Condemned Vestaburg farm owner pleads guilty to occupying property

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 2:07 pm on Tuesday, September 11, 2012

his condemned home and farm in Richland Township. He

STANTON — The owner of a condemned house and farm in Richland Township pleaded guilty Tuesday to occupying the property.

Donald Beach was charged with occupying a condemned dwelling in violation of state code.

“I’ll plead guilty to it,” Beach told 64B District Court Judge Donald Hemingsen. “I used the building.”

Beach’s sentence will be suspended for six months as part of a plea agreement. If he does not violate any laws in the next six months, his sentence will be suspended. Otherwise, he faces up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $500.

Donald Beach and his brother, Stanley, took over their parents’ property on Crystal Road near Vestaburg decades ago, but the 36 acres of land fell into disarray over the years. The Montcalm County Building Department and the Mid-Michigan District Health Department condemned the buildings on the property in June.

In August, 8th Judicial Circuit Court Judge David Hoort gave the brothers eight days to clean up the farm after Richland Township Supervisor Dennis Wright and Zoning Administrator Todd Horrocks asked the court to intervene.

Donald Beach, 62, is retired from Hitachi in Edmore. He is also an Army veteran, having served from 1968 to 1970 during the Vietnam War.

Stanley Beach, 68, is retired from Electrolux in Greenville.

Because the house was condemned, the brothers live in a travel trailer down the road. They said their only source of income is Social Security, plus the numerous cows which reside at the farm.

Montcalm County Prosecutor Andrea Krause said numerous county departments have been involved in working toward a solution regarding the property. She said Montcalm County Animal Control has inspected the cows on the property and they meet the adequate care standard for animals.

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