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Posted on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:35 a.m.

Christmas canceled at Three Cedars Farm near Northville

By Paula Gardner

The owners of Three Cedars Farm near Northville have been told they must cease their commercial operation —including their Christmas-themed events - due to zoning concerns.

three cedars.jpg

From Facebook

The business, located at 6 Mile and Curtis Roads in Salem Township in northeast Washtenaw County, has been a popular family destination for fall activities like pumpkin picking and a corn maze. For nine years, according to a letter from owners Gary and Sherry Whittaker, it's also had a "Country Christmas" with Santa Claus.

However, the Whittakers received a letter dated Sept. 9 from township officials telling them they could not operate the commercial enterprise due to agricultural zoning restrictions.

They posted a letter to customers on their webpage. It includes a copy of the township's order and this:

"During the nine years we have operated Three Cedars Farm, we have continuously allowed inspections from various local, county and state agencies. We have worked with other professionals including our insurance agent to create a safe, family friendly operation. Our safety record supports this claim. In our years of operation we have called 9-1-1 just once, for a visitor having a health issue.

"We have been forced, due to the actions of Salem Township officials to hire an attorney to protect our right to continue to operate Three Cedars Farm, without harassment. Unfortunately, the legal process is a slow one that requires our involvement. The time and energy that we must invest in fighting to preserve our right to operate Three Cedars Farm has prevented us from being able to prepare the farm for Christmas. "

WDIV-TV talked to the couple's attorney for a recent report, which said the station could not reach Salem Township officials. See that video.

This story will be updated.



Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

I guess that they can put in a smelly garbage dump and be ok with that but have a nice place for the kids to go is not ok.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:27 p.m.

Interesting how some writers "know" the income of Three Cedars and so much about the Whittakers private business. They are probably wrong about those just like they are about the facts. The courts have already ruled that corn mazes, u-pick patches and hay rides all are considered legitimate farming activities. The things sold fit right into agri-tourism guidelines. There are not 30 bonfire spots. No farmer pays property tax based on the income of the farm. Taxes are paid on the taxable value. Michigan allows farms to change hands and if the new owner continues to farm the taxable value is not uncapped. The leaders of Michigan understand the importance agriculture plays in its economy. MIchigan grows 200 unique agricultural products. If Three Cedars is as financially successful as people here have written then they pay income tax on the profits. It sure sounds like some the writers are just jealous of a family that has created such a successful business. And to the writer who likes to quote the Bible, you should read Matthew 7:3 and 4, bet it applies.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

No, I'm not overtly religious but since it has been brought up in several venues how Three Cedars donates a portion of their profits to a charity, let's get this clear. WHITTAKERS NEED TO COMPLY WITH TOWNSHIP ZONING ORDINANCES EVEN IF IT MEANS PAYING THEIR APPROPRIATE SHARE OF TAXES. Romans 13:1, clarifies to Christians the concept of paying taxes: "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Further it was clarified in Romans 13:5-7: Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor


Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 2:20 a.m.

The issue here isn't whether or not we all love Christmas, our families all love visiting Three Cedars, or whether or not the Whittakers are "really nice folks". I'm sorry, but pumking patches, hay rides, a big huge store selling candles, and maize tours isn't "farming", nor should it be considered agricultural use. To those asking why this wasn't an issue or addressed "9 years ago"... read their own information provided on the Three Cedars website. It wasn't a large operation in the beginning. But as many of us know that have been there, you can walk out of that place paying a good $75/day for a family of 3. Now times that by the 400-600 cars that are in/out of there a day. You're looking at profit of $1MM+/month, if you assume overhead of 300K. So should an 'operation' with those profit margins get tax breaks by trying to slide in under farming laws? Now when Obama come on the air and says he's going to tax the 'rich', average citizens are fine with it. What's the difference here? Why does the guy who owns the $80K house, on 1/2 acre in Salem, have to pay more in property taxes than a $1MM+/month operation? Take the emotion out of the equation and look at it from the logistical side. If you want to bring in more traffic using roads paid for by the taxpayers, if you want to build gigantic barns and create a spectacle, be prepared for the microscope. And quite frankly - follow zoning laws, admit you're a commercial operation, and pay your taxes like the rest of us. The Whittaker family isn't any more special than the rest of us, and laws are laws. If you were the house next to them, or across the street from them, and this huge operation all popped up over the course of 9 years, how would you feel? When you were incapable of pulling out of your own driveway, can hear kids screaming and yelling until 10pm EVERY night, would this be acceptable to you? Or would you be grateful for the fact that a zoning ordinace was in plac


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

What about the garbage dump. Would you want that across the street from you?


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:47 a.m.

ok lets try this again. itsaboutyme they have to abide to the law. the old days of the good old boy buddy buddy system has to stop. kudo's to the new board. they were not there 9 years ago to stop this and do it the right way. im glad they have to abide by the law.

June Schiller

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:24 a.m.

Domino's Farms had to stop Christmas years ago due to traffic problems, etc.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 11:21 p.m.

Looks like this farm has been around longer than it's snotty neighbors! Hope the township has big pockets with money to burn! Maybe he should start a dump there?

hut hut

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 10:35 p.m.

A petition to "Save Christmas"? Christmas tree tax? Ridiculous and factually debunked. A bunch of people have been drinking the Fox News kool aid.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 8:47 p.m.

What is the difference in licensing, zoning and taxation between the Three Cedars Farm operation and the &quot;farm&quot; businesses listed below? Can research and provide this information? It seems that they do a similar business as Three Cedars - capitalize on the public's enjoyment of the farm setting. Maybe Three Cedars can take the same approach as these folks who are operating a non-farm business on a farm in a residential/agricultural area. Different townships, but all in the general area. Wiard's <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Misty Farms <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Jenny's <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Heavenly Scent <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Murray Lake in Superior Twp. that is a very large farm operation and sells memberships to swim in the lake on the farm property (no website found).


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:59 p.m.

What's their zoning?


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

There are faults on both sides of this: First being with Salem Township for being over zealous enforcing the rules on a place that really isn't bothering anybody. On the other hand, if the farm wanted to do more than agriculture, they probably should have gotten a zoning variance for their property. Thats what everybody else does that wants to do something with their properly that goes against the zoning regulations.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

I guess we don't know that &quot;it's not bothering anybody&quot; really. I have not been there but maybe the extra traffic is bothering the people who live around there.

Julia Herbst

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 6:47 p.m.

Visited this farm for Halloween this fall, It was the first time I had ever been there, My dad an I stopped by randomly. I absolutely loved it. The people there were some of the friendliest Ive ever met, the little store was adorable with wonderful hand made decorations and old time candies. The farm was beautiful, and We couldnt wait to come out and enjoy it for Christmas after seeing all of the things they do. I was really surprised to see Three Cedars as the name on this article, seeing as we have their flier on our refridgerator so we wouldnt forget about going there for Christmas. I sure hope they can figure this out before winter sets in, I was really looking forward to going there, and taking my 3 year old neice.

Shawn Planko

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

Started this petition late last night, looking for any more details that I might be missing. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

hut hut

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

Christmas does not need saving. The holiday is supposed to be about the birth and life of Jesus. If you're a believer, believe, no one can take that away. Using Christmas as a political &quot;card&quot; (like the &quot;race card&quot;) is not only in bad taste, it will hurt your &quot;cause&quot;.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 8:52 p.m.

What are you expecting from Representative Rutledge or Commissioner Smith? This appears to be a local Township issue, not a State or County matter.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

All this time, I thought Ebenezer Scrooge ran a counting house, not Salem Township.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.

Scrooge ran a successful business, didn't he?


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.

I have started a Save Three Cedars Farm FaceBook page. Please go to the link and like the page today. If anyone that is very active would like to take over the main admin duties please send me a message on FB. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

average joe

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:44 p.m.

I didn't think the article stated that they were forbidden to ever operate again, did it?

Joe Minock

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

After reading a more extensive article here: <a href="," rel='nofollow'>,</a> it sounds like the root issue is taxation relative to the current zoning. Townships are getting crushed with falling home and property taxable values, so they'll do whatever they can to improve revenue. With the Three Cedars Farm being the success that it has been, why not try to dip deeper into their till. Agriculture taxation rates are much different from commercial rates. Since the farm has been allowed to operate for the past 9 years under agricultural zoning, along with the supporting claim of &quot;agricultural tourism&quot;, they may have a compelling argument for continuing to operate as they have. If of course, the township's actions dont put them out of business altogether. If the economy was humming along like it was 9 years ago, this wouldn't be an issue. But, since township level tax revenue is way down, they're gonna &quot;put the screws to everyone they can to improve revenue. While I dont like it (at all), I can see why the township is pursuing action. In the end, I hope that the farm gets to operate as they have been for the last 9 years.

Ron Granger

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

Farms have all sorts of special protections and advantages that come from federal, state and local sources. As a result, they can do all sorts of stuff that other businesses cannot. They also get to operate in &quot;green belt&quot; areas that prohibit commercial businesses. Those are just some of the many reasons why farms cannot willy-nilly become commercial operations with no regard to the local laws that apply to everyone else. If you let one business violate your laws, then you create a situation where other businesses can violate the laws. You cannot give one business preferential treatment because it creates the risk of legal challenges. It undermines everything.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:37 p.m.

I live near there and drive by all the time. It's definitely a commercial business and not even remotely agricultural (don't let the big red barn fool you, city dwellers). Why don't the owners just apply for rezoning as the township suggested? Why should they get to circumvent the rules?


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:09 p.m.

Of course, this has nothing to do about 'safety' or 'traffic' concerns. As in my case in Livingston County, the townships are searching for ways to shore up sagging tax revenue, and changing farm zoning to residential with the click of a mouse in a tax spreadsheet is a swift and easy way to do this. By stripping the farm of its commercial outlet, farm income is shut off and the squeeze on the owners to sell out is increased dramatically. I'd look for an anonymouse 'developer' who has approached Salem Township about the possibility of acquiring the property for future use and now, when property values (including farms) are depressed, is the time to get it cheap. As for 'building code' inspections, incidental farm buildings or structures require no permits or inspections by Michigan State law (another loss of income for the township). In putting a new furnace in my barn, the township was denied $400 for a mechanical permit. For what? Last time the inspector was at my house (the Farm residence is subject to permits and inspections), he didn't even come in. He handed me the sticker and drove off. If I were this family, I would go out and get 2000 hogs and start up a swine processing operation. Its livestock, baby, and this is explicitly excluded from interference by governments by the Right to Farm Act (1999 and amended 2004). Since this Farm has been in the commercial Christmas business for 9 years, it will depend in the end on when Salem Township enacted changes to their Planning Zones. If it was less than 9 years ago, I predict a large change in a certain farm's income for next year. I'd bet on the 'Secret Santa' Developer. Better tax money from Lowes, Home Depot, Meijers, Walmart or a hospital complex. If this familiy has to move, I hope they sell it to a religious group. No taxes on a church, church school, church bingo hall, church baseball fields, church community hall or church parking lots. Meanwhile, the smell of pigs in the morning. Aaahh

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:52 p.m.

&quot;Of course, this has nothing to do about 'safety' or 'traffic' concerns.&quot; I suspect you are correct. It is about the ability to enforce zoning laws throughout the township. Permitting this to continue will undermine the township's ability to enforce its zoning ordinances elsewhere. And as for the question of &quot;why now?&quot;: Because, when this started, it WAS a small operation akin to a roadside stand that posed no problems. But it has gradually grown larger and larger to the point that it has become a seasonal strip mall. And, as epegnar's and ignatz's posts above make clear (to anyone who bothers to read them), this is a situation easily solved by the owners if they were to bother to try. So rather than questioning the township's motives, which seem clear to those of us not in conspiracyland, one ought wonder why the property owners have not done what they ought to have done. GN&amp;GL


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

I read the article linked by justcurious (thanks). In it, the Township Supervisor, Bob Heyl, is quoted, "It's telling him he has to comply with the ordinance," Heyl said. "I don't want to shut him down. I don't think he has to shut down, but we have to make sure it's safe for the public. As long as he works with us, he can stay open." However, the owner, Gary Whittaker, chose to close anyway. This sounds like an interesting cage match going on by one of the parties who suspects a reasons other than an altruistic ones. I wonder what would have happened if Mr. Whittaker applied for a change in the zoning. Who's bluff would be called, then?


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:04 p.m.

This story is really unclear. The letter that Cedar Farms posted on their site, the one they got from the Township, is dated SEPTEMBER 9TH. It has a pretty clear reason -- they were hosting a dance in a barn that night, and the barn had not been inspected for occupancy. In general, the commercial activities there didn't match with the zoning of the property, which is apparently Agricultural Residential. The timing seems pretty obnoxious, but still it was over 2 months ago. Why is this news now? Also, the letter doesn't say &quot;you can't do business on your farm,&quot; it says &quot;you have to get your place inspected and get some permits&quot;. I don't think we've gotten the full story here.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

Here's a question.... Why have they been able to operate for nine years without any problem or hassle? Why is their operation JUST NOW a problem?


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

@Rod Johnson Wrong farm. You're thinking of Jenny's Farm Stand in Dexter. Totally different scenario. Three cedars has 1 911 call in their 9 years of operations which was for an asthma attack

Rod Johnson

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

Can you say &quot;you woman permanently disabled in hayride accident&quot;?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

So, in other words, once someone is allowed to break the law, they are forever allowed to break the law? How's that working for Penn State University right now? Good Night and Good Luck

Chandelle German

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:43 p.m.

Very sad that they are shutting down a local business here in Michigan....I am so upset for that family and the people who have for years gone there. Pathetic Salem Township...

hut hut

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.

Purposely inflammatory headline with no basis in fact. Christmas cannot be cancelled anywhere.

Rod Johnson

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

&quot;The spirit of Christmas can be cancelled by those who kill that spirit.&quot; Please provide evidence of this. Outside of Thomas Kincade paintings and Hallmark specials, who buys into stuff like this?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

&quot;The spirit of Christmas can be cancelled by those who kill that spirit.&quot; Gee. And I thought the Spirit of Christmas resided in the hearts of individuals, no matter what else others might do. Silly me. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

The spirit of Christmas can be cancelled by those who kill that spirit.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.

Yeah, the zoning Nazis are at it again. So wait until someone wants to build a strip mall next to your home. Or put in a gas station. Or a MacDonald's. Then you'll want the zoning Nazis to enforce the zoning ordinances, only they won't be able to do so, because they will not have enforced them elsewhere (e.g., someone running a commercial business on land zoned for agriculture). Simple solution to this: apply for zoning change or for an exception to the zoning. Or not. As for the &quot;property rights&quot; nonsense posted by some: the purpose of zoning is PRECISELY to protect the property one owns by not allowing it to lose value due to inappropriate development that might happen nearby. As for this being part of the fictional &quot;War on Christmas&quot;: LOLOLOLOL. Time to stop mainlining Faux Noise. Good Night and Good Luck

average joe

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:39 p.m.

Can't believe I am saying this, but Ed is absolutely correct...

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:56 p.m.

@obvious: Well, then, you apparently don't mind watching your property value collapse. Most of us who own our homes feel otherwise. GN&amp;GL

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.

This is not a small roadside farm stand. It is a business that, on weekends, brings hundreds of customers and dozens of car to the property. It becomes, in effect, a seasonal strip mall. Seems pretty clear to me that such does not fit into the agricultural zoning designation. GN&amp;GL


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

actually i really don't have a problem with a strip mall, gas station, or &quot;MacDonald's&quot; going in next to my house...actually the first and the third would be nice as i would be able to save money on the second by walking :)


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

I didn't know a tree farm/nursery/farm/corn maze was a large corporate shopping center....


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:34 p.m.


Tom Teague

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

I think it's time for a common-sense amendment to Michigan's Right to Farm Act that allowing farmers to run these kinds of businesses, as long as there is reasonable oversight to ensure the safety of food products that are sold and the physical safety of employees and visitors.

hut hut

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

Only in Salem township.

Rod Johnson

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 10:50 p.m.

Ah! Got it. Good one.

hut hut

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 10:27 p.m.

@Rod. This expression is usually attributed to Ann Arbor by those few posters who disagree with anything that has to do with A2. I meant no disrespect and believe that the nearby rural areas are an asset to Ann Arbor.

Rod Johnson

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:34 p.m.

Really? Nothing like this could happen in, say, Webster Township?

hut hut

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.

Go ahead with the planned decorations and celebrations. Salem township officials may, or may not, write a court citation. Your attorney will explain to the judge that it complies with the zoning regulations. You get a ton of publicity. Play it for all it's worth. The judge either dismisses the charge or greatly reduces the fine. Now the discussion has begun in Salem township to either get the zoning laws changed to reflect reality and/or you get rid of the stupid township officials.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

This is suspicious. The farm operates for nine years and then on their opening day of the season, they get told they are not in compliance with zoning laws? I think someone with influence on the township board either has a grudge against the farm or, more likely, they want the farm shut down because it hurts their own business interests. Or maybe Salem Township has just hired an inexperienced and overly zealous lawyer.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

A more complete story with township comments is here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> .

Rod Johnson

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 8:41 p.m.

DonBee--you're right, the Jenny's link was pure speculation on my part. What is clear to me, though, is that this is not a case of the township suddenly deciding to shut down the farm, and definitely not a war on Christmas. If the township is trying to enforce its own ordinances, and the cost of compliance is reasonable (no information on this), then it doesn't really seem like the Township is being the bad guy here. At least not from the meager information we have. My real point is that wrote this story without doing much to explore both sides.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 12:43 p.m.

The key sentence in the above linked article: &quot;The business operation has grown since that time 'where it is beyond agricultural and into commercial,' Heyl said. Whittaker's own description of what has happened over the past nine years supports that conclusion. Don't ya jes hate it when people actually read the links provided and apply logic to the sitchyashun? Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 11:06 a.m.

Mr. Johnson - I read the article carefully. What I read, was that everytime the township had an issue, the owners of the farm complied with inspections. That they in 2004, handled all the fire department issues, and have hosted annual reviews by various organizations. I did not read a story of contention between the people running the farm and the township, like there seems to be at Jenny's.

Rod Johnson

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:33 p.m.

Thank you. So there's another side, which, if would do some actual reporting rather than just saying WDIV couldn't get hold of township officials, might have made for a better story. It turns out there are safety concerns. Whether they're warranted or not, it may be that the recent events at Jenny's Farm Market have prompted officials to ask about safety. Trying to get both sides might have made this a less slanted story, but instead it's OMG WAR ON CHRISTMAS, I mean, &quot;Christmas canceled.&quot; Paula, I know you're working with limited resources and that's not your doing, but geez, this is a terrible story with a linkbait headline.

Linda Peck

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

Dreadful news! Now we know there is something wrong with this picture, don't we? Who stands to benefit from this? Certainly not the public.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

Just &quot;pull a Hoey&quot; and press on regardless. Badges? we don't need no stinkin' badges.

Michigan Man

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

I have no insight into this story at all - no inside information - 1st that I have heard about this - here is my guess - someone is pissed off about the word and/or message of Christmas? What else could it be? My hunch is that some extremist group got bent out of shape, over the use of the word Christmas, and, of course, could not influence public opinion to their side so they went the political route since the use of other tactics failed miserably.

Kara H

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:15 p.m.

Nice speculation and rabble rousing there. You're right, you have no insight or information.

hut hut

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

Please no silly &quot;Christianity under attack&quot; stuff. Fox News trot that out every year at this time and that's plenty for most folks. Especially if you know nothing about the parties involved.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

Oh boy, let's not go down THAT road. I've already seen some pretty nasty comments about that on another site.

Ron Granger

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

If it's a farm, stick to farming. We all know &quot;Santa&quot; won't be angry. Agricultural zoning is a special type of zoning. Typically with favorable taxation. Commercial zoning is completely different. With higher taxes. You don't get to just &quot;go commercial&quot; without all that entails. It isn't fair to those who comply with the zoning and other laws.

average joe

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:36 p.m.

Opinion- Other than the pumpkins &amp; corn maze, it doesn't appear that anything else that is sold there is produced on the farm, therefore, it is more of a commercial business than a 'working' farm.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

It's a farm related business - the zoning should not be in the way. Simply ridiculous.

Mush Room

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 1:51 p.m.

Yeah, let's repeal all zoning laws and let everyone do exactly what they want to do. Run a business next to my house, so what? Noise and lights, no problem. The extra traffic down my road, I welcome it. Reducing my property value, I welcome it. Hire illegals to pick the crops, no problem there either. Anything goes! Zoning laws are for communists. Down with regulations. Down with taxes. Me and my gun will take care of our own.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

I drive by there all of the time and let me tell you, there are times when the traffic is *insane*. The rural roads in the area just aren't designed to handle this kind of business.

Joe Minock

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

You make a compelling point, if in fact there are recorded grievances. However, none are noted. In this specific case, the farm has been running it's operation for 9 years. If there have been issues, why were they not addressed after year 1? Seems quite fishy that all of a sudden, the township brings zoning issues to light. I hope the Three Cedars Farm gets to put the screws to the Township on this one.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 2:39 p.m.

You know what, when people own a property, other than blight, they SHOULD be able to do with it as they choose. So either buy in a strictly residential area of a city or go inside and stop bothering people, or move to a planned subdivided community. Zoning has gone nuts! Dexter Township forbids landowners with less than an acre of building a fence, garden structure, or even a land mound without a zoning variance, which costs you about $400 for the variance meeting - the land control folks are simply over the line crazy. If people paid for the land, they should be able to use it - makes for perhaps an &quot;illegal taking&quot; case.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

You've got some good points there.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

Our freedoms and liberty continue to erode as government at all levels seek to control and shape our society as they want to see it. Wake up America! Perhaps we should occupy Three Cedar Farms this Christmas season as a show of support.

toothless wonder

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 1:33 p.m.

WOW! Everyone please take time to click on the 'letter to customers' Salem Twp has always had wild people that somehow got into office. They certainly ARE trying to put the screws to this farm. It is always decorated real nice and is something to see, has been worth taking a drive to go see how cool it looks this year. Maybe they won't even decorate the outside this year : (


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.

When you Google this beautiful place you see that it is extremely well kept, set on a large piece of property and is not in a congested area. I don't know why they have not been granted the zoning that is needed to continue their operation and I hope that Salem Township will step forward and explain their side of the issue.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 3:10 p.m.

I wrote this before I found the article where the township told their side of the story. The place is still beautiful but there is definitely more to the story than that.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

Absurd. And not one Salem Township official would talk to the media regarding their decision? Cowardly choice for sure. Shame on them. If what they did was correct, they should be speaking up. It is becoming increasingly difficult to make a living in this state unless you are part of the rich elite corporate world. Having lobbyists in Lansing helps.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 3:32 a.m.

Yeah. Why is it that those darn liberals write coherently and use facts and logic when they do so? How dare they!! GN&amp;GL


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:34 a.m.

Interesting how you hate the corporate elite rich, yet they've set this so called farm up as a cooperation and are elite rich. Guess you like some elite corporate rich and hate others for subjective reasons. Liberals, got to love um.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

That's note true. They just didn't talk to


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 12:53 p.m.

Again government and little minded township tyrants, let's strip away a legitimate means for honest hardworking people to make money and provide memorable moments for other people and their families. This is a prime example of why society has lost it's mind! I'm sure the township would have rather had them sell the farm to developers and grow houses. That would have &quot;fit&quot; in their zoning rules.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

Yes, let us make it harder for businesses to hire and operate in Michigan. Let us make sure the people have to leave the state. Thank you Salem Township for taking away something that my children enjoyed. To all of you in Salem Township - BAH HUMBUG!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 11:59 a.m.

&quot;The farm will not, but the people who found jobs there will.&quot; Yeah. The people who worked a part-time seasonal job are going to leave the state because of this. Or is it not a part-time seasonal job? Is this a full-time commercial operation whose continued operation outside of the zoning laws will make it difficult if not impossible for the township to enforce those laws elsewhere? Is this a full-time commercial operation that ought not have the special tax status that a farm has in this state? Dontcha jes hate it when ya apply logic to the sitchyashun? GN&amp;GL


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 11:03 a.m.

Mr. Shackelford - The farm will not, but the people who found jobs there will.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.

@rusty: There ya go, applyin' logic to the sitchyashun! Good Night and Good Luck

rusty shackelford

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

Not sure how a farm is going to plausibly leave the state.