February 8, 2016

Zoning ordinance causes disagreement between board, businessman

Tim Barnum
Rental cabin operator Floyd Bender says he was hit with misdemeanor charges for renting out cabins near White's Beach, such as this one.

STANDISH TOWNSHIP — The Standish Township Board doesn’t believe the White’s Beach Resort cabins for rent near the Saginaw Bay in Standish Township can be rented out to vacationers and tourists any longer, per the township’s zoning ordinance.

Floyd Bender, who has operated the rental cabins for seven years, says the decision by the board will hurt tourism in the area, as water enthusiasts often stay in the three cabins he offers up for rent.

“We (White’s Beach Resort) book the fishermen big time. … We have groups that go out at the marina, groups that go tubing on the river,” Bender said.

He added that due to Standish Township ordinances, daily rental units, which his cabins are, as well as serving as monthly or weekly units, aren’t allowed. Bender says he’s sent letters to or contacted Governor Jennifer Granholm, the Saginaw-Chippewa Indian Tribe, county commissioners and Michigan Works! to get the entities to weigh in on his situation.

However, Standish Township Supervisor Curt Hillman says Bender doesn’t need to bring the issue in front of outside parties.

“I have told him (Bender) to go to the planning commission to apply for a zoning ordinance amendment,” Hillman said. “I have told him that several times at public meetings.”

According to Hillman, the White’s Beach Resort cabins are commercial businesses since they can be rented daily, but aren’t located in a commercial district.

Bender says he has been charged with a misdemeanor for operating the cabin rentals.

Attorneys for both sides are currently reviewing the issue between the board and Bender.

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