VOTE YES AUGUST 3rd
Join us in saving The Mill and vote YES for our community and future generations to enjoy access to this rich history and beauty along the Crystal River.
TALK TO TURNER
Meet Turner Booth at the Glen Arbor Farmers Market every Tuesday in July to ask questions, get answers and learn more about the preservation of this historic landmark.
Support the Mill and vote YES on the August 3rd Glen Arbor Township Zoning Referendum
Glen Arbor Residents:
On February 16, 2021 a stretch of land adjacent to the old grist mill on M22 known as the Brammer Property was rezoned from residential to recreational. As a life-long summer resident and now permanent resident of Glen Arbor, I requested the rezoning in connection with efforts to restore, preserve, and reopen the old grist mill to the public. The rezoning request received a unanimous recommendation by the Glen Arbor Planning Commission (with one member abstaining) and was approved by a four to one vote of the Glen Arbor Township Board.
Since the rezoning approval, a group calling themselves Love Old Glen Arbor (LOGA) has mounted an effort to overturn the Township Board’s thoughtful decision by referendum vote scheduled for August 3. Last week, LOGA distributed an unsigned letter to Glen Arbor residents (postmarked from Grand Rapids) outlining a few reasons to “vote no” on the referendum and to overturn the Township Board’s decision. LOGA’s reasons for voting no on August 3 are misleading and misguided. I have restated their arguments below and provided my response:
LOGA: The reason the township board tried to change the Brammer property to recreational was purportedly that the mill property just to its northeast was zoned recreational. However, township documents and the zoning map show the mill to be zoned residential and have shown that for many years.
MILL RESPONSE: The Township Board approved the rezoning of the Brammer Property to recreational following an extensive review and analysis of historic property records, zoning ordinances, zoning maps, and Planning Commission and Township Board minutes. The months-long review and analysis was carried out by the Township’s zoning administrator, Township elected officials, and Township attorneys in response to certain discrepancies identified by the Leelanau County Planning Commission. The Township’s review ultimately resulted in the confirmation of the Mill Property’s longstanding recreational zoning. That process further supported the rezoning of the Brammer Property to recreational.
LOGA: We are not opposed to the restoration of the mill but rather welcome it. That restoration must be done, though, within the guidelines of the current zoning, the Glen Arbor township master plan, and with respect for the surrounding area.
MILL RESPONSE: The restoration of the Mill is designed to be a sustainable preservation project. In other words, the Mill Property and the Brammer Property are organized to complement one another and produce income necessary for the ongoing maintenance and preservation of the Mill for generations to come. Our plan is to save the Mill and the historical equipment it houses, to establish a museum, café, and meeting space for Glen Arbor residents and visitors, and, in time, to establish a small, tasteful inn and restaurant to accommodate residents and guests of Glen Arbor.
Plans for the Mill and the Brammer Property are consistent with the Glen Arbor Master Plan, which specifically provides that “the Township should continue to encourage the preservation of historic buildings and sites.”
LOGA: Current plans for the restoration of the mill, which would be facilitated by recreational zoning of the Brammer property, could lead to increased traffic and congestion on the northeast end of Glen Arbor, changing its character forever, and environmental damage to the Crystal River.
MILL RESPONSE: Preservation plans for the Mill are specifically designed to minimize impact to the Crystal River. The plans for the Mill and the Brammer Property have been limited to the extent that only a minor permit from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is required for the repair of the existing Mill dock. We are taking utmost care to ensure that the Crystal River is not affected by our preservation efforts.
Increased traffic and congestion are a reality of a growing tourist destination. Plans for the Mill contemplate adequate parking to accommodate Mill visitors. My mission is to revive this historic structure and maintain a peaceful destination for Glen Arbor residents. I love Boone Docks, Art’s Tavern, Crystal River Outfitters, and Cherry Republic but I do not envision a competing operation at the Mill.
LOGA: Efforts to mitigate [preservation of the Mill] by approaching the township board have been met with silence. The board must represent all the people, not only professional developers.
MILL RESPONSE: The Township Board has handled the rezoning of the Brammer Property with the utmost care and consideration as detailed above. I am a life-long member of this community and the Mill is my first effort to restore and preserve a piece of real estate.
In sum, I ask that you consider the facts surrounding the August 3 referendum before voting. The individuals behind LOGA, who have been unwilling to identify themselves, would have you believe that they have Glen Arbor’s best interests at heart. The reality is that LOGA is a small group of residents who have not taken the time to carefully consider my plans.
Please vote YES on August 3 and support the Mill and your elected Township officials!
The Mill Glen Arbor
Frequently Asked Questions
When will the mill reopen?
Our goal is to have portions of the mill open to the public in the Summer of 2022. That said, we are carefully considering feedback from local authorities and the community and will adjust our opening schedule as necessary to ensure that the project meets with all necessary approvals.
What do you have planned at the mill when it reopens?
The mill will offer a small museum showcasing the historic milling equipment and the history of grist milling in our region. A café and space for community gatherings and health & wellness classes will accompany. Rooms in the mill house will be available for rent.
Is the mill ADA accessible?
Upon completion all public portions of the mill will be ADA accessible.
What is inside the mill?
The mill contains two sets of historic milling equipment. The stone mill operation was installed in 1879 when the mill was originally constructed, and the roller mills were installed in 1906.
How was the mill powered?
Until approximately 1940, the Crystal River was dammed on the east side of M-22 and a sluice under M-22 fed water power to the mill’s water turbines (horizontal water wheels) on the north side of the building. There are scandalous rumors regarding the destruction of the damn and the decommissioning of the mill. Who blew up the mill dam!?
Who built the mill and when was it built?
The mill was built by Thomas Kelderhouse in 1879. More on Kelderhouse and the history of the property when our museum opens!
I hear the mill was a recording studio in the 1970’s. Do your plans include anything honoring the mill’s recording studio history?
That’s right! Fred Ball and friends established Glen Arbor Roller Mills Recording Studio at the mill in the early 70’s. We love this part of the mill’s history and look forward to showcasing some of the work from that era. We’ve also collected a few stories…if these walls could talk!
I love that this will be a museum, what can I expect to see when I visit the mill?
The mill is full of historic milling equipment and impressive craftsmanship. We are working with local historical societies to curate and display the best the mill has to offer. We are just as excited as you to see how it all comes out!
What is the Brammer property and how is that related to the mill?
The Brammer property is a two-acre stretch of land south of the mill towards Glen Arbor and includes a farmhouse, an ice house, a smokehouse, and a stable.
What’s an ice house?
An ice house is a building used to store ice throughout the year, commonly used prior to the invention of the refrigerator. When the Brammer family owned the mill in the early 1900’s they would cut ice from the Fisher and Glen Lakes and store it for sale in the summer months. The ice house was also operated as a fruit and vegetable stand.
What are the plans for the Brammer property?
Current plans for the Brammer property include parking for visitors to the mill and the rental of the “river house.” Future plans for the Brammer property include the restoration of the ice house – we’d love your thoughts and suggestions on how this property can be used.
How does the mill impact the Crystal River? Are there environmental concerns?
The mill is committed to preserving the pristine condition of the Crystal River and is working with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to ensure that the improved property will result in a cleaner, healthier Crystal River.
I hear there is going to be a restaurant at the mill. When is the restaurant opening and what kind of food will it serve?
A full-service restaurant is something we will continue to evaluate for the mill. Our current plans do not call for a full-service restaurant. Our café may offer baked goods and small plates.
What’s the Heritage Trail Bike Path connection and how is it related to the mill?
The Heritage Trail Bike Path connection is a proposed addition to the existing Heritage Trail that would connect the bike path from Westman Road to downtown Glen Arbor along M-22. The mill has no relation to the Heritage Trail, but we have agreed to cooperate with Glen Arbor Township to determine whether or not a connection over the mill property is feasible/desirable. Specifically, last year the mill signed a document called a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to work with Glen Arbor Township in good faith to provide an easement across the mill property if a mutually agreeable route could be located. At this time, no easement has been granted.
What’s the Heritage Trail Bike Path connection and how is it related to the mill?
The Heritage Trail Bike Path connection is a proposed addition to the existing Heritage Trail that would connect the bike path from Westman Road to downtown Glen Arbor along M-22. The mill has no relation to the Heritage Trail, but we have agreed to cooperate with Glen Township to determine whether or not a connection over the mill property is feasible/desirable. Specifically, last year the mill signed a document called a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to work with Glen Arbor Township in good faith to provide an easement across the mill property if a mutually agreeable route could be located. At this time, no easement has been granted.
What is LOGA?
LOGA stands for Love Old Glen Arbor. As far as we can tell, LOGA was formed, in part, to petition a decision of the Glen Arbor Township Board to rezone the Brammer property from “Residential II” to “Recreational”.
Why don’t you collaborate with Love Old Glen Arbor (LOGA) and do what’s in the best interest of the town?
We’ve made multiple attempts to sit down with the LOGA petitioners and work through any concerns they have. So far none of the Love Old Glen Arbor founders have accepted our invitation to do so. We are confident our plans will result in a great addition to Glen Arbor and something its residents will be proud of.
Do you find it odd that the organization that is opposing your plans have coined themselves “Love Old Glen Arbor”?
We do. Our team really loves old Glen Arbor. That’s why we have chosen to preserve the mill as a historic piece of Glen Arbor’s history.
Will there be weddings at the mill?
Not at this time. In the future, the mill may accommodate small weddings or similar events during reasonable business hours and with great care so as to not disturb our neighbors.
Will there by kayak rentals at the mill?
No. There’s an A+ operation down the street. We recommend them.
Is it true Bob Seger recorded “Night Moves” at the mill?
Not according to Wikipedia: “Night Moves” was recorded at Nimbus Nine Studios in Toronto, Ontario.
How can I support the mill?
Share our project with family and friends and follow us on Instagram @themillglenarbor.
Contact The Mill
Please feel free to ask us anything. We will answer!
The Mill Glen Arbor
5440 W Harbor Hwy
Glen Arbor, MI 49636
© 2021 The Mill Glen Arbor, LLC