Oppose approval for a conditional use permit for Herron Farms, 6620 Dexter-Ann Arbor Rd

Oppose approval for a conditional use permit for Herron Farms, 6620 Dexter-Ann Arbor Rd

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Daryl DePestel started this petition to Scio Township

Herron Farms located at 6620 Dexter-Ann Arbor Road is applying for a 'conditional use permit' with Scio Township to relocate the existing barn on the property as an 'organized meeting space' including events with greater than 100 people along with a vineyard.   The event barn would host weddings, wine tastings and corporate events.  The applicant is planning for hours of operation from 9am - 9 pm Sunday through Thursday and 9 am - 11 PM on weekends.

The Scio township planning committee is considering whether the proposed vineyard and event center maintains the existing rural character of the property and would align with the intent of the Master Plan. The Argi-Tourism Business ordinance is intended to apply to established farms and states these businesses including any "organized meeting space" be "complementary and accessory to the primary agricultural land use". Currently a clear relationship between the event barn and a proposed vineyard is not well established, and appears to be a loophole to justify commercial land use. The applicant is proposing establishing a vineyard, which is not currently in existence.  

To this end, the applicant:

1) Does not have a currently established vineyard, therefore no crops and no wine and therefore no link to an event barn

2) Would need to import grapes to make wine for tasting because he does not have established grapes and harvesting grapes could take years

3) Needs to import wine because he does not have the wine making equipment and it takes time to ferment and process wine

The right to farm act protects established farms and allows farmers a means to sell their products to the public.  It does not cover people who buy property and want to establish wedding barns.  Scio twp. residents have expressed concern over noise and possible impact on residential housing values and overall disruption to the rural character of the area.  

The applicant is attempting to persuade the planning commission with promises and work arounds, but at the end of the day Scio twp has no ability to enforce any of the promises the applicant is proposing.  The approval of the conditional use permit would create additional nuisances, in turn requiring additional public services detrimental to the economic welfare of the community and set a precedent for similar venues in the township. Please join me as a local resident and taxpayer in opposing this conditional use permit.

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