2017-05-25 / Views

The essential parts remain, with change

It’s New Year’s Eve for Leelanau County, but you won’t find much for big parties.

“Summer people” are busy opening cabins, local workers are strained to prepare for the holiday weekend and the busy army of retirees is readying for company that traditionally arrive on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.

Happy New Year!

So what’s new for 2017? Plenty and nothing. Following are some items that caught our attention:

 The “local foods” movement has turned into an explosion. Leelanau was ahead of the curve on this one. Now Farmers Markets are scheduled nearly every day of the week this summer and local restaurants have teamed up with local farmers to put locally grown delicacies on their menu. Big grocery chains are pushing local, something our grocers have been doing all their lives.

One thing, though, hasn’t changed, so you’ll still find old tool boxes with slits in the top for bills at fruit and veggie stands along quiet county roads.

In a concession to changing times, most of the tool boxes are now nailed down.

 The fast growth of the weekly house rental business is causing deep divisions in some neighborhoods and communities. A year ago there was controversy with only some emotion. Now people who benefit from short-term rentals and those who live next door are finding themselves at odds more often.

There’s no perfect or easy answer. In a county without a Motel 6 or Comfort Inn, owner rentals are essential for tourism. But they can disrupt a neighborhood.

The State Legislature is considering usurping local authority to regulate short-term rentals. No matter what the outcome — more regulation or not — it’s up to landlords to oversee their renters.

 Put Sugar Loaf and “affordable housing” in the ditto file. Much discussion, no change. Same for the view from Overlook No. 9, the hike to Cathead Bay, and the feeling of sand between toes on Lake Michigan beaches. Discussions remain decidedly more positive on the latter fronts.

 Leelanau will be busier than ever this summer as the premise of a secret hideaway at the end of the road yields to endless stories giving away the secret.

Complicating the busyness, traffic will be slowed and, at times, stopped on a major traffic artery with lanes closed on M-22 between Leland and Glen Arbor for much-needed repairs and widening.

We’re happy to report that despite having more participants, the essential parts to Leelanau remain intact. Schaubs still dominate the phone book, and family farms still dominate the hillsides. Businesses are locally owned.

And it’s a fun place to live, work and play.

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