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While the Obama administration is busy eviscerating private property rights at the federal level, Republican-controlled Fauquier County, Va., has decided to follow suit in its own way. Fauquier's Board of Supervisors recently passed a winery ordinance that tramples private property rights and some fundamental civil liberties.
The county, which is located about an hour west of Washington, calls itself an agricultural community. Its scenic, sprawling farmlands have become home to a growing number of wineries. Vintners have discovered that Fauquier's climate and rich soil are ideal for growing grapes.
Most of the wineries are mom and pop operations. Some, though, have been more creative in marketing, employing more people, and generating revenue. The county thinks such success must be punished.
At the center of all this is the county zoning administrator, a bureaucratic czar named Kimberley Johnson, whose bullying and heavy-handed enforcement tactics have resulted in calls for her dismissal by county farmers and residents. Johnson was recently the subject of a citizen-farmer "pitchfork protest" in a matter in which she fined one farmer for conducting a pumpkin carving and a birthday party for eight little girls without the proper permit.
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