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The Next Battle for Property Rights in Virginia Is in Liberty Landmark York County

Pitchfork Rally

Following the Virginia General Assembly’s passage of the “Boneta Bill” and HB 1089 this year limiting how counties may require permits for agricultural and aquaculture activity and commerce, York County has announced that it will consider eliminating agricultural use on small properties in the York Point area of Seaford, and has targeted local oyster farmers for “special use” permitting in contravention of recently enacted state law. 

What:  “Pitchfork Protest” Rally

Who:  Farmer Martha Boneta, York County oyster farmers Anthony Bavuso and Greg Garrett, Virginia Delegate Brenda Pogge, Virginia Delegate Gordon Helsel, Virginia Delegate Rick Morris, Lois Smith (President of Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association), King George County Supervisor Ruby Brabo, Mark Fitzgibbons (constitutional attorney).

When: Wednesday, May 14, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Where: York Hall, 301 Main Street, Yorktown, Virginia

Why: This citizen-based, grassroots protest will call attention to the potential actions of the York County Board of Supervisors to rezone and eliminate agricultural uses for certain properties, and for attempting to require “special use” permits for oyster farmers despite recent passage of state legislation prohibiting counties from demanding such permits. York County is hastily attempting to evade the Boneta Bill (SB 51) before that law takes effect July 1, and HB 1089 that takes effect January 1, 2015.

The first two “Pitchfork Protests” were held on behalf of farmer Martha Boneta’s fight against Fauquier County, which charged her with violating the law for hosting a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls and selling vegetables and other farm products without an administrative permit. Virginians all across the state were outraged, and after two years, the General Assembly enacted two separate bills that restrict how counties may abuse zoning powers and the permit process for farmers.

The “Pitchfork Protest” has come to symbolize citizens’ taking action to protect their property and other constitutionally protected rights, especially against zoning abuses and overreach by local governments.

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