2018-05-10 / Views

Perplexed by opposition to tractors along M-22

We’re frequently perplexed by the process and some times the outcome involved in local zoning, and we were so again when a local business sought to improve visibility of its wares in Bingham Township.

Pat Herman runs a tractor repair and sales operation in the agriculture district in the township, which makes sense. His biggest customers are farmers. He and his crew have a knack for figuring out why a tractor is running rough, and getting it back in the orchard.

Or they’re happy to sell a farmer a new rig, complete with implements.

Mr. Herman sought to widen his reach by displaying tractors — and possibly selling them — along M-22 next to Shady Lane Market, a business that is located on a lot zoned commercial.

The lot was zoned residential, though, and folks in the neighborhood showed up in droves — which in Leelanau means about 20, according to Zoning Administrator Steve Patmore — to complain.

The lot is located along M-22, next to a gas station and convenience store, and seems ideal for commercial use. Mr. Herman, by all accounts, runs a respectable business that is essential for local orchards and farms to succeed.

And everybody seems to be on board with the mission of helping local growers stay in business.

For his part, Mr. Herman withdrew his application after the state would not allow him a “curb cut” to enter the lot from M-22. Instead, access would have to come from a side street. Whether he would have received the zoning change is impossible to determine.

But his proposal seemed like something the community would have embraced.

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