By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
FREDERICKSBURG — A woman fined by local officials for selling agricultural produce on her farm and for hosting a birthday party there is suing Fauquier County for $2 million.
Martha Boneta, who operates the 70-acre Paris Farm, lost an appeal at the county’s zoning board last month, and faces thousands of dollars in fines for allegedly failing to obtain proper permits for her activities.
Boneta, and a band of local property-rights advocates, argue that her county-approved license for a “retail farm shop” were sufficient.
“This case is about selective interpretation and enforcement, but also about the way the county appeal process worked — or didn’t work,” said Michelle Rosati, a Holland & Knight attorney who represents Liberty Farm.
“The zoning ordinance leaves so much open to interpretation by the zoning administrator that those regulations are very susceptible to this kind of arbitrary and unfair application.”
In filing suit with the Circuit Court of Fauquier County, Rosati alleges violation of Liberty Farm’s owners’ right to due process and equal protection under the law. The writ of certiorari seeks both compensatory and punitive damages of $2 million.
County officials — including county attorney Kevin Burke and Kim Johnson, who was sued personally as well as in her capacity as zoning administrator — did not respond to Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau‘s request for comment.
Read the complaint here.