How Protect the Peninsula Views The Winery Lawsuit

There is a wrong way and a right way to make sure everyone can be heard. The wrong way is through a federal lawsuit. The right way is through the Michigan community process to amend a zoning ordinance. All community members have the right to be heard in different ways in that process. Appointed planning commissioners and elected officials consider and vote on proposed changes. Subcommittees with key stakeholders can tackle thorny or complex issues and make recommendations. Professional planners can bring expertise and perspective to ensure forward progress.

PTP believes the wineries’ demands – and their lawsuit – pose a direct, long-lasting threat to the Peninsula’s quality of life. If wineries are successful in overturning Peninsula Township’s winery ordinance, the results will include:

  • alcohol service until 2 a.m.
  • amplified outdoor music until 2 a.m.
  • large events such as weddings and bachelorette parties until 2 a.m.
  • full restaurant service until 2 a.m.
  • increased traffic until 2 a.m.
  • increased infrastructure cost for roads, law enforcement

Those changes in winery operations will forever change farming and residential life on Old Mission by making every winery a restaurant, every winery an events center, and every winery a bar.  Perhaps most important, these changes will revalue ag land based on its eligibility for these commercial, non-farming uses, thereby making land costs out of reach for ag uses and pushing ag off of the peninsula.

The wineries’ lawsuit also seeks financial damages of approximately $135,000,000 from Peninsula Township that will be paid by our residents, blaming rules they understood and accepted when they applied to operate under the existing ordinance.

Wineries’ arguments are not supported by Michigan law. Earlier this summer, it looked as if the wineries might be on their way to victory. But, the tide turned in late July when PTP was granted intervention in the case by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The appellate court also lifted the injunction preventing the township from enforcing its winery ordinances.  On top of that, Judge Maloney delayed trial and will consider PTP’s argument about whether some of the wineries’ claims even belong in federal court. These successes, along with PTP’s ability to litigate and present new arguments, are game changers.

PTP needs your tax deductible donation to defend the Winery Ordinance (NOTE: clicking this link will open a page to donate via our affiliated organization, Preserve Old Mission.  100% of funds received by Preserve Old Mission are directed to Protect the Peninsula, donors’ tax benefit to be maximized).