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(Editor’s Note: At the May 14 meeting of the Peninsula Township Board, discussion took place regarding on-site sewage disposal system inspection requirements in connection with the sale of existing homes and businesses not hooked up to public waste utilities. On the NextDoor platform, OMP resident Lou Santucci posted a note with his thoughts about the potential septic requirement, which I’ve included at the bottom of this story. OMP resident Grant Parsons emailed me the following response, which is posted first below. – jb)

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Response by Grant Parsons (to Lou Santucci’s note posted below):

Our neighbor Louis Santucci did a social media post (see below) in which he claimed a septic tank inspection proposal is a money-making scheme by a couple of Peninsula Township board members. As the band “The Kingsmen” famously said, “Louie Louie, Oh No!”

The idea of checking septic tank efficiency was not started by Maura Sanders or Dave Sanger. Michigan communities are concerned that more than 330,000 of Michigan’s 1.3 million septic tanks are leaking fecal matter into our water table. I understand libertarians like Mr. Santucci don’t like government, but how do they like the taste of their neighbor’s poop?

There are different possible approaches to solving the problem of leaking septic tanks, but there is no disputing the fact that septic tanks ARE leaking. Click here for some facts in a story on UndergroundInfrastructure.com entitled, “Michigan Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Create Septic Codes Throughout the State.”

The Benzie-Leelanau Health System adopted a septic tank inspection ordinance — read more about that here. The proposal in Peninsula Township is probably less burdensome than the proposal by State legislators to require all septic tanks be inspected on a regular basis. Read more here.

Libertarianism works well in isolation, but not so well in a community. Clean groundwater is not a money-making scheme; clean groundwater is a matter of public health.

-Grant Parsons

Original Note by Lou Santucci:

At the recent Town Board meeting, Maura Sanders, with the cheering of Dave Sanger, proposed the development of an ordinance to possibly make another money grab and complicate your life and real estate sales on the Peninsula. TJ Andrews was also there supporting this move and urging them to move quickly. (Editor’s Note: TJ represents District 7, which includes Peninsula Township, on the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners. -jb)

This is on top of a possible current Township Board proposal to have a Charter Township and also try to roll back the Headlee amendment requirement to lower our already too high tax rate. The roll back is required this year due to increased property values unless a board-proposed referendum votes against the roll back. This means the current Board wants to take that money which you would otherwise save, out of your pocket. I will deal with each of these two other issues in separate postings on NextDoor over the next few weeks.

The Maura Sanders proposal deals with the sale or transfer of your property, and she wants the town planner to sign off on that sale. She even wants it to apply to a mere transfer between relatives. The new proposal relates to your septic system and inspections. This was discussed at the Town Board meeting of May 14. Go to Peninsula Township’s YouTube channel and click on the Town Board meeting of May 14 – the discussion is approximately 42 minutes in. (Editor’s Note: Only the most recent videos are on the Township’s YouTube channel, so this video may not be available for viewing when you go to look for it. -jb)

In essence, Maura is proposing that before you can close on a purchase or sale of your house, there needs to be a septic inspection, and the sale could not take place until the Township signs off that the septic system passed inspection. Of course, there will probably be a fee for this, as there is already a fee and planner involvement for a home occupancy permit.

As of now, the septic inspection issue is between the buyer and seller. And it has worked fine. There is no legal requirement at the state or county level for a septic inspection, but the Township wants to stick their nose in this arms-length negotiation between a buyer and seller, and most likely will charge you for it!

Here we go again – make the Peninsula an over-regulated township like a Chicago suburb instead of the simple farm community that it is. Dave Sanger spoke up at the meeting and said this was a great idea and extolled the power the planner has over your ability to occupy your newly built house. If you are a libertarian like me, you do not support unfettered power in a town official, either elected or as in the case of the planner, a non-elected official. Nor do you support these kind of money grabs.

This would also apply to where a parent or other relative passes title to a relative. Even if say your daughter or son had lived in the house with the parent for years. The Township complains they need more money because they are overworked. If that is truly the case, then for God’s sake, stop passing more unnecessary ordinances that require more staff time. It seems the Board is sending this to the Planning Commission. Keep an eye out and remember this when it’s time to vote.

-Lou Santucci

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A NOTE FROM JANE: 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.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Grant, I’m sorry, you just don’t understand. The last thing we need is more rules. If I want to drink my neighbor’s feces, that’s for me to decide, not you or the township. They especially shouldn’t charge me money to do it. It’s my right.

  2. Yeah. And who cares if people get sick and die? OMP doesn’t care about E Coli levels in the water at the beach either. Or about junkyards or appearances in general. Apparently, no one has a nickel to spend for anything in this community. It’s rather sad and unfortunate.

  3. Geeze
    Do you really think because I oppose the township inserting itself in the few house sales on the peninsula I am in favor of drinking poo.
    So here is my opinion.
    1. I do not favor drinking poo.
    2. I am in favor of the current practice of the buyer and seller working out the septic inspection responsibilities.
    3. There is no need for enforcement by township or delay of a sale.
    4. I am especially against getting township sign off on sales of property especially with yet another fee.
    5. Why is the town constantly acting like the adults on the peninsula need to have the nanny state tell us what we should do.
    Why not check with the real estate agents and see how many of their sales did not include a septic inspection before you go and start creating another bureaucracy and enforcement tool.
    Finally, Grant I don’t know where you live but if you are on a septic system how often do you get your system inspected. It is only a mere $500 I am told.

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