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Acme Township threatens Traverse City Horse Shows with cease and desist order over zoning violations

Brooke Giacin
Traverse City Horse Shows

Acme Township officials said Thursday they will shut down Traverse City Horse Shows this summer if the organization doesn’t comply with local zoning rules.

The Township said it has been working with the Horse Shows since last spring when it discovered the organization expanded without applying for a new permit.

Last month, the Acme Planning Commission approved a new special use permit for the events on the condition it resolved 20 issues.

But the organization upset Township officials when almost 30 days later it requested some waivers and another extension to get in compliance.

Traverse City Horse Shows has recently become a major driver of tourism in the region. At a news briefing with Traverse City Tourism last year, the organizations said the event brings in $120 million dollars a year to area businesses.

Acme Township Supervisor Doug White said the events’ success should not mean its rural neighbors have to suffer.

He said more than 30 residents have complained to him about issues related to the Shows’ unapproved expansion last year, including noise disturbances, problems with dust management and horses that had escaped into neighboring property.

The Township wants the Shows to provide proper access for emergency services, additional parking, storm water containment during heavy rains, manure, dirt and debris management, dust control and landscaping buffers to shield neighbor’s views of the property.

White said the Horse Shows have until their first scheduled event on June 10 to get in compliance or the Township will issue a cease and desist order.

When reached by email, a spokesperson for Traverse City Horse Shows, Nicky Meyer, had no comment about the township’s demands.

She said no one from Acme Township had contacted the organization as of 1:30 p.m. on Thursday about a possible cease and desist order, though she did acknowledge having the requirements with the conditional permit.

Taylor Wizner covers heath, tourism and other news for Interlochen Public Radio.