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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development charges Bay View with housing discrimination

Pat (Cletch) Williams

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is charging Bay View, a northern Michigan resort community, with housing discrimination.

Bay View is already facing a separate federal suit over its long-standing religious test for membership in the community.

Don Duquette is a Bay View member and complainant in both the HUD case and the separate federal court case.

“Jews, people who are Christians but don’t go to active church, agnostics, Muslims, Buddhists. Anyone who doesn’t fit a very narrow definition as set out by the bylaws can’t buy a cottage.”

Duquette said Bay View has fifty days to respond to the charges. Both the federal case and HUD case will move forward in parallel.

“The feds have said that Bay View could be responsible for civil damages in addition to the actual damages for violating the rights of various people within the community.”

The HUD findings will need to be affirmed by either a Federal District Court or administrative law judge.

The Bay View Association said in a written statement that members overwhelmingly voted to change the religious requirements in 2018, making an applicant's religion something that is no longer considered.

The HUD findings, however, address the bylaw change saying because Bay View still requires the support of “Christian values” in order to obtain lease holding membership it remains in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

You can read the Bay View Association’s full statement below:

On February 21, 2019, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development notified the Association that its former membership requirement that applicants be of the Christian persuasion may have violated certain provisions of the Fair Housing Act. In August 2018, the Association's membership overwhelmingly voted to remove that requirement. As a result, the Association has revised its application and review process so that an applicant's religious beliefs, if any, are no longer considered. Until we have had an opportunity to fully review the HUD determination with legal counsel, we will have no further comment.