Farmers slapped with $75K lawsuit over safety concerns

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.

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9 comments

  • Timothy L Ritchie

    Garbage like this is part of what’s hurting this Country.Folks need to leave Farmers alone and quite nitpicki9ng and trying to hurt others. I also wonder if they are jealous of the farms success.If a person has that much property it should be zoned for whatever kind of reasonable and legal agriculture or business the owner wants.

  • Mark Hopp

    Safety? What a sack of dog dung. Always ruining good things. Bunch of whining big government scum. Safety, like adults need baby sitters

  • ginger douglas

    i was at the april 20 event and i was very impressed with the workers directing shoppers on where to park ect.. outside of needing more people taking money i felt it was run great. i had been top a similar event in grandville “stems” and this event was run just as well as that one which has been going on for a few years.

  • D

    How stupid!! Whiny people are so annoying. Why not get a life and let other people live their own? They aren’t hurting anything, but leave it to the township and a whiner to wreck it for everyone else. If the township is sooooo concerned about persons safety, then why do they allow yard sales?? People park all over the side of the road for those and nothing is done about it.

  • Kay Winn

    Look at the purpose and other general principles stated at the beginning of the zoning ordinance. Most exempt bona fide farming from zoning. This is often required hy state law.

  • ephesians413

    Frivolous lawsuits like this one waste the farmers’ time during the precious summer months. The town should make it easy for the farm to provide the wonderful service that they do provide. Perhaps the farm could provide the cantankerous neighbor with a free CSA for the season.

  • Ty Mason

    Sounds like the town just wants a piece of the pie, (apparently they’re too ignorant to know that when dealing with farmers there’s not much to take).

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