Bureaucrats Bully Family Farms in D.C. Exurbs (Fauquier County attempting to fine county resident for holding Boy Scout jamborees on his property)

I live outside Fauquier County in Rappahanock wine country.  Since moving out here ten years ago, we have seen several farms disappear in Rappahanock, Culpeper and Fauquier counties.  The ridiculous regulations and fines being imposed on the local farms and wineries are nothing short of Big Brother tactics.  Fauquier County Zoning Administrator Kimberley Johnson has shut down, or attempted to shut down, political fundraisers on  residential farms for lack of a permit.  The farm owners could have sued  her and the county under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for violating constitutional rights  under the color of state law.  Some of our ancestors died on these very grounds defending our liberty, property and freedom.  Why aren’t WE fighting for the same rights?

 

Bureaucrats Bully Family Farms in D.C. Exurbs

By Mark J. Fitzgibbons via The American Thinker

Fauquier  (/fɔːˈkɪər/)  County, Virginia has become a new battleground against the sprawl of  Washington-style government bullying.  Under the guise of business zoning  authority, Fauquier is now depriving an agricultural community of its liberty to  live the farm life when a little commerce is, and even is not,  involved.

The  county, you see, wants to regulate and fine farm residents on grounds of holding  pumpkin carvings, birthday parties for little girls, and Boy Scout  jamborees.

Fauquier  County is an agricultural community in the beautiful Piedmont mountain region  about an hour west of Washington.  Its motto is “life as it should  be.”  To some county bureaucrats and officials, that means “life as we tell  you how it should be.”

The  growth of the federal government, along with its bureaucratic mentality, has  sprawled into Northern Virginia, and mostly up to now, just shy of  Fauquier.  In once-bucolic Loudon County to the north of Washington, where  family farms stood just 15 years ago, now stand high-rise offices of businesses  with government contracts, lobbyists, and others feeding at the government  trough.  Loudon, the fastest-growing county in America, is not the free  market at work.  It’s a concrete and steel metropolis built directly and  indirectly on taxpayer money flowing into and out of  Washington.

Virginia  is divided now — in many ways — between the Washington suburbs of Northern  Virginia and the rest of the state.  With the sprawl of big government  comes the bureaucratic mentality that what’s yours is theirs to regulate,  control, and dictate.

Virginia,  of course, was the home of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison,  Patrick Henry, and George Mason.  The spirit of liberty still runs deep in  parts of Virginia.  Sadly, however, the sense of freedom has been dampened  if not eviscerated among those tied to and benefiting from government power and  money.

Virginia  has long been supportive of agriculture, and the state has a Right to Farm  law.  While family farms are struggling, Virginia has discovered that its  soil and climate are splendid for grapes.  Hence, wineries are popping up  to the joy of a good number of Virginians now employed by them, tourists, and  many tax revenue collectors.

Fauquier  this past week, though, passed a new county ordinance requiring wineries to  close their doors at 6 p.m. and requiring them to pay the county for special  permits for such things as extended hours and catered food.  Because of one  or two wineries where bacchanalia has caused grief for some neighbors, the  county decided to punish all wineries…oh, and to make more money off its theft  of liberty, too.

The  wineries have numbers and money to fight this punitive over-regulation.  By  using narrowly tailored exemptions, though, the county bought off opposition  from some, including one that defeated the county at the Virginia Supreme Court  not long ago.  When government believes that it owns our liberty, it  selectively dishes out some as bribery.

But  Fauquier isn’t just stealing liberty from wineries.  Using Orwellian  oversight and threats of fines, Fauquier is also bullying a tiny farm in Paris,  Virginia that takes in rescued animals and sells organic tea but is not a  winery.  Reading the order against the farm issued by Fauquier County  Zoning Administrator Kimberley Johnson, one may confuse Fauquier for an  anti-family banana republic.

In  deciding to seek fines against the farm, Ms. Johnson’s April 30 order includes  the following specious, frivolous, and ridiculous  items:

1.  The farm has rescued animals;

2.  The farm advertised an “organic tea café” and films its on-site small-farm  events;

3.  As a means to unscrupulously load up her case, Ms. Johnson includes in her list  of allegations certain “events” at the farm she found in an internet search that  even her own order later acknowledges were never held on the  property;

4.  Using her questionable internet investigative “techniques” (the county hasn’t  yet used drones), Ms. Johnson alleges two other events in support of her claims:  a “wine testing” in September 2011, and “a seasonal pumpkin patch and carving  event” in October.  Maybe Ms. Johnson should notify Homeland Security,  too.  Those kids carving pumpkins have knives!

5.  Perhaps the single most offensive allegation by Ms. Johnson is that the farm’s  Facebook page “includes photographs of a child’s birthday party that was held”  on January 22.  Ms. Johnson believes that a party of eight 10-year-old  girls on a family farm is subject to her regulatory purview and is cause to  threaten county citizens with fines up to $5,000.

Ms.  Johnson has shut down, or attempted to shut down, political fundraisers on  residential farms for lack of a permit.  The farm owners could have sued  her and the county under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for violating constitutional rights  under the color of state law.

Ms.  Johnson, the menace, wasn’t fired or sued for her imperious view of her power  versus her limited view of people’s rights on private property.  That’s a  shame.  Now, she’s attempting to fine a county resident for holding Boy  Scout jamborees on his property.

Not  all victims of Ms. Johnson’s lawbreaking are wealthy enough to assert their  rights through civil actions.  And that’s how bureaucrats build on their  arrogant lawbreaking.  They bully citizens who are good, mind-their-own  business types, or who lack the resources to file suit.

Other  Fauquier County officials, of course, should be ashamed of what’s  happened.  In the meantime, county citizens are forming a new organization  to protect family farms.  They’ve seen what happens when they wait for  politicians or judges to actually stop government lawbreaking.  They’ve  learned that to protect rights, citizens need to do it on their own — and in  numbers.

Read more here.

2 thoughts on “Bureaucrats Bully Family Farms in D.C. Exurbs (Fauquier County attempting to fine county resident for holding Boy Scout jamborees on his property)

  1. Pingback: Virginia Wineries Fed Up With Tyranny In Fauquier County – Red Alexandria

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s