Shield the Peninsula Ask to affix the Michigan Vineyard Case

PTP asks Peninsula Township to join as a co-defendant in WOMP’s case.

A federal lawsuit filed against Peninsula Township by the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula Association (WOMP) in the fall of 2020 alleges that zoning laws restrict wineries in “unfair, incriminating or even unconstitutional ways,” and violations of the first amendment, the trade, cited clause and Michigan’s alcohol laws. The lawsuit states: “The restrictions imposed by the community winery ordinance have cost wineries hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.” This month, Protect the Peninsula (PTP), an advocacy group made up of residents of the Old Mission Peninsula, filed a petition in federal court for co-defendants.

In January, Judge Paul Maloney in the US District Court for the Western Borough of Michigan denied an injunction that temporarily prevented Peninsula Township from enforcing zoning rules for eleven wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula and prevented activities such as “hosting Venues ”. Selling T-shirts, running restaurants or caterers outside the company and setting your own hours. “WOMP attorney Joseph Infante responded to the court’s findings:” The court denied [our injunction motion], but the judge gave the parties the direction of where he saw the strengths and weaknesses [of the case]. He said the wineries’ pre-emptive claims are legitimate, and these are kind of our core claims – handling of restaurant, catering, opening hours, entertainment, music, that sort of thing. We were very happy with this language. “

Photo by Tina Witherspoon on Unsplash

The “preemption claims” refer to the community’s rule that WOMP claims are anticipated and thus made unenforceable by the Michigan Liquor Control Code, such as the fact that Old Mission wineries were approved by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) by May 2 Can be operated in the morning, but must be closed within the community zone at 9:30 p.m. Judge Maloney wrote that the court finds “more merit in the MLCC’s preliminary ruling arguments than in its allegations that the Peninsula Township winery regulations are unconstitutional”. He asks the parties to continue mediation and they have until the end of next month to try.

Protect the Peninsula attorney Tracy Jane Andrews, when asked to join the case, said: “[The wineries] have argued that the municipality has no legal power to regulate liquor license holders. That the municipality cannot regulate, for example, at what hour the wineries close in the evening according to the zone law, because this is decided entirely by their alcohol permits. So I think in this case the question is not whether we should change the zoning regulation. It’s whether we can regulate wineries. And I think PTP has a keen interest in maintaining the community’s ability to regulate land use as it affects neighbors and neighboring land uses. “

Chris Baldyga, President of WOMP and co-founder of Old Mission’s 2 Lads Winery, commented on the recoil from some residents: “I can understand that other people love and believe in the peninsula and have opposing views. I just don’t appreciate that they keep referring to the wineries as “commercial”. We are farms and small family businesses. Small local farming fails, and if you have successful things like cider and wineries that can protect the green space and keep farming going, I think they need cheerleaders, not people, to minimize them and keep their success low. We’re just asking about the rights allowed by the Michigan Liquor Control permits, and these are things wineries should be doing almost anywhere on farmland. “


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