Zoning ordinance causes disagreement between board, businessman


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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Standish Township has a Zoning Ordinance which is in place and does zone the area of Whites Beach as residential. This area is many platted subdivisions with lots as small as 25' x 50' with private single family homes. There is no water or sewer available at this time, so how does Mr. Bender handle groups in these cabins? Where do they park? Groups ususally mean more than one car or boat. When Mr. Bender began advertising and putting signs in front of his rentals, handing out flyers, and creating a website was when the township became aware of the zoning issues. Zoning in Standish Township is not new and Mr. Bender was aware of zoning as he attended township meetings before once running for supervisor. The zoning has been in place for over 40 years with a new ordinance completed in 2000. Mr. Bender choose to begin this business anyway and never contact the township first. Guess the courts will decide this issue.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 | Report this

This is just a sad story. Here you have man who has been willing to stick large amounts of money into homes in the Whites Beach area, fix them up, draw people to the area and what does he get for it? Charged with a crime! Apparently the people that serve on the Standish Township Boards have never had a party or family reunion at their homes, because I would almost bet they are using more water and sewer then those cabin do for the days they are rented. Have they been charged with a crime for entertaining groups of people for more then a few days? NO. The other question is many times these cabins are empty during the week not using any water or sewer, how is that hurting anything? It's pretty obvious the township is very aware of Mr. Bender's actions regarding these cabins, but my question is has anyone actually paid any attention to how often those cabins are occupied while rented. I would bet no. Want to know why they are empty most of the time? Because those people are out fishing, going to local shops and resturants pumping money desperatly needed into Arenac County. I truly think this is more than an issue with zoning ordinance violations. It is more of a personal attack against Mr. Bender. There are a certain few "ladies" that have issues with Mr. Bender personally and their "positions" within the community give them insight on ways to harass him. Granted Mr. Bender needs to get the permits or whatever he needs to do to get into compliance, but instead of working together like adults they have to act like children and make mountains out of mole hills.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | Report this

Does sound like someone in the neighborhood has their nose out of joint for something that is none of their business. Unfortunately that unnecessary action will cost one man and the community funds that are undoubtably needed.

Also has anyone asked how much the township gets for playing their unfortunate games and paying for whatever paperwork is required. It seems as if Mr. Bender has added to the value of the buildings and to the value of the township along with the county. Perhaps the township would prefer leaving the buildings vacant and turn into slums or worse. In a time when empty buildings seem to cover the landscape, this is just the type of action by the township that is what is not needed. Instead of encouraging economic benefits for the area, they are blocking it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | Report this

It sounds to me like unknown and oleridge whine and complain just like all of the other victims of those who are just trying to enforce the law. Their statements of Mr. Bender getting picked by a few "ladies" just breaks my heart. Wah Wah Wah!

Maybe unknown and oleridge should try living by these cabins when they are being rented out and listening to all the racket and maybe they wouldn't be so easy to condem these ladies for trying to enforce the law. Isn't that what these ladies were elected to do? Enforce the law when there are complaints made to them?

Maybe they should try living by Mr. Bender when he is having his fireworks parties in July 08-without any permits-and listening to the music and him bragging about having the officials in his back pocket (aka Ronnie Bouldin-ex-sheriff) and nothing would be done to him if someone would complain about it.

Just try living around this and just MAYBE just MAYBE unknown and oleridge would be GRATEFUL that these "ladies" were doing their jobs when getting complaints from residents of Standish Township.

Or maybe unknown and oleridge are a couple of useless officials who get complaints and then sit on their duffs and ignore residents complaints. Yup that must be the case!!

Let's get the facts straight here. Either the Arenac Independent is lying or Mr. Bender is lying because there have NOT BEEN ANY CHARGES FILED AGAINST MR. BENDER. So who exactly filed misdemeanor charges against him. Check with the prosecutor and find out for yourself just as I have.

I personally don't think it is the Arenac since they haven't repeatedly broke the law like Mr. Bender has.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | Report this

The postings have been interesting. Those "ladies" are part of a board of five that have been elected to enforce the ordinance of Standish Township. Mr. Bender's cabins are truly a wonderful addition to Standish Township, they are attractive and a big plus. No one has ever said otherwise at the meetings that I have attended. Mr. Bender has known for over 1 1/2 years that the township had been made aware of his "rentals" and had asked him to merely do what any resident in Standish Township would be required to do. Follow the ordinance!. He will not even come to a meeting to discuss it and has spent so much money and time - going to the Governor's office, the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, county commissioners, newspapers etc, etc. To me he seems to enjoy making trouble and blaming everyone but himself for his troubles. Good publicity though, I must admit. Why doesn't he do what is right. What is he afraid of? He does not seem to like to follow the laws - guess they are just for everyone else and not Mr. Bender.

Thursday, September 17, 2009 | Report this

StandishJo... I completely agree with your comments. However the history between Mr. Bender and the "ladies" of Standish township completely changes the way things have been handeled. Each party involved is digging in their heels and going to prove a point. I'm sure if personal issues between Mr. Bender and Sleeksilver98 had been left out of this issue, it would have been handeled by now. Just read the last 2 sentences of her post.. tell me its not personal? I'm not sure who enjoys making more trouble Mr. Bender or Sleeksilver98, I would say that is a pretty close race! The only difference is Mr. Bender is trying to make Standish township a little nicer place to be... what has sleeksilver98 done to bring visitors into the area? It is agreed that he needs to get into compliance, but I almost can't blame him for not going to meetings. What for with who is on the board and in "the back pocket" of sleeksilver98 the votes are already against him.

Thursday, September 17, 2009 | Report this

Solving the issue in court is not best for Standish Township nor Mr. Bender. There is a process that needs to be followed and Mr. Bender refuses to follow the process. He has been sent the required paperwork but in return Mr. Bender gets an attorney to fight it! Fight what, the ordinance is in place and no matter who you are - you need to follow the ordinance. Could it be that he knows that he has not done things in the correct order? Why bring all these people and organizations into a dispute over an issue covered by an ordinance that is legal. I just do not understand Mr. Bender making this such a big issue. Maybe that is why he will not handle this issue the legal and correct way, he may know that he has not followed the ordinance and is the wrong. Following the ordinance does not mean he will get what he wants but it is the way zoning works. Unless Mr.Bender begins by talking to the planning and township board and following the ordinance, I feel there will be no solution. Talking can be difficult but talking and discussing without drawing lines in the sand, is the only way to work this out. Also understand and admitting mistakes. The "ladies" issue is another thing. How do you know that they have a history with Mr. Bender? Are you getting just one side again of the issue? There are five people on the board, four women and one man. All five have voted to let this issue with Mr. Bender go to the attorney and go to court. So I don't see this as "ladies" having a personal issue but as board members standing up for the ordinance and what is the correct way to handle this issue.

Thursday, September 17, 2009 | Report this

Now, Mr. Bender is being slammed for being patriotic. What's next accuse him of loving children and dogs. The ladies in question have stacked the deck against Mr. Bender for personal reasons so why should Mr. Bender play their games? He may or may not win in court but at least he has tried to deal with the township in a lawful and open manner. I am sure that he would have dealt with the township through the permit process had things there been done in an open manner and not behind his back. If city hall is less than forthright than courts are the only civil and lawful manner to settle a dispute. Too bad these ladies have nothing better to do like finding their own way to enhance the appearance of the community and create enconomic benefits for more folks. But from their viewpoint it is more important to impede help for the community and to cause unnecessary problems for a good neighbor.

No, I am not an elected official. Just another involved citizen that cares about the community, his neighbors, and who is aware enough to see trumped up charges and a stacked deck. Terrible Mr. Bender. He has enhanced the community by fixing up property, provided for increased enconomic benefits for many (just not this board), is patriotic, and tends to his own business. Gee, seems like lessons that others could learn.

Friday, September 18, 2009 | Report this

If Mr. Bender is so patriotic then why can't he follow the law and go to the zoning board and get the proper permits? Why oleridge? You talk a big talk but you supply no facts. How are these "ladies" at fault for Mr. Bender not going to the zoining board? You forgot there is a new man on the township board and two of the ladies are new this year. So how did these two new ladies stack the deck against Mr. Bender? Since there are only two left who have been on the board for years you must be singling them out and for what purpose and reason? Do you not like to follow the law? Are you one of those kind of people????

The zoning ordinances that apply to Mr. Bender have been in effect for decades, long before Mr. Bender bought his cabins and decided to break the law. So how is this the two ladies fault when only one has been on the board for 12+years? Lets here the facts oleridge. But your facts on here, not your opinions.

Why haven't you addressed the fact there are no misdemeaner charges filed against Mr. Bender? Can't handle addressing the lies he is telling to the media? I feel very confident that the Arenac Independent will print a correction in next weeks paper. Will the ladies be to blame for that too?

What will Mr. Bender tell the judge when he gets in front of the judge for not going to the zoining board and following ordinances that have been in effect for decades?

I sincerely hope Standish Township will ask for their attorney fees to be paid for since this could of been prevented had Mr. Bender just gone to the zoning board.

Breaking the law is not enhancing the community, it is just plain breaking the law!!

Friday, September 18, 2009 | Report this

Mr. Bender has sent letters to everyone but the right ones !


Friday, September 18, 2009 | Report this

Time to let the the attorneys and courts hack this out. Facts are the last thing that commenters seem to want to listen to, on this issue.

Monday, September 21, 2009 | Report this

The fact remains what is going on is illegal. The township didn't decide this, the state of michigan did !

Monday, September 21, 2009 | Report this

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