Alma planning chairman quits after migrant housing vote

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Two migrant boys are seen playing in the mud on Dec. 22, 2019, at a refugee tent camp where they lived in Matamoros, Mexico, across from Browsville, Texas. (Border Report File Photo/Sandra Sanchez)

ALMA, Mich. (AP) — An official in a mid-Michigan community has resigned after city commissioners approved a zoning change to allow temporary housing for migrant boys entering at the U.S. border.

Don Ayers was chairman of the Alma Planning Commission, which had recommended that the zoning change be rejected. The City Commission, however, approved it last week, 4-2.

Ayers said he had planned to step down a few months ago __“I was fed up with the dirty names I was being called” __ but the way the housing controversy ended made him even more upset, the Morning Sun reported.

The Planning Commission was thrown “under the bus,” said Ayers, who added that city commissioners didn’t defend the panel’s work.

The Planning Commission said it had opposed the zoning change because opposition in Alma had made it difficult to consider key factors.

Bethany Christian Services plans to use a former nursing home to house migrants for up to 40 days or until a sponsor can be found. The boys, ages 12 to 17, crossed the U.S. border without parents or guardians and do not have legal status in this country.

“There have been too many personal attacks. I don’t need that headache anymore,” Ayers, 67, said.

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