(Editor’s note: At its September 13, 2022 meeting, the Township Commission recommended Family Orchards, LLC seeking exemption from the moratorium adopted by the Township Commission on January 3, 2022 and extended to January 2023. Held a public hearing on the request. Special permit applications relating to assets in agricultural districts while the Board is working to change the ordinance.
Family Orchards, LLC recently purchased land at 15259 Smokey Hollow Road previously owned by Dan Fouch. They want to pursue an on-site winery. In a letter to the Township Board dated July 22, 2022, Dr. Walter Knysz, III, Member and Manager of Family Orchards, LLC said: State law deprives me of my right to due process and equal protection under federal law and is therefore not valid. ”
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At the Sept. 13 meeting, Fahey, Schultz, Burzych & Rhodes Township Attorney Bill Fahey said the commission is drafting a new ordinance and will hold a hearing on the ordinance at the Oct. 11 meeting. Therefore, I said: There is no point in granting this waiver as it could be repealed in a matter of weeks if a new ordinance is adopted.
In a letter to the Township Commission dated September 7, 2022, the applicant’s attorney, Andrew J. Blodgett of Parker Harvey Law Firm, said: in the first place. Eliminating desirable land use will cause immediate and irreparable harm to Family Orchards, LLC. ”
Read the full Sept. 13 Board papers related to this issue here and read on for Lou Santucci’s opinion piece on this issue… -jb)
While the Peninsula Township office seems unlikely to be the site of the casino, the commission’s actions at its meeting Monday, September, prompted yet another to change the rules of one winery applicant. are betting our money on a senseless attempt at At the same time, they pushed for proposed ordinance changes that would adversely affect people, especially farmers, who own more than 50 but less than 80 acres of land.
Their actions will undoubtedly lead to more lawsuits, resulting in a big jackpot payout for Township’s lawyers. How did this roll of the dice come about?
One owner attended a board meeting to seek a waiver of an illegally enacted moratorium so that he could move forward with a Chateau Special Use Permit (SUP) on land purchased from the Fouch family. The board did not grant his request, which prompted lawsuits by this applicant or others who tried to submit his SUP to township planners. This was despite the fact that not only was the moratorium illegal, but a petition to put the issue to a vote delayed his second moratorium enforcement for 30 days.
Therefore, in light of the fact that the township attorney recognized the illegality of both moratoriums, he drafted a new resolution to reinstate the illegal moratorium.
I know all this is confusing, but the bottom line is that both moratoriums were illegally passed, so the current ordinance was still in force. was not converted. This has led to lawsuits by people (there are at least three of them) who tried to file the SUP.
Folks, if these lawsuits are filed, you’ll find that legal fees will exceed $107,000 in the last month and possibly the next few months while the winery lawsuit continues. , some may root for the Board to gamble with our money, but I think the wiser head should win here. I should grant the request. In addition, the board should encourage others to resubmit their SUP requests. Otherwise, a successful lawsuit could result in a large payment to the attorney, if not the applicant. I don’t want to see it
Finally, in another matter that could lead to further litigation, the Board has set up a hearing in October on rewriting the Wineries Ordinance. The proposed ordinance would mean virtually no one would invest money because it would be financially impossible to operate a winery or other farm processing facility. For large facilities, going from a minimum of 50 acres to a minimum of 80 acres devalues the economic value of a farmer’s property if he owns less than his 80 acres of land.
Based on past drafts, other provisions of the proposal, which are not yet visible, further discourage the winery from opening. Ridiculous restrictions such as limiting outdoor seating to 50 people, without any rationale or analysis on how to protect the health, welfare and safety of the peninsula, are just further grounds for lawsuits.
Arguments have been put forward that this new proposal would give farmers the equivalent of what wineries have. As a potential investor in the winery’s land, parity is provided by making the farmer’s land economically unusable. That’s all.
Rather than a new ordinance that severely restricted what processing facilities on farms could do, farmers wanted a parity with the current ordinance that wineries already operate. In contrast to the false statements made by members of the Commission and the Protection of the Peninsula (PTP), the ordinance does nothing for farmers.
Real or not, I hope many farmers will attend the conference and speak out against this thoughtless proposal. And don’t be fooled that the proposal was put forward by the so-called Citizens Agricultural Commission. The farmers on that committee opposed many ideas. Other non-agricultural representatives, 50% of whom are from her PTP, had one goal in mind. It is to prevent any more wineries from coming to the peninsula.
You may agree with their goals, but at the same time they are actually hurting farmers.