A new agritourism ordinance for Putnam Township is heading to a public hearing. The Putnam Township Planning Commission has been working with Township Planning Consultant Brian Borden since spring of last year on the new ordinance.

Its genesis stems from requests from local resident Chris Schell who wants to turn his property into a family destination. He owns 250 acres just north and east of Pinckney High School. Schell says that he has hopes this year of having a “U-Pick” fruit orchard and pumpkin patch up and running, along with a haunted forest in the fall. Later down the road he envisions a wedding barn, Christmas tree farm, market, bakery, and possibly a winery. These activities would become possible from the ordinance by way of special land use approval.

The Planning Commission reviewed a revised draft of the ordinance on Wednesday. Chairman Michael Porath said the “Discretion” section is important, as it can help prevent others coming in and taking advantage of the township. While Schell is the reason the township is considering the ordinance, it is not for him alone. The Discretion section gives the Township Board of Trustees final say on modifying or waiving requirements from the ordinance with the help of a recommendation from the Planning Commission.

The other major addition to the proposed ordinance was setting the minimum lot area to qualify at 20 acres. Planning Commissioners had no more modifications to make at the meeting, and voted unanimously to send it before residents at a public hearing. That public hearing will take place during their next meeting on April 10th. (MK)