Benzie Co. Farmer Looking To Use Abandoned Motel As Migrant Housing

A farmer looking to turn an abandoned motel into housing for his migrant workers is running into road blocks.

The Village of Elberta refused to approve the farmer's land use permit.

Loy Putney bought the motel last year and hoped to have it up and running by now.

But he says the village refused his permit, saying it doesn't qualify under their zoning rules, and Putney says one councilman said he doesn't want a “trash house” in town.

Putney filed a lawsuit against the village and a specific councilman.  

Putney was supposed to appeal his denied permit tonight, so the councilman he's suing stepped down from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

However, that councilman is on the Planning Commission, and village protocol requires one planning commissioner be on the zoning board.

They'll have to postpone any decision until another village planning commissioner fills that spot.