Winery Ordinance Chronology

  • 1972 — Peninsula Township established its first winery ordinance which included Food Processing. Agricultural operators who sought to plant vineyards had extensive input to this original section.
  • 1976 — Chateau Grand Traverse was the first farm to make wine from their grapes. This was accomplished under a Special Use Permit which allowed limited retail sales of non-wine items.
  • 1989 — Winery/Chateau ordinance (Section 8.7.3(10) of the PT ordinances) was created and it is the foundation for the ordinance that exists today. Chateau Chantal received the first Special Use Permit (SUP) to operate as a Winery Chateau in 1990. The founder of Château Chantal, who was on the planning commission that developed the ordinance, along with other Winery supporters had extensive input. Their lawyer drafted language that was used in developing the Winery Chateau use.
  • April 14, 1992 — Township Board granted Bowers Harbor Vineyard a Special Use Permit (32) that includes a Food Processing plant for making wine and a roadside stand for tasting and retail sales. This use was later removed from the ordinance.
  • 1997Château Chantal proposed to amend the Winery/Chateau Ordinance to allow more food and guest services. This request was denied as a result of public input and board concern.
  • 1998 — The remote tasting room option was added to the ordinance after being proposed by the owner of Peninsula Cellars.
  • 1999 — Town Board passed the 5 Acre Small Winery Ordinance, Amendment NO. 128. The Amendment had 3 subsections:
    • 128a – redefined terms used to describe wineries and its products. Fortified wines, wine brandy and mixed wine drinks were permitted.
    • 128b – expanded the definition of winery to include a tasting room as an agricultural activity.
    • 128c – allowed a variety of retail sales in addition to wine products, it failed to limit the size of buildings. Only 5 acres were required to be in grapes and only 15 acres were required to obtain a Special Use Permit (SUP).
    • The Ordinance was repealed by referendum in August 2000.
      • This failed effort was led by representatives of the winery industry, known as The Agricultural Preservation League ( APL) , the predecessor trade group of WOMP (Wineries Of Old Mission).
  • Fall 2001 — A collaboration was initiated between winery representatives and citizens who had been in opposition to the initial 5 Acre Small Winery Ordinance, Amendment NO. 128. An agreement was reached on a replacement small winery amendment in June of 2002 and the Township Board then passed Amendment 139 on July 9, 2002. This was called the Farm Processing facility and is a Use By Right (UBR).
    • The Agricultural Preservation League was represented in that collaboration by League members who insured that Amendment 139 was approved by winery representatives.
  • December 10, 2002 — Amendment 146 was passed, allowing a residence in a food processing plant operation.
  • 2004 — The owner of Chateau Chantal requested expanded uses for guest activities which was tied to the number of acres in production and the tonnage produced. On August 10, 2004, the township approved Amendment 141 for these guest activities.
  • August 9, 2011 — Amendment 181 allowed sale of wine by the glass. This was passed in response to state legislation allowing such an activity.
  • July 23, 2019 — SUP 132 rescinded SUP 32 and added a Winery Chateau section to the ordinance causing Bowers Harbor Vineyard to be brought under the Winery Chateau Ordinance (Section 8.7.3(10)), shifting this winery from a non-complying roadside stand/food processing winery. This required granting of an acreage variance by the ZBA.  This was a result of the need to clarify uses at Bowers Harbor Vineyard, in particular regarding food service and event hosting.
  • January 8, 2019 — Through Amendment 197, the Use By Right, Farm Processing Facility was amended to allow a larger production area. This was initiated in response to Black Star Farms’ need for a larger production area.
  • 2020 — Wineries requested changes to extend uses in the current Ordinance, and negotiations were underway with the Township when Covid 19 struck, and the talks ceased. In the fall of 2020, without notice, wineries filed the current lawsuit against the Township. PTP became fully aware of these negotiations only after the litigation was filed in late October, 2020.
  • 2022 — Amendment 201 deletes Winery Chateau Section 8.7.3(10) and Farm Processing  Section 6.7.2(19), replacing them with:
    1. Winery without tasting room – 40 acres – a Use By Right
    2. Winery with indoor tasting room – 50 acres – a Special Use Permit
    3. Winery with indoor tasting room and outdoor seating – 60 acres – a Special Use Permit.

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