OAKLAND TWP. (AP) – Selling Christmas trees may cost an Oakland Township cider mill owner $7,500 in fines. Tom Barkham says officials are trying to shut him down because he sells Christmas trees, firewood and tickets for a corn maze.

Both sides have been battling since the 59-year-old veterinarian from Dryden bought the cider mill in 1981. The mill was closed for several years and in 1983 the township sued, saying the closure affected the facility’s right to operate in a residential area.

A court order allowed the mill to reopen between Labor Day and Jan. 1, but guidelines restricted sales to cider, popcorn, mill-related items, and allowed a petting farm.

Barkham was found in criminal contempt in January.

The Oakland Press of Pontiac and the Detroit Free Press say sentencing was scheduled Tuesday. 

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

Comments (3)
  1. Jim says:

    Let’s encourage businesses by fining them. There is nothing wrong with selling Christmas trees, especially Michigan grown ones. And it isn’t like it’s open all year round. If they employ people (students for example), that is not all bad.

  2. P Dingle says:

    Christmas tree sales add to the ambiance of the township in the Fall as well as the employment rolls. Discouraging agrarian activities in favor of dormitory residential uses may have made sense 30 years ago when that looked like it was the future for the rural suburbs, but now we know better that rapacious development of more and more farm land into subdivisions is neither sustainable nor sensible in a CO2 conscious world.

  3. Greg says:

    Incredible that we waste public services resources for such a case! If I lived in Oakland Twp., I would be outraged that civic officials even bothered with such an item.

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