Property rights took a significant step forward in Virginia earlier this month when the “Boneta Bill,” which protects farmers and other residents from heavy-handed zoning policies, officially became law. The bill grew out of a dispute between Martha Boneta, who owns and operates the sixty-four-acre “Liberty Farm” in Paris, Virginia, and local government officials. Liberty Farm is about an hour car ride from Washington, D.C.
The case, which has attracted national attention, reached a critical turning point in August 2012 when the Fauquier County Zoning Board of Appeals voted to uphold a series of $15,000 per day fines against Boneta based on amendments made to the county’s zoning ordinance. The fines, which have never been enforced, were issued against Boneta for hosting a birthday party for eight ten-year-old girls and for advertising pumpkin carvings, according to a press release from the Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.