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Wineries to Fauquier BoS: You Got Served

By Mark Fitzgibbons

Fauquier County wineries would rather be serving their terrific wines in ways and with styles that please their customers.

On February 21, ten Fauquier wineries instead served the county’s Board of Supervisors with their lawsuit that was originally filed with the Fauquier County Circuit Court on August 10.

The lawsuit, Phillip Carter Winery et al. v. Board of Supervisors of Fauquier County, CL12-418, challenges what has been described as the worst winery ordinance in the country.  The ordinance “tramples private property rights and some fundamental civil liberties,” as I wrote at The Washington Examiner back in August.

These non-litigious wineries were hoping that the county would be reasonable, and gave the county several months to come to its senses.  Lesson learned.

The winery ordinance was drafted by well-financed third party anti-property rights activists who work regularly in conjunction, some say collude, with the county government.  It imposes harsh limits on hours and harmless practices of winery operations, strictly limits the serving of comestibles, and gives the Zoning Czar Kim Johnson broad, unfettered discretion to even define what would constitute a violation of the ordinance, which violates due process on its face.

Ms. Johnson was, of course, the subject of the Pitchfork Protest in Warrenton in August, where farmers and property rights proponents called for her to be fired for her bullying and unlawful tactics.

The original ordinance even encouraged citizens to call 911 to report alleged occupancy excesses.  That provision was removed after the county was embarrassed by public outcry that it infringed on the health, safety and welfare of real emergency victims, and was an abuse of the 911 emergency number.

The ordinance was obviously written to bully vintners and intimidate those who wish to open new wineries.  These are nothing more than corrupt, discrimatory practices found in Banana Republics.  The county thinks vintners should beg for their rights.

County residents are anxious to see how the county responds to the lawsuit now that the BoS has been served, and whether it will seek to engage in evasive tactics such as trying to block discovery as it has done in the lawsuit filed by Martha Boneta.

Warning to all:  Fauquier County is a business-unfriendly place that seems to know no bounds on its attempts to mess with your rights.

 

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