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MichelleA.Rosati,Holland&Knight,LLP(703)7208079ormichelle.rosati@hklaw.com AimeeSteel,Holland&KnightLLP(202)8281895oraimee.steel@hklaw.com

FORIMMEDIATERELEASE

Holland&KnightFilesSuitAgainstFauquierCounty ZoningBoardonBehalfof"LibertyFarm"
TYSONSCORNER,VASeptember6,2012OnFriday,August31,Holland&Knight, LLPfiledaPetitionforWritofCertiorari,andaComplaint,intheCircuitCourtof FauquierCounty,Virginia,onbehalfoftheownersofLibertyFarminParis, Virginia. InAprilofthisyear,thefarmwascitedbytheFauquierCountyZoning AdministratorforfailuretoobtainafarmsalespermitfromtheCounty,andfor holdingcertainallegedeventswithouttheapprovalofspecialpermits,special exceptionsandsiteplanapprovalsfromFauquierCounty. ThezoningcitationsagainstLibertyFarmattractedsignificantmediaattention whenitbecameknownthatnootherfarminFauquierCountyhadbeenrequiredto obtaintheseapprovalsforsimilaractivities.Inparticular,theZoningAdministrator citedevidencethatachildsbirthdaypartyhadbeenheldonthesitebasedon photographsfromthefarmsFacebookpageandtookthepositionthatthisparty wouldrequiretheapprovalofaspecialexceptionbytheBoardofSupervisors,as wellasasiteplan.Thispositionwassounprecedentedthatitevoked widespreadaudiblelaughterfromtheaudienceattheJuly5BoardofZoning Appealshearing Thiscaseisaboutselectiveinterpretationandenforcement,butalsoabouttheway theCountyappealprocessworkedordidntwork,saidMichelleRosati,counselto theownersofLibertyFarm,andapartnerintheTysonsCornerofficeofHolland& Knight.Itbecamemoreandmoreclearthroughtheappealprocessthatthese farmerswerebeingsingledout,and,unfortunately,thezoningordinanceleavesso muchopentointerpretationbytheZoningAdministrator,withoutclearorsufficient standardsforguidancefromtheBoardofSupervisors,thatthoseregulationsare verysusceptibletothiskindofarbitraryandunfairapplication. Thefarm,ownedbyPiedmontAgricultureAcademy,LLC,ishometoanineteenth centurybankbarnandover150animals,manyofwhicharerescuedlivestock. FarmerMarthaBoneta,whohasrescuedmanyoftheanimalsonthefarm,andtends tothemaswellastotheacresofcorn,tomatoes,eggplant,fruittreesandherbsat LibertyFarm,neverthoughtitwouldcometothis.

Whenthisfirsthappened,wewereliterallyinshock,andwecouldntunderstand whytherulesandthepublicprocessweresodifferentforusthantheyarefor everyoneelse.Wearesogratefulthatsomanyotherfarmershavecometoour supportbecausethatfeelingofshockandisolationhasbeenreplacedbyan incrediblycomfortingsenseofcommunityandcommonpurpose,"Bonetasaid."I thinkthatalotofsmallfarmerswereparticularlytakenabackbecausetheydoallof thethingsweweredoing,andthensome,andtheyveneverdoubtedthatitwas perfectlylegalandpermitted.Sothereisalotofconcernaboutwhethertheywill havetochangethewaytheyruntheirfarms,andalsoalotofsupportbecausethese farmerscanseeveryclearlythatwearebeingsingledout,andtheresareal understandingoftheunfairnessofit. Thefarmershavereceivedsignificantsupportfromlocalfarmersaswellasfarmers rightsandpropertyrightsadvocates,whoheldaPitchforkProtestoutsidethe FauquierCountyBoardofZoningAppealshearingonAugust2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e7MwjfQPI&feature=player_embedded ThePetitionforWritofCertiorariseeksajudicialreviewofthedecisionofthe FauquierCountyBoardofZoningAppealstoupholdnoticesofviolationfortheParis farmissuedbytheFauquierCountyZoningAdministrator,KimberleyJohnson.The ComplaintallegesthattherightsoftheownersofthefarmtoDueProcessandEqual Protectionoflawshavebeenviolated,andseeksbothcompensatorydamagesand punitivedamagesof$2,000,000.
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