Township Shutting Down Kalamazoo Area Farm In Controversial Move
There seems to be some big controversy after the Soil Friends Hard Cider CO in Galesburg received a notice from the township of Comstock informing them that all operations would be shut down. Over the weekend they made a Facebook post that shows the ordinance, telling them to close:
Unfortunately, we have just a few days left until we can’t do any business on our farm! It started off with issues about the barn which they won’t sell us any permits to make the changes they say we need to make, now it’s the entire property! We have lots of Christmas trees and hard cider to sell in the meantime. It appears that we have gone back in time and what we were once permitted for no longer means anything! The township verbally told us we have grown since we were approved. The votes were 7-0 in favor of us in 2017, what changed other than the legal growth of our business?
Why Are They Forced To Close?
According to one commenter, he received a response from Jodi Stefforia, Comstock Township Community Development's Director:
Current use of the large barn violates many codes and ordinances as it was built as an agricultural building and therefore no permits were necessary and no inspections performed. Additionally, a building permit cannot be issued until the Planning Commission has granted special exception use and site plan approval. Application for this approval has not been made by the owner.
There seems to be a lot of heat surrounding this closure and the owners are doing everything they can to fight this closure.
A request was put into the township back in April to expand the event that could be held on the property, which included parties and weddings. The owners received a response from Stefforia which included information on what was needed to get the permit passed to do so, but it would seem that's no longer an option, as their entire business has been forced to close during peak season.