Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Virginia land trust’s transgressions draw legal, legislative scrutiny

By Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

Revelations that a Virginia land trust inserted language into the terms of a conservation easement on a farm, without informing the state agency with which it shares oversight responsibility, have riled lawmakers in the General Assembly and garnered the attention of the commonwealth’s office of attorney general.  The news is but the latest development in the long-running dispute between Fauquier County farmer Martha Boneta and the Warrenton, Virginia-based Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC). Once considered politically unassailable in Virginia, the PEC now finds itself increasingly isolated, as it tries to explain its conduct toward the farmer……. When Martha Boneta purchased the farm from the PEC in 2006, the property was a dump. Trash was strewn all over the place, and a tree was growing in the dilapidated barn. As far as anyone can tell, the PEC did nothing to restore the farm in the six years that it owned it. At great personal expense, Martha rehabilitated the property, turning it into the beautiful working farm that it is today. Instead of applauding Martha’s environmental stewardship, the PEC, which for years had been an absentee owner, has harassed her relentlessly.

There are people who want to drive Martha Boneta off her land. By forcing her to sell low, they can buy low, sell high, and line their pockets with the proceeds.  It’s not going to work. Martha is staying put......To Read More...

 

 

 

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