farming activities on ag land.
Unfortunately, the board has received a letter this week with a significant number of signatures in opposition, primarily from parties with interests in non-ag activities on ag zoned land. We hope to counter that effort with the letter below, and ask for your support by adding your signature.
Township Board Members,
We, the undersigned farmers and land owners, believe the new proposed Farm Processing ordinance is the right evolution of the township land use policy. It is well crafted to safeguard both quality of life for residents and the ability to farm adjacent to lands that are occupied by wineries or other processing uses. The acreage thresholds for retail uses and for outdoor activity will reduce potential conflict with neighbors.
The township still needs improved road side stands, farm markets, well defined agri-tourism, and other ways to enhance farm income. We urge you to pass this ordinance and then direct your attention to these other needed improvements.
If you are willing to have your name listed in support please email [email protected] with this message:
“Please add my name to the letter supporting the proposed Farm Processing Amendment. My name is ____.”
Your Neighbors From Protect The Peninsula
Read more about Protect the Peninsula at their website here.
What a crock. Name one non farmer who signed the letter except for the processor who clearly identified himself as such. Of course PTP supports this travesty. They helped write it and made sure it was anti winery and in their haste, swept in the farmers. We all know their motives and they don’t care one wit for the farmers.
The letter from the farmers represent 4,800 acres of land on the peninsula. There are 800 acres of grape land on the peninsula so 4,000 non-grape acres are represented. PTP is all about good intentions and bad results. The unintended consequence of their policy proposals will be less farms and more housing.
IF… Agriculture planning is to come from this activist group,then, perhaps it is time for our family to surrender after 170 years of farming on the Peninsula to residential development..,
With deep regrets,
That this citizens group is trying to diminish and belittle the farmers for speaking their mind against an agricultural ordinance is unsettling and lacks tact. You shouldn’t sweep their opinion under the rug with a your own letter and claim that because you have 50 names for- and 50 names against- ‘that makes it ok to pass!’
If that many farmers say it is harmful to them – why would a group of citizens and local administrators presume to know better?
Grab a pen and paper and ask the farm community “why don’t you like the ordinance? how can it be improved? will it stand the test of time??”
You hit the nail on the head. They never asked the many times we objected. We laid out our reasoning in many meetings. There was never any dialogue. Now they have us in a financial whirlwind and for what. To satisfy their ego and power trip. This could have bern settled 100s of thousands of dollars ago. Do they need to be hit over the head with a multi million dollar assessment by the judge.
So they only want farmers to grow crops not make them into something. Its not just wine its cider its cherry juice its jams. In their war on the wineries they are making farmers their collateral damage.