Williamstown Twp. Family Prepares To Fight Lawsuit For Farm

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

After months of battling to keep their goats, pigs, ducks and chickens, the Hudson family of Williamstown Township is gearing up for court.

"We have no intention of getting rid of the animals. We'll be taking this as far as it needs to go," said Jessica Hudson, who received a 'cease-and-desist' letter from township attorneys, last week, saying the animals were a zoning violation and they had ten days to get rid of them.

Those ten days ended on Friday and the animals were still there.

"The township will file suit against her," said Gary Bender, who is serving as the township's attorney. "There is a violation of the township ordinance and we believe that we will prevail on behalf of the township."

Not so fast, according to Hudson. She's been working with the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund for months.

On Friday, with the help of $15,000 in donations, the fund, which protects the rights of family farms, officially agreed to take the case.

"They have already won several cases identical to ours," said Hudson. "They know the law, inside and out. Because we are selling things, we are protected by the Michigan 'Right-to-Farm' Act.

According to Hudson, the protection of the act trumps any local ordinance because it's a state law.

Bender says, she's got it all wrong.

"The statute was written to protect the activity of an existing farm, which is carrying on farming operations," he said. "Then, a developer buys the land next door and the new residents complain about the preexisting farming operation."

With no agreement in sight, both sides say they're ready to take this case to court.

Bender told News 10, Friday, he will meet with the township, early next week, and file the lawsuit.

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