Opinion: Township Should Follow State Mandates for Zoning Regulation


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(Editor’s Note: OMP resident Curt Peterson writes about the joint meeting of the Township Board and Planning Commission on Oct. 11, 2022, during which a public hearing was held on the Farm Processing Facilities Amendments, a draft of which has been in the works since earlier this year. After the public hearing and discussion by both groups, the Planning Commission recommended approval of the Amendments to the Township Board. Following a few minor changes, the Amendments will be on the agenda for the Nov. 1 meeting of the Township Board, who may take action to approve them at that time. View the meeting video here or on the Township’s YouTube channel here. -jb)

At the joint meeting of the Township Board and Planning Commission on Oct. 11, 2022, the main issue was/is a proposed change to “Farm Processing Unit” in our Township Zoning Ordinance. It is Proposed Amendment 201. (Editor’s Note: Read Township Planner Jenn Cram’s memo and attachments about the amendment here. -jb)

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Per the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act of 2006, there are requirements of Planning Commission meetings. They do not make law; however, they do make recommendations to the Township Board for approval/disapproval, and items may be sent back to the Planning Commission for modification .

After a public hearing, the Planning Commission is required by state statute to make a report to the legislative body (the Township Board) regarding their findings of citizen comments, and then make a recommendation to the Board. This was not done either during the Oct 11 meeting or after the meeting. The Planning Commission has not followed state law. In fact, they made and passed a motion at this joint meeting without producing the required report to the Township Board.

It gets worse. A Planning Commission member made a motion to recommend approval of Amendment 201 to the Township Board, including recommendations discussed at the meeting. It passed. No one questioned what recommendations. What does this mean? Yes, the Planning Commission does not make law; they only make recommendations to the Township Board. But we have no clue what they recommended, and they did not supply the state-mandated report of citizen comments to the Board.

Is this what we want in Peninsula Township, no matter your opinion on Farm Processing? Did we not open ourselves up for litigation for not following state statutes, and for a vague motion by the Planning Commission?

We need our government bodies to follow state mandates for zoning regulation and to pass motions that are absolutely clear for all to understand.

– Curt Peterson

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