Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 26, 2013

Township regulations stall Oosterhouse winery

TRAVERSE CITY — Neither fame nor fortune helped TV personality Carter Oosterhouse and his brother slice through legal and zoning entanglements that confront would-be winemakers on Old Mission Peninsula.

Todd and Carter Oosterhouse planted vines on Old Mission Peninsula three seasons ago and planned to build their winery this summer in time to process grapes in the fall. Todd Oosterhouse also spent a year-plus working with Peninsula Township officials to address numerous zoning and conservation deed restrictions on the property, only to see plans corked by a last-minute legal challenge.

”We’re hoping now to get approval in May ... but we have contingency plans to take care of the grapes if we need to,” Todd Oosterhouse said.

The brothers expect their winery and vineyards to occupy 51 acres on Center Road south of Nelson Road, property complicated by an ownership dispute, conservation easements, and view-shed restrictions on 41 of those acres.

Township officials last year nixed building sites on the 41 acres because a winery would violate a protected view-shed, Supervisor Rob Manigold said.

That decision forced the Oosterhouses to buy adjoining unrestricted land on Center Road for a tasting room and wine processing. The day before the township board considered that request an attorney who represents Dave Edmondson — the man who sold the 41-acre, deed-protected land to the Oosterhouses — alleged the winery would violate zoning and deed restrictions.

Edmondson also contended the Oosterhouse brothers needed his permission to establish the winery because they bought the property on a land contract.

Edmondson could not be reached for comment and his attorney did not return messages.

Peninsula Township attorney Bryan Graham recently dismissed the zoning challenge, but the township won’t act until Oosterhouse and Edmondson resolve the ownership issue, Manigold said.

Todd Oosterhouse said he’s working it out with Edmondson and hopes to have the matter resolved soon.

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