Acme Township says “Whoa” to Traverse City Horse Shows

"We’re not asking them to do anything different than we ask anyone else. Just, please be in compliance." - Doug White, Acme Twp. Supervisor

Acme Township is pulling up the reins and could bring the Traverse City Horse Shows to a halt. The township is warning the Horse Shows that a “cease and desist order” could be coming that prevents them from starting their summer shows next month.

Traverse City Horse ShowsThe township says the horse shows started a major expansion project more than a year ago, adding show rings and tents – but without going through the proper permit approval process.

Township Supervisor Doug White says they let the shows go forward last summer in good faith.  White says, “We started working with the horse shows back in the spring of 2021.” He says some of the issues have been addressed, but more than a year later, there are still 21 unresolved violations of township ordinance, and White says the horse shows are not responding.

The violations range from visitor safety issues and dust control, to required changes for fire lanes and parking.  White says, “We worked in good faith with them last year… As of today (Thursday) I haven’t received anything that says they came in to compliance. They have not met those conditions at all.”

The township says the annual event is on notice and could be faced with a cease and desist order just before the planned Traverse City Horse Shows are due to start in June.

Horse Shows FlintfieldsWhite says he wants to make it clear that “Acme Township “wants the horse shows to succeed. But we want them to be in compliance.”

In an email to 9&10 News, Traverse City Horse Shows Director of Marketing Lauren White says, “We have not seen the press release which was released by the Township and as such are not able to respond.  When and if the Township provides us with a copy we will have an appropriate response.  In the meantime, we can confirm that the Township Board voted unanimously last month to amend the Horse Show’s existing special use permit.  That approval was subject to approximately 27 special conditions.”

9&10 provided a copy of Acme Township’s statement to TCHS, but as of press time we have received no further response.

The statement from Acme Township reads, in part:

Violations of Acme Township and Grand Traverse County regulations on the TCHS site were first identified in Spring, 2021, just weeks ahead of the 2021 season’s June start date.  Acme Township, working with TCHS in good faith to identify all violations, did not shut down operations for the 2021 horse show season. 

On April 5, 2022, the Acme Township Board of Trustees approved a Special Use Permit for TCHS that included over twenty (20) conditions to be satisfied prior to the opening of the TCHS 2022 season.  Conditions outlined in the special use permit address violations and speak to the health, safety, and welfare of participants, public, neighbors, and community:  organized, adequate parking; proper access for fire and ambulance services; pedestrian walkways; storm water containment during heavy rains; manure management; dust control, dirt and debris management on Bates Road; landscaping buffers to shield view from neighbors’ properties; obtaining all relevant permits from other agencies; and more. 

On April 28, 2022, and with no specified conditions met, as yet, by TCHS, Acme Township’s attorney received a letter from TCHS’ attorney requesting certain considerations and waivers. 

If conditions approved by the Township Board at its April 5, 2022, meeting are not addressed ahead of TCHS 2022 opening in June, Acme Township will order that TCHS cease and desist its operations for the 2022 season.