Farmers slapped with $75K lawsuit over safety concerns

Posted at 6:21 PM, May 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-17 18:21:31-04

DALTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Hidden Creek Farms has been operating in Dalton Township in Muskegon County for five years, selling everything from milk and eggs to succulents.

But some of their sales have been drawing big crowds, and neighbors say it’s a nuisance: a $75,000 public nuisance.

After a high-traffic event, a neighbor complained to the township and filed a lawsuit.

"I would have thought a neighborly visit would have solved and issue or something like that if there was one, but nothing of the sort," says Crystal Brummans, owner of Hidden Creek Farms.

Crystal and Lee Brummans’ Hidden Creek Farms supplies Dalton Township residents with organic produce they say they depend on, and they don't know why anyone would want to shut them down.

"I'd like them to drop the lawsuit and leave us alone and realize we're well within our rights as citizens, and they need to stop picking on people who are trying to do good things in this community," Crystal Brummans said.

But according to lawsuit filed by that neighbor, the zoning ordinance does not allow for animal breeding on the property or the commercial sale of products.

The township supervisor says he doesn't want to take the farm away but wants to keep people safe, which led to the township serving a temporary restraining order.

"Dalton Township has not filed any litigation against Hidden Creek Farm seeking to shut them down,” a statement says. “Due to reports received of the heavy traffic created by a similar previous event held by the farm on April 20, 2019, where no off-street parking was provided, Dalton Township took steps to ensure the safety of all involved.”

But the farm says stopping those sales is a disservice to the community.

"Lee and I could've just done this for ourselves but that's not why we wanted to do this. We wanted to help other people. So that's why we're here," said Crystal Brummans.

FOX 17 reached out to the neighbors who filed the lawsuit, but was unable to get in touch with them.

Cases are set for a hearing in June.