Frequently Asked Questions About This…

1. Q: How do the residents of Old Mission Peninsula feel about WOMP expansion? 

The RESIDENTS overwhelmingly OPPOSE  WOMP’s positions in the lawsuit, as well as any other expansion of wineries’ current rights.

This resident opposition is a matter of PUBLIC RECORD.  As discussed above, a supermajority of residents expressed their opinions against winery expansion in the extensive SURVEY of residents undertaken by Peninsula Township as part of updating the Township’s Master Plan.   You can dig into this in detail by clicking on the following link to the Old Mission Gazette’s coverage

OMP Survey Results: Limit Growth and Wineries, Preserve Farmland


2. Q: But aren’t the wineries just struggling small farmers?  

No.  Not even close.

In the 3 years of litigation since WOMP filed their lawsuit, not once has a vineyard claimed they are not profitable to the best of our knowledge.  This is not surprising—the wineries have not claimed they are failing financially during the 40 + years of expansion via the usual zoning process.

This dispute is about making MORE money—faster, and at the expense of others, including at the expense of ruining the beauty that the rural character, the clean environment, the stunning viewsheds, brings to residents and visitors.

Remember, wineries are about more than just “farmers growing grapes”.  They are complex, multi-faceted and multi-million dollar business enterprises.

  • pure agriculture—growing a crop
  • processing the crop ( industrial activity— millions of dollars of technology moving tons of product around rural roads )
  • commercial sales—wholesale, retail, Food & Beverage operation for tasting, etc

To this, the wineries  want to ADD Intensive Hospitality & Entertainment—hotels/inns/restaurants/event centers – for concerts, meetings, large weddings, etc.

Ask Yourself— if your home ( or your children’s school) is in a zone marked RESIDENTIAL, do you want an Event Center next door? A hotel?                           


3. Q: What do the vineyard owners want?


  • More Money & more more freedom to do whatever they want on their property
  • To Blow Up Zoning—end the system that has served society well since the the time of the Romans and has been law in the United States for centuries ( you can look those up.)


4. Q: How much money does WOMP want?                 

A: $ 200 million.  Yeah, you read that correctly.

The wineries are asking a federal judge to award them $200 million in MONEY DAMAGES- which—according to the wineries—represents how much their businesses were damaged by the actions of the citizens of Old Mission in enforcing the duly adopted Zoning Code over the 40+ years the wineries have been in operation.

And even though some of the regulations the wineries complain about were agreed-to by the wineries!

5. Q: Who pays the $200 million?   

A: The citizens of Peninsula Township.  It is a fiction that the Township Government is some independent body—the only funds the Township has are from taxes and assessments paid by the resident-taxpayers.  The Township would likely have to issue a special assessment for property owners to pay the $200 million—-no vote of the citizens would be required.

THE AVERAGE PROPERTY OWNER  WOULD BE LIABLE FOR $ 60,000!   Some large property owners will be liable for Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars !


6. Q: I am a property owner on OMP—Can I figure out what my part of the $200 Million Damages claim is?

A: YES —It is easy with 2 clicks of your mouse. Just go to the Tab ” Owner Financial Exposure/Calculator” and follow the instructions.  Use of the calculator is FREE.

  • Enter in the “Taxable Value” of your property in the box provided.
  • Software has been prepared to handle the rest of the calculation. 
  • If you do not know the “taxable value” of your property, CLICK HERE to find it.

Here is an example for a Resident who owns a house built in 2013.

LOGIC—- to determine each Property Parcel’s portion of the $200 million of alleged WOMP Damages

  1. Taxable value of all parcels in Peninsula Township— $943,701,715
  2. Parcel A’s Taxable value — $597,580
  3. divide #2 by # 1= Percentage of all Taxable Value represented by Parcel A
  4. Multiply $200 million by #3
  5. Result is Cash the Owner of parcel A pays to WOMP


As Applied…..

597,580 divided by 943,701,715 = .00063%
$200,000,000  x .00063% =  $126,646

This approach to figure out out Residents’ Damages liability has been approved by the Township Treasurer.  


Q 8: Can you tell us more about the people behind Friends of Old Mission Peninsula?

A 8:  We are your Neighbors. 

We have over 400 years of property-ownership in/paying taxes to Peninsula Township, dating back to 1890.

We also have decades of giving and serving others—with our time, our talents, our treasure — in a variety of ways.  Friends’ leadership has served others through volunteer activities and participation on numerous local boards and committees, including Old Mission Peninsula School, Old Mission Peninsula School Education Foundation,  PDR Committee, Twp. Planning Commission,  Twp. Master Plan Steering Committee, Twp. Precinct Elections, Twp. Non-motorized Working Group, Peninsula Community Library, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Grand Traverse Economic Development Corporation.

We are a new, start-up Michigan non-profit corporation. [Id. No. 8031262 98]   You can view our Articles of Incorporation at   Our incorporators are Dennis Arouca, Debbie Crowe, and Mary (Monnie) Peters.   Additional Board members include Paul Minorini and Todd Wilson.  All incorporators’ and board members’ families own property in/pay taxes to Peninsula Township.

Friends is an “Open Shop”.  There are no dues.  We invite—and welcome—-others to join us.  Please  stop us when you see us around town, or Contact Us by filling out the form at  and someone will get back to you promptly. 

You can learn more about us at


Q 9: Does Friends have preferred solutions to the dispute with the Wineries? 

A 9:  We believe the following would advance the debate in a more civil way, and achieve a new improved BALANCE among land uses on OMP—-without running up huge attorneys fees.

  1. Wineries disclose to the public all the information behind its asserted $200 million damages claim.
  2. Wineries withdraw/dismiss their lawsuit “with prejudice”. “With prejudice” is how attorneys phrase a withdrawal/dismissal of a case and agree it cannot be refiled.
  3. Put efforts to increase commercialization of Peninsula Township where they belong—and where they have been for decades—- in the hands of the citizens through the zoning provisions under state law and Township ordinances. Judicial review of zoning decisions is always available.  [ The wineries know this, but chose instead a federal court action to blow the system up by having prior zoning decisions (many of which they agreed to)  declared “unconstitutional”. ]    
  4. If local ordinances need to be updated/refreshed, do it
  • in a accelerated way
  • with the assistance of experienced alternative dispute professionals familiar with zoning and other land use matters.  (This approach is widely used in business.)
  • with any new rules to be subject to citizen review and approval
  1. Wineries disclose their financial results for the last 5 years.

The current system has worked for over 40 years with excellent results for the wineries—-they have enjoyed consistent expansion of commercialization rights, and to date — to the best of our knowledge—no wineries have claimed they are struggling financially and therefore need to do away with zoning rules and processes.  We all benefit from and want successful businesses on OMP, but we also want balance among land uses that a zoning system brings to the community.     


Q 10.  One commentator suggests that somehow “control”  of the Peninsula has been lost— needs to be “taken back”?  Any comments?

A 10:  Provocative tag line but not grounded in fact. 

We all know that in our democratic system, federal and state laws leave local decisions about zoning and land use largely in the hands of local people, who make decisions about the desired balance of land uses in public forums, after weighing the facts and applicable laws.  This system has allowed the wineries to expand and prosper.

We all know that a supermajority of area residents expressed their opinion in the 2020 survey that winery expansion should be moderated.   Large scale commercialization of OMP land (e.g., event centers) is the opposite of moderation.

We all learned at an early age that not every decision in life goes our way, and when that happens, the appropriate responses are not to ignore majority opinion, and not to shout “the referee is corrupt”.


Q. 11: Are the Friends part of Protect the Peninsula (PTP)?

A.  11: No.  We are aligned with PTP on WOMP matters, but we are separate organizations. Friends compliments PTP for updating its website to make it easier for citizens to follow the many court pleadings. 


Q. 12: PTP has a calculator on its web site. It refers to a potential damage recovery of $130 million “at the low end”.   Why are Friends using $200 million? 

A.12   The $200 million damage claim came from WOMP, in its court papers.  Friends—all citizens really—would like to see the detail behind it, but WOMP got the judge to block public release of that detail. 

WOMP attorneys know how to communicate when they want to, and know how to file pleadings in court.    In a court proceeding, you file a “Dismissal  with Prejudice”, meaning the case is over and you cannot refile your case.      Until WOMP attorneys file a Dismissal With Prejudice—they have not backed off their $200 million demand.


Q. 13:  Are the Friends angry with the Peninsula Township leaders ? 

A 13.  Friends understands that this winery dispute is a complicated area,  and the Federal Judge and Magistrate court orders have made it extra difficult for Township leaders to do their jobs, which includes EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION with the citizens.  We acknowledge that it is hard for Township leaders to effectively communicate if a court order—-sought by the wineries— tells you NOT to communicate.  


Q. 14:   How are Friends funded?

A. 14: Friends are citizen volunteers donating our own time and money to inform our friends,  neighbors and others of the wineries’ demands and the potential consequences of the litigation.   Donations will be possible via the website soon – our programmers are volunteers too.


Q. 15:  It has been reported that one goal of the WOMP group is more freedom to add and expand commercial activities in Agriculture-zoned land, which is not currently allowed.  Some  say this could adversely affect the entire community.    How do Friends feel about that?

A.15:   Friends support the Township and PTP defense to WOMP’s claims.   First, Zoning has been with us since the time of the Romans, and declared legal by the US Supreme Court in the 19th Century.     When you buy land zoned in a certain way, you make a conscious decision to accept the zoning, which INCLUDES processes to get exceptions, expansions, etc

History shows the WOMP group members used the processes within the zoning law to expand their rights over 40 years.   (In fact, Friends is informed that at least two individual members of WOMP helped shape those zoning laws.) Now—their hunger for more seems to want to blow up the established zoning code. 

Check out the Peninsula Township Summer 2023 Newsletter for helpful background here.  Available on-line.

To the best of our knowledge, no winery is claiming it is losing money or failing financially.   Therefore, Friends believes there is no good reason for our society to blow up a zoning system that —while imperfect— largely works. 


Q. 16:  If that is correct, why did WOMP file this lawsuit?

A 16   In the “How We Got Here” section of the Website,  you see discussion of a Citizen Survey as part of updating the Township’s Master Plan under Michigan law.  A supermajority of responders to that survey said they wanted to Moderate Winery Expansion.    A few weeks later the WOMP lawsuit was filed.   Citizens can draw their own conclusions.


Q.17  Is it true that non-Grape growers on OMP have aligned themselves with WOMP?

A.17:  Friends are not aware of any such alliance.  Society is well aware how hard it is to succeed in Agriculture. OMP growers are not unique in that respect. Friends supports exploration of ways for farmers to add revenue streams.  Today some already grow grapes and sell them to wineries.  Others move away from cherries and try other crops.  Agriculture Tourism activities are a well developed way for farmers to augment revenue streams.    Friends support more formal dialogue and action on how citizens can help all farmers succeed—-without blowing up the zoning rules.  After all, OMP citizens are experienced in such matters.  Citizens on OMP have embraced extra taxes for more than 30 years -with 3 separate voting approvals-through a Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program, raising $60 million to help farmers keep land in agriculture. 

Opinion: The Data Shows, PDR Works