We Are Affirmed
Zoning Decision State of Michigan
We are pleased to share that on January 16th, 2018 the State of Michigan Court of Appeals decision arrived. Judge O’Connell, P.J., Hoekstra and Swartzle, JJ. sent their decision affirming the Cheboygan County Planning Commission to grant special use permit to Heritage Cove Farm, Inc.
A Letter of Thanks From Heritage Cove Farm Board Chairman
Thank you for supporting Heritage Cove Farm in our efforts along with others, to create a world where people affected by mental illness can experience resiliency, recovery, and wellness.
We couldn’t have made it this far if it weren’t for the encouragement and advice of each of our board of directors, our attorneys, family, longtime friends, and those new friends that became known to us and wanted to lend a hand. I’ve been continually amazed during this journey, how each time I became frustrated or challenged, someone came along at just the right moment, with just the right words, to reignite the fire I needed to “fight the fight”.
I experienced this very feeling just the other day when Larry and I received a long-awaited telephone call from our attorney, Rick Rassel. After almost three years, and two appeals by the Grandview Beach Association (GBVA), we learned that the Michigan Court of Appeals had finally set a date for our case! On January 4, 2018 our case went before a panel of three Court of Appeals Judges in Lansing, Michigan, for oral argument. We are confident that we will prevail, and that it is only a matter of time before the hurdles and roadblocks (camouflaged by ignorance and bias against the mentally ill) are behind us!
Please consider giving a tax-deductible donation to Heritage Cove Farm. Your donation is a source of hope and peace of mind for people affected by mental illness. On behalf of our Board of Directors, we are honored to have you as a part of the Heritage Cove Farm Family.
Betsy Acari Hanson
Board Chairman, Heritage Cove Farm
Heritage Cove Farm Gets Cheboygan County Zoning Approval
First let me say, on behalf of our Board of Directors; thank you again for the support and encouragement you’ve provided to us as we’ve struggled through the zoning approval process to develop Heritage Cove Farm.
Our application was submitted back in March, and it took the county eight months to finally schedule the required hearing providing the public with an opportunity to state their opinion about our request for approval of a therapeutic farm community in northern Michigan. We couldn’t have been more proud of the strong letters of support that were provided to the county on our behalf, and were touched by those that were able to attend the November 4th public meeting to voice their support. Not surprising, but most certainly disappointing, the stigma associated with mental illness came through loud and strong that night, by those in opposition.
The Planning Commission members were then expected to consider the public comment, commence deliberation, and make a decision at their next meeting on December 2, 2015. Unfortunately, there was no decision. More discussion, more questions, and more frustration as we listened to the Planning Commission Board members struggle with evaluating our uses in comparison to the county’s zoning ordinance. The use proposed in our application is not defined in the zoning ordinance, and the “not in my backyard” and other fallacies unrelated to zoning, were heard loud and clear. Our project was once again tabled until December 16th.
Christmas came and past, and a promise that a decision would be forthcoming proved to be another disappointment. However, with each email or letter I received; or the strangers that approached me to say “I know this must be hard, but please keep up the fight. What you’re doing is important, and we need something like this…”, my confidence grew and I was encouraged that we were making the right investment.
Dr. Oliver Sacks said it best when he described Gould Farm (the first residential therapeutic community in the nation, dedicated to adults with mental illness): “Gould Farm is a unique and pioneering refuge for people with mental disorders. A place where respect and relationship, work and friends, are central to the healing process. We need many more such places in the world.” The Planning Commission members of Cheboygan County had an opportunity to do something really important last night. AND THEY DID!!!! We received complete approval of all of our requested uses, and 100% site plan approval!!! Heritage Cove Farm will be the next “pioneering refuge”!!!
The strong content of each of the letters of support we received were important, along with the expertise and professionalism of our attorney team. Thank you for your continued interest and involvement; we look forward to keeping you updated on our journey forward.
Betsy & Larry Hanson
and the Board of Directors of Heritage Cove Farm