Zoning is the closest thing to fascism most Americans will ever know, and it’s remarkable how local governments use zoning laws to limit the rights of the little guy while rewarding the wealthy and well-connected. Big developers who know how to work the system can almost always get whatever they want from zoning boards, while the small property owner is at the mercy of politicians and bureaucrats.
Property rights of small farmers are under assault in Fauquier County, Virginia, where a local farmer has fallen afoul of the Zoning Fascists:
Located on a 70-acre farm near the village of Paris, Virginia, about 50 miles west of Washington, D.C., the Piedmont Agriculture Academy LLC (PAA) has quickly become a fixture in the local community. PAA functions as both an animal-rescue farm and a place where people can buy the many products originating on the property. Some 168 animals have found shelter on the farm, including alpacas, llamas, emus, a miniature horse, and a vast assortment of chickens, goats, ducks, sheep, turkeys, and cows. Dozens of the well-maintained animals are sheered every year, and their fiber is hand-washed and sold as yarn, socks, scarves, gloves, and nest builders. This year, the farmers who founded PAA have planted nearly 2000 tomato plants and 1000 eggplants on the property and have set up an apiary for producing honey.
A tastefully renovated barn serves as the farm’s on-site store, where vegetables, eggs, fresh and dried herbs, honeybee products, soaps, and handspun fibers from the livestock – all produced on the property – are sold to eager customers.
But if the Fauquier County Department of Community Development (DCD) has its way, the farm may soon have to cease operating. In June, the Piedmont Agriculture Academy was served with a “Notice of Zoning Violation” from the DCD.
Basically, Martha Boneta’s attempt to run a small business on her property has been outlawed by a new ordinance that retroactively restricts land use under the business license she received last year.
- Mark Fitzgibbons has written about the case at American Thinker.
- Rick Buchanan has written about the case at Right Side News.
- The Institute for Justice has weighed in on the case.
There is a hearing on the case this Thursday in Warrenton, and the Northern Virginia Tea Party is calling on its members to turn out in force:
For more information, contact Rick Buchanan of the Fauquier County Tea Party: firstname.lastname@example.org.