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Traverse City sober living house can stay, say city officials

TC Retreat

TC Retreat, a sober living house in Traverse City, does not violate zoning laws. On Tuesday night, the city's Board of Zoning Appeals voted seven to one to overturn an earlier decision that said TC Retreat violated the single-family zoning district where it's located. TC Retreat is a house for people recovering from addiction, located on Comanche Street. 

At the meeting a number of people gave public comments. Some people from the neighborhood indicated they thought TC Retreat violated zoning laws.

Tom Gilbert is the president of TC Retreat. His take on those comments is that, "they just frankly didn’t want [people recovering from addiction] in their neighborhood."

"Comments were made [at the meeting] like 'I support recovery ... but not here,'" says Gilbert.

David Weston, Traverse City's zoning administrator, made the initial ruling against the sober house. He says, at the time he made that ruling, available information through TC Retreat's Facebook page and articles of incorporation indicated the house was a residential care and treatment facility, which did not follow the single-family zoning district.

But Weston says, "I think [the board] made a good decision based on the information they had."

He says after he made that initial ruling, TC Retreat provided more information that indicated the house is not a treatment facility. The board overturned Weston's decision with that additional information.
If this ruling is appealed, it would go to the circuit court.    

Morgan Springer is a contributing editor and producer at Interlochen Public Radio. She previously worked for the New England News Collaborative as the host/producer of NEXT, the weekly show which aired on six public radio station in the region.