Peninsula Township Board meeting, Nov. 14, 2023 | Jane Boursaw Photo
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(Editor’s Note: In light of the recent Township meeting where conflict arose over building heights and other issues, OMP resident Eric Dreier says thoughtful comments and detailed ideas make for constructive Peninsula Township meetings. And if you’ve got something to say about anything related to the Old Mission Peninsula, write it up and send it to me, [email protected]. -jb)

We all feel fortunate to live or own property in Peninsula Township. There is a great deal of ongoing change happening in our community, and this was evident in the recent joint meeting of our Peninsula Township Board and Planning Commission.

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The main focus of the meeting was a proposed change in the zoning ordinance regarding building heights. There were several lessons to be learned from this meeting, and if you were not able to attend, it is available to watch in its entirety on the Township’s YouTube channel here.

If you have attended any of our township meetings, you are already aware that any member of the public can speak at the beginning of the meeting on any item on the agenda, and at the end of the meeting on any topic, regardless of whether or not it’s on the agenda. This allows public input and also informs the township trustees of public opinion and concerns.

Regrettably, this recent meeting began with inaccurate information and bitter complaints that fomented a distrustful environment. The lesson here is that inaccurate information neither promotes a deliberative atmosphere or positive outcomes.

Instructively, it was valuable to witness how productive the meeting became when people who were critical of the proposed ordinance explained why they were concerned with factual examples about the proposal’s limitations. Further, rather than being just negative, they proposed alternatives and, in some cases, detailed ideas for consideration.

As thoughtful citizens, they were seeking understanding and carefully attempting to promote a positive atmosphere for all parties. This resulted in what promises to be a path forward with members of the public partnering with township officials to work collaboratively. The lesson here is that our township officials listened to the community’s concerns and responded with an action that could prove constructive.

Moreover, those who watch most or all of the four-hour meeting will see that our elected township board never took up the matter being considered because the planning commission didn’t take the necessary action to move the proposed amendment to the township board. Instead, the planning commission requested more time to work on the issue of building heights.

This is exactly how serious and deliberative committees and boards should behave. Both our appointed planning commission and our elected township board did what they were supposed to do. They did their jobs.

Last, there are accusations that our board is not transparent. If one goes to our Peninsula Township website, there are years of detailed information regarding budgets, meeting agendas and minutes. Township governments are designed to be fully transparent. The people we elect deserve our respect.

-Eric Dreier, Peninsula Township Resident

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SUPPORT YOUR INDEPENDENT LOCAL NEWSPAPER: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever. Thank you so much for your support! -Jane Boursaw, Editor/Publisher, Old Mission Gazette

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Yes when our officials listened to our citizens and formed a joint committee with them progress was made. Prior to that the stated objective was to push through,that night, amendment 204 which included the sneak attack of added 6.1.5 ( if it is not in the zoning ordinance then the use is illegal). We did witness great citizenship that night as residents showed up and spoke. Great for them. You mention “ misinformation”. Specifically what? Like the statement we are following Michigan Zoning Enabling Act of 2006 as stated by a township official. Well that is certainly misinformation.

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