SCR: No Road On Our Farm!

Hello Friends,

We wanted to share with you this letter of support.  We are proud and happy to have this letter go out in our defense.  Please spread the word and we would love to see you on Sunday, July 17 at 10:00AM for the response of the Purcellville Town Council Mayor and/or members of the Council.

Today with no notification, the Town has begun to construct the fencing around the entire condemned 7 acres, which completely cuts off all access to my back 45 acres where we have our Peach Orchard, beans, hay, and pumpkins.  Surely there is a law against what they are doing to us, and if there is not, there should be.  This is wrong, and it comes at our busy harvest, and picking seasons.  As senior citizens, and business owners we are appalled at how we are being treated, and certainly would not wish this on anyone.

Thank you for your support, and we welcome your responses and input anytime.

Sam and Uta Brown

Crooked Run Orchard

www.CrookedRunOrchard.com

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: <stephen@notavivavineyards.com>

Date: Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Subject: Notaviva Vineyards Alliance With Crooked Run Orchard

July 11, 2011Mayor Lazaro, Purcellville Town Council Members:

I am writing to inform you of our alliance with Sam and Uta Brown, owners of Crooked Run Orchard in their efforts to preserve their farm.

For some time now, we have followed with mounting disappointment and ire the news reports of their ongoing battle with the Town of Purcellville.  Perhaps, like many others in the community, we held high hopes the issue would somehow “sort itself out” and that the Browns would prevail in their campaign.  And perhaps, like many others in the community, we also held high hopes that their rights as citizens, rural business owners, and landowners would be preserved.

We reacted with shock as we learned of the Town’s aggressive tactics in removing the injunction preventing the seizure of the Brown’s property, and your subsequent acquisition of their land.  In our opinion, you have violated a sacred American right, and we find it unconscionable that the Town of Purcellville has engaged in such actions.

Your quick-take was our tipping point, and we have committed ourselves to assisting the Browns in any way possible.  In the short time we have known Sam and Uta, we have found them to be intelligent, passionate, honest and wise – stewards of the land with agricultural knowledge far surpassing our own.  Such wisdom should be treasured, nurtured and preserved for Loudoun’s future generations, not abused like some inconsequential aggravation.  It is a grave sign of Purcellville’s societal and political priorities that this situation has deteriorated to this point.

Through business collaboration, awareness campaigns, social media, and professional networking, we shall bring every resource at our disposal to their aid.  To that end, we have established a Virginia ABC remote license at Crooked Run Orchard and have begun conducting tasting of Notaviva wines on their property each weekend.  Our license allows visitors the legal right to enjoy open bottles and glasses of wine as they sit under the trees enjoying the rural vistas, though inevitably the question arises “what are those stakes over there…?”  We have very much enjoyed the passionate response from customers as we advise them of the situation, the Town’s actions, and the many ways in which they can help.  This collaboration has brought Crooked Run into the DC’s Wine Country family, and we have begun advertising Crooked Run as a remote Notaviva Vineyards wine tasting facility.

In addition to our remote tasting operation, we will be producing our first fruit wine this month with fresh produce harvested from Crooked Run.  We find it hypocritical that the same Town who created the Loudoun Grown Expo is now endangering not one, but two rural small businesses.  Our ability to source high quality local produce is paramount to our winery production capabilities and our continued success.  Loudoun wineries depend on a reliable network of dedicated suppliers, as our industry growth has far outpaced our ability to quickly establish our own crops to meet demand.  Not only will Notaviva Vineyards products be available at Crooked Run, we will begin offering many of their Loudoun grown products, such as fresh produce and Christmas wreaths, in our tasting room.  These interdependencies between rural enterprises are critical to the sustainable goals of our Western Loudoun economy, as well as the preservation of our open spaces.

A long-time dedicated servant of community and small business interests, I was recently elected to the Board of the Virginia Wine Council, a Richmond-based organization tasked with furthering the rights of the wine industry.  I am President of the Loudoun Wineries Association, and through the LWA we have a direct and open dialogue with both Loudoun Department of Economic Development and Visit Loudoun.  I also serve on the Loudoun Economic Development Commission and the Rural Economic Development Council, the EDC Marketing and Business Retention Committee, and we are members of the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce.  Though this correspondence does not endeavor to speak on behalf of any of these organizations nor imply their involvement in any way, I have copied each of them so they may be advised of our intentions and commitment to these matters.  I will continue to seek their advice and support as we proceed down this path.  In addition to the above organizations and legislators, I am also copying local media channels; the complete list of recipients appears below:

Senator Jill Vogel

Delegate Joe May

Loudoun Board of Supervisors

Matt Conrad, Deputy Chief of Staff, Governor McDonnell

Todd Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry

Patrick Cushing, Director, Virginia Wine Council

Chris Blosser, VP Loudoun Wineries Association

Bree Moore, Secretary Loudoun Wineries Association

Colleen Berg, Treasurer Loudoun Wineries Association

Tony Howard, President & CEO Loudoun Chamber

John Wood, Chair EDC

Kurt Krause, Chair EDC MBRC

Doug Fabbioli, Chair REDC

Tom Flynn, Director Loudoun DED

Kellie Boles, ADO Loudoun DED

Patrick Kaler, CEO Visit Loudoun

Gem Bingol, Piedmont Environmental Council

Washington Post

Loudoun Times

Leesburg Today

Blue Ridge Leader

Purcellville Gazette

Six (6) Virginia Wine Blogs

I implore you to cease your malicious activities and your intent to destroy the Brown’s rights, property, crops and business.  It is my understanding that the SCR is not funded, not engineered, and mired in lawsuits.  Therefore any destruction of the Brown’s property under the mantle of quick-take eminent domain may be construed as nothing more than a thinly-veiled pro-development land grab; how could it be perceived otherwise?  These activities are a scar on the history of Purcellville, of Loudoun, and of Virginia.  It is our understanding you intend to construct a fence to bar the Browns from their property.  Should you commence with this initiative, we will organize a benefit concert to raise funds for the Brown’s legal defense.  This will be held adjacent to “town property” at Crooked Run and will engage a comprehensive social networking and media strategy.

If you feel there is no chance for further negotiations and that the Town’s position is firm, then our destiny is aligned with that of Sam and Uta’s.  However, if there may be any possibility of the Town reconsidering its present course of action, we would gladly donate usage of our facility to bring all parties back to the table to re-establish a constructive dialogue.  We do not believe the destruction of Crooked Run Orchards is a foregone conclusion, and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure its future.

I would welcome an opportunity to personally hear your responses to this correspondence; therefore I have a video crew standing by to meet us this Sunday, July 17th at 10 AM at Crooked Run.  We are prepared to film you speaking in front of the 25-year old orchard, the 80-year old boxwood hedges, the previously working barn and the wide swath of private property you are intent on destroying.  I would like to film you standing in front of the stakes you have placed delineating your unfunded roadway, as well as the stake you placed at the entrance to the Brown’s barn.  Further, we would like to film you reading aloud the condescending letters and lease offer you have submitted to the Browns.  I believe it is critical for the community and our future generations to bear witness to this debacle – if we do not study our history we are doomed to repeat it.  Bear in mind every word of your response will be included for release to YouTube, agricultural, environmental and heritage association websites, and any other media channel interested in carrying the piece.

Please reply to all and let us know how many of you will attend the video shoot so we may plan accordingly.  We look forward to filming you this Sunday at 10 AM.

Regards,

Stephen Mackey

Co-Founder, CEO and President

Notaviva Vineyards, LLC

13274 Sagle Road

Purcellville, VA 20132

Stephen@NotavivaVineyards.com

http://crookedrunorchard.com/2011/05/03/sam-brown-determined-to-save-family-farm-legacy/

http://crookedrunorchard.com/no-road/

 

CR masthead

“I move that we authorize the town attorney and staff to proceed with a TOWN INITIATED ANNEXATION of parcels located in the Purcellville Urban Growth Area in order to complete the SCR (Southern Collector Road) …”

Dear Neighbor:

On August 11th at 7 pm the Town Council of Purcellville, Virginia held a public hearing on the ANNEXATION FOR CONDEMNATION of land for a road to be built through part of Crooked Run Orchard, my husband’s family’s 250 year old farm.

Land owners to our east and the Town have arranged for the right-of-way for the majority of the road to fall on their property, in exchange for intensive commercial development. The Town wants all four corners of this area to be designated as a third Purcellville commercial district on the fringes of town to include a mall on the Cole Property (the lovely historic barn and farm setting on the right as you enter town), Catoctin Corner (new mixed-use development south of Patrick Henry College), and a 16-acre previously annexed portion of Crooked Run Orchard.

This is bad planning – development in the middle of the green buffer between Purcellville and Hamilton which will lower air quality, create more traffic, destroy hundreds of trees, and split our farm in two … all for a road that VDOT studies show will not improve Main Street traffic.

Please read on for the 5 MYTHS THE TOWN OF PURCELLVILLE IS using TO JUSTIFY its actions AGAINST CROOKED RUN ORCHARD. We are reaching out to our neighbors and customers for help in bringing some sanity to this debate, and need your help!

– Uta Brown

map wiht headline

Myth #1: This is a routine annexation.

The Town of Purcellville has the power to annex land within its urban growth area. Sometimes property owners ask to be annexed so they can make more profit by selling to a builder/developer. In other situations, towns condemn land that owners refuse to sell because the public need is so compelling – for example, it’s the only land suitable for a fire station. But this Town action falls into neither category. Crooked Run Orchard has consistently opposed annexation, and per Myth #2 below, the Town has yet to show a compelling need for the road.

Myth #2: Our town needs the road.

The SCR is a “bypass” looping around Purcellville to the south. The Town says the road is needed to solve Main Street traffic problems, making it easier for cars to get to Route 7. But projections show a completed SCR will reduce Main Street traffic by just 2.54%.* A second study** shows that Main Street traffic is not simply people coming from the south and trying to get through town, but people coming into town for grocery shopping, for a doctor’s appointment, to go to school, etc. (Purcellville routinely serves between 25,000 and 35,000 people for such activities).*** Developers fought to put and keep the SCR on the Town’s planning documents because they know it will make it easier and cheaper to develop the land around Crooked Run Orchard.

Purcellville is still promoting the road as “crucial to the mitigation of traffic impacts.”**** It is not.

Myth #3: The road won’t hurt the farm.

Crooked Run Orchard produces apples, berries, vegetables, herbs, holiday wreaths and decorations, flowers, and fall produce such as pumpkins – it attracts 20,000+ visitors per year. The Southern Collector Road will cut farm operations in two – leaving 45 acres on one side, and 51 acres on the other. It will also put pavement across the widest part of the wetland/floodplain and Crooked Run Creek. Customers using the back 45 acres for peach, wineberry and pumpkin pick-your-own produce will be required to cross a 40 MPH, two lane road that will carry traffic from nearby mixed-use commercial and residential development. Recent Southern Collector Plan Reviews note that required increases in road elevation “will result in additional fill … thereby potentially impacting additional stream channel or wetlands …”*, yet despite this, the Town still claims that “the alignment avoids direct impacts to the existing farming operations of Crooked Run Orchard,”** and, in addressing environmental concerns says simply that “The Town will comply with the State Environmental Review Process (SERP) under the direction of VDOT.”** (Well that certainly clarifies things!)

Myth #4: The road represents progress.

Purcellville is one of Loudoun County’s fastest-growing towns. But that doesn’t mean that citizens in Purcellville need to give up treasured places like Crooked Run Orchard in order to meet their transportation and growth needs. Nor does it mean it is wise to sacrifice productive portions of the rural economy for cookie-cutter, suburban-style development that requires massive infrastructure investments and higher taxes.

Yet town records show that lots of developers have their eye on this south eastern entrance to Purcellville and that the Town is pursuing their projects aggressively. One large mixed-use development would add up to 75,000 square feet of new commercial space,* and another possible “mixed-use condos and retail”** development – 45,000 square feet, multiple drive-through special exceptions and 300 parking spaces – is under consideration.***

Importantly, even after all “traffic improvements” and the new roads are in, the existing intersection levels of service (LOS) will still earn a “D-F” grade.**** That doesn’t represent “progress”. Not in a Town like Purcellville that prides itself on welcoming the new while preserving history and traditional, productive ways of life like family living.

Myth #5: It’s not personal.

When the Browns tried to put the 41 acres of their in-town land into conservation easement, Purcellville stripped the property of its residential zoning.* This zoning was put on Crooked Run Orchard in 1965, and no other Town Council has found it appropriate to touch it. It was only after the Browns began to pursue a conservation easement that the Town acted, cutting deeply into the orchard’s potential tax break, and making it more difficult to take advantage of Virginia law designed to help farmers. Sam and Uta put the land under easement anyway – forgoing millions of dollars in potential profits. The Town uses the words “preserve and protect” in reference to Crooked Run Orchard in its Comprehensive Plan – but its actions have served to cripple the farm. In Woodgrove High School lawsuit negotiations, Purcellville demanded that Loudoun County “Acquire, including through condemnation the right-of-way for improvements of the remaining two segments of the A Street (Southern Collector Road) …”** The County said no. BUT, PURCELLVILLE PERSISTS IN ITS EFFORT TO GET CROOKED RUN OUT OF THE WAY. If these actions aren’t personal … what are they?

FROM THEN CANDIDATE BOB LAZARO:

“Opposes annexation and boundary line adjustment schemes that would result in
increased density of residential development.”

WHY THE CHANGE, MR. MAYOR?

What Drew You to Purcellville

What you can do to help stop the Southern Collector Road:

1.) Send us an email at CrookedRunOrchard@gmail.com with your message of support and suggestions; email your opposition to Mayor Lazaro and the Town Council and copy us.

Emailing the Mayor/Town Council:
Mayor Bob Lazaro: blazaro@purcellvilleva.gov
Councilman Tom Priscilla: tpriscil@purcellvilleva.gov
Councilman Kieth Melton: KMelton@purcellvilleva.gov
Councilman Greg Wagner: gwagner@purcellvilleva.gov
Councilman C.J. Walker: cjwalker@purcellvilleva.gov
Councilman Jim Wiley: jwiley@purcellvilleva.gov
Councilwoman Joan Lehr: jlehr@purcellvilleva.gov

2.) Subscribe to this website in order to receive news and changes as they occur.

THEN TOWN COUNCIL CANDIDATE C.J. WALKER, III:

“ … the Southern Collector Road, a $10 million developers dream, will make traffic worse and inevitably increase taxes. There are millions of dollars at stake. Theirs and yours. If we don’t have a Town Council willing to stand up to the developers to defend our small hometown, Purcellville will become another  Ashburn … ”

7 responses

5 09 2010
Laura

Hi,

I am heartbroken to hear of the proposed plan to destroy part of your property to create an unnecessary road. I moved to Arlington about a year ago, having lived here as a child, and the one thing I had forgotten– or perhaps it has become worse since then– was the air. It is a tragic, dystopic thing out of a novel, that in an area thoughtful enough to have more parkland set aside than any major city suburb I have lived in– which really isn’t much, considering– there should be days on which I am warned to not go outside because the air is toxic. And I am warned against playing in creeks where I played as a child because the water is poison.

Clean, green space is the most precious resource that Northern Virginia has in a rapidly urbanizing world. Habitats are becoming more and more ephemeral, and they cannot be replaced once they are gone. I would ask the mayor to remember that life is precious– and this road will cause more destruction of that life that humans claim we treasure, in more far-reaching ways than we can imagine. Farms harness life, but they generate it, and that is something that this world needs.

Thank you and good luck protecting your farm,
Laura

10 09 2010
Chris Fitzgerald

We just moved to this area for the open space and clean living and had no idea of plans such as this. We’ll make sure to begin ensuring this information is spread to everyone we know. Please let us know of any protests, fund drives, etc that you plan so we can be sure to participate!

The Fitzgerald Family

3 05 2011
Alicia

What in the heck is all of this?! What are they doing to our town? If people want to live in a more populated retail type of area, then they should just go find one and leave our town alone. I moved here only in November and was so excited to have rolling hills and farmland around. Open land and farms are so precious and yet people can’t stop building on them. Our country is turning into one giant strip mall. Consumerism is ruining our beautiful land!

4 05 2011
The Fitzgerald's

Amen Alicia! Also, did you hear they are putting a Walmart in near the corner of the 7 bypass and Berlin Turnpike (287)??? Can you believe that, a Walmart in Purcellville!!! I hope everyone that hears this tells at least 10 people who will attend the town meetings and stop the madness!!! We’ll already have a Walgreens being put in right beside a RiteAid – who the heck is doing this horrible planning?!?!?!?!?!

Someone please stop the madness and get rid of these jokers ruining Purcellville now!!!

5 08 2011
Sarah

I used to work on a farm in Purcelleville in 1998 and 2001…we used to hitchhike to the ice cream place in Purcelleville. It was so small town, and wonderful. Now I live with my family in Ashburn, and still occasionally come through Purcellville. The only reason I come here is for the pick your own at Crooked Run Orchard and to visit the farm I used to work on. PLEASE don’t take away the very life breath and vitality of Purcellville!! NODOBY needs a whole new set of shops and commerce set up there. As previously mentioned, nearby Ashburn and even Leesburg have become strip mall centers. These may make more revenue for their mayors, but at what cost? While Purcellville has drastically changed in the 10+ years I’ve known it, there are still rolling hills and productive pastures. Please, let’s keep it that way.

18 08 2011
Farmer

There is a conservation easement on this land! Why aren’t the conservation easement holders fighting to protect this farm? VOF? Piedmont Environmental Council? Who is the easement holder? They have a duty and obligation to spend the billions they receive in our hard earned tax dollars to fight to protect this land because of the conseration easement.

I am increasingly disgusted with the conservation easement holders. First, they seduce farmers in to putting their farms in to conservation easement and then they turn a blind eye when something like this happens! Shame Shame Shame. These hypocrital conservation easement holder types even sue those innocent farms that gave up their land rights with burdensome conservation easements…yup these easement holders allege to protect the small family farmer and then take them to court over frivolous matters. Virginia is going to hell with these conservation easements. What good are they if they aren’t fighting to save Crooked Run Orchard? Keep in mind these same conseration easement holders are behind the local county decision making.

I encourage every individual in Northern Virginia to fight to help save Crooked Run Orchard. Go to every court hearing and every county meeting. Contact local media and expose this horrid situation. Write a book about it. Do a documentary. Blog about it. Without action, this type of evil will continue to grow and destroy our family farms. Donate to Crooked Run today and demand that the conservation easement holders for this property pay for legal reprsentation for Crooked Run. Sue any conservation easement holder that does does not rise up to protect this type of taking of conservation easement land. Don’t hold back – let the world know of this great tragedy.

1 04 2012
Michael

I just moved to the Leesburg area and just heard about this. Is there an update on the situation? I can’t tell if the Brown’s lost the fight or not. I support keeping farmland farmland. I do not like the government telling me what I can do with my property. It’s not right.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

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




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: