Ravenna Township

3770 Blackmer Road, Ravenna Michigan 49451

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February 19, 2018


A Public Hearing and Meeting of the Ravenna Township Planning Commission was called to order on Monday, February 19, 2018 at 7:00 by Vice Chairman Roger Peacock.  Members present were:  Roger Peacock, Mike Gillard, Stan Wagner and Bruce Yonker.  Also present were Zoning Administrator Anne Lewis, Recording Secretary Penny Sherman and 12 guests.  Planning Commission Chairman Jack Link was absent.  Pledge to the flag was said.

Motion by Peacock to open the Public Hearing at 7:05 p.m., support by Wagner. Motion carried.

Purpose of the Public Hearing was to present and discuss two Special Use Applications (one from Jacob Bonthuis and one from Kurt Dufendach) that have been submitted.

  1. Jacob Bonthuis to open a distillery.

The property is owned by Averill Properties LLC and located at 2600 S. Slocum Road, Ravenna, MI 49451. Jacob Bonthuis has applied for and been approved for the federal permits that are needed to open a distillery and that he has been approved to hold up to 2000 gallons but only has a 50 gallon vat at this time.  Approval of the Special Use Application that has been applied for is needed to move forward to get state approval to sell the liquor to three state approved vendors.  Many questions were asked and answered including a resident inquiring as to rather the process has begun to make the liquor.  Bonthuis stated that he began making the liquor in late December.  A resident asked what this property is zoned and it was answered that this property is zoned Industrial.  Bonthuis stated that the excess corn waste will be spread in the 5-10 acre field behind the building that is being used to make the alcohol.

  1. Kurt Dufendach to open a fertilizing distributorship.

The property in question is owned by Walter Grzybowski and located at 13050 Ellis Road, Conklin, MI 49403. Kurt Dufendach has worked in commercial agriculture for 11 years.  Last year he started his own company and feels this building and location would be perfect for his business.  It is a very seasonal building with Spring being the busiest time of the year.  Many questions were asked and answered including how this business could be open in this location because it is not zoned Commercial and it was answered that this business could be placed in this location because it is zoned A-1 and this is an agricultural business.  Dufendach stated that the State would be inspecting the business on a regular basis.  A resident also inquired as to if there were weight restrictions on this road.

Public Hearing closed at 7:16 p.m.

Vice Chairman Peacock reopened the meeting.

Motion by Wagner, support by Yonker to approve the minutes from the Special Meeting that was held on October 30, 2017. Motion carried.  Motion by Yonker, support by Wagner to approve the Agenda.  Motion carried.

Citizen’s Comments:  Resident asked if these applications were approved at the Public Hearing the answer was no that no decisions were made during the Public Hearing.  A resident asked if residents that live with 300 feet of the fertilizer dealership were notified of this Public Hearing and they were notified.

New Business: A Special Use Application from Jacob Bonthuis to open a distillery was discussed. The Planning Commission asked if the liquor would be sold to individuals and Bonthuis stated that it would only be sold to the three state approved vendors.  Fire safety was discussed and it was stated that he has a steel door in place in the facility.  The safety of using unsupervised propane was discussed and Bonthuis stated that the only time propane is being used is when he is on the premises.  Motion by Gillard, support by Wagner that Bonthuis cease production of the liquor at this time and table the application until the site is visited and more information is obtained.  Motion carried.  A Special Use Application from Kurt Dufendach to open a fertilizing distributorship was discussed.  The Planning Commission asked what diking system would be in place and Dufendach explained the system to the PC.  It was stated that the Fire Department would need to tour the facility when completed.  Motion by Yonker, support by Gillard to approve the Special Use Application by Kurt Dufendach to open a fertilizer distributorship as long as all State regulations were met.  Motion carried.

Unfinished Business: None

Public Comments: None

Next meeting date will be March 19, 2018

Motion by Wagner, support by Yonker to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Penny Sherman, Ravenna Township Clerk

.These minutes are considered proposed until approved at the next board meeting.