Traverse City Record-Eagle


April 26, 2013

Township regulations stall Oosterhouse winery


The brothers grew up on the peninsula and said they received both advice and support from the area’s established vintners.

”I hope they can get it resolved because they would definitely be an asset to the Old Mission wineries,” said Walter Brys, co-owner of Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery. “They are thorough and willing to take a lot of time to do a really good job.”

Carter Oosterhouse, whos hosts home remodeling and design television shows, will give Old Mission its first celebrity-owned winery and help broaden the region’s market, said Chris Baldyga, co-owner of 2 Lads Winery. He commends the brothers for taking on a property rife with legally complications, and said the two are producing excellent grapes.

Baldyga believes vineyards and wineries are the future of agriculture on Old Mission Peninsula -- for decades known for its cherry and other fruit orchards -- but he said township rules don’t make it easy on prospective vintners.

”Dealing with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Homeland Security and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission is a breeze compared to dealing with the township planning commission,” Baldyga said.

Brys contends township officials so frequently manipulated zoning rules that winery application requirements are ill-defined.

“It sure has been cobbled up over the last 20 to 25 years or so,” Brys said. “It would be really good if they could just come up with a solid planning tool for wine guys.”

The township is working on a new ordinance, but after a promising start, guidelines still appear overly complicated, Baldyga said.

“It makes your head spin,” he said.



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