Martha Boneta, Chuck Moore: Examples of thousands across the country, Fighting local zoning czars for economic freedom
Zoning Laws, Conservation Easements, and the Right to Your Land
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I believe so strongly that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) pursue the path to confiscate land from American landowners and farmers under the guise of zoning laws, environmental preservation, and eminent domain that I wrote about Martha’s Plight and her Liberty Farm in my book, “U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy.”
Martha’s 70-acre farm is located in Fauquier County, a rural community not far from Washington, D.C. The rich soil is ideal for growing grapes and agriculture in general. Martha bought her farm with an agricultural conservation easement.
A conservation easement is a contract between a private property owner and a land trust. Conservation easements are signed because some people want to protect their property from unwanted development in the future but they also want to retain ownership of the land. The donation of an easement to a land trust may give financial advantage to the donor. The conservation easement is passed on to any future owners of that land.
Martha Boneta repaired the historical barn, built an apiary, harvested hay, grew herbs, and rescued 165 animals, sold chicken, duck, turkey, emu eggs, candles made from beeswax, birdhouses, and fiber from llamas and alpacas. Although holding a business license, she was harassed, the license was not renewed, and a trench was dug to prevent parking on her property because it obscured the view shed.
Piedmont Environmental Council decided to rezone her property for alleged “violations” found during unannounced inspections. They settled the law suit in 2011.
The Fauquier County Board of Supervisors changed the zoning laws to ban Martha’s sale of fruits, vegetables, beverages, and other crafts in her farm store. The supervisors also passed an ordinance to force wineries in the area to close at 6 p.m. and to prohibit the sale of food unless the wineries obtained special permits from the zoning administrator.
Martha put a lot of hard work to breathe life into the previously abandoned property. It was her life-long dream to farm. She was not going to give up that easily. She became a property rights advocate and activist in Virginia, speaking at every venue and opportunity against the insidious U.N. Agenda 21, enabled at the local level by unscrupulous supervisors who had bought into the Agenda 21 environmental land grab.
The “visioning committee consensus” of ICLEI was nothing more than the wishes of a few global elites, telling each community across the country what was best for their citizens in terms of land and water use, keeping the environment as pristine and wild as possible, without the “destructive” encroachment of humans. As Americans became more aware of their true internationalist intent, ICLEI changed its name to Local Governments for Sustainability.
The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is a conglomerate of national, regional, and local government associations who promote “sustainable development” and protection of the environment because of the man-made global warming that does not exist. The focus is to limit economic and agricultural development in developed countries, a forced sustainable de-growth through EPA regulations and local board of supervisors’ zoning laws, and “regionalism” at the federal level, intruding on every facet of human life.
A lot of Virginians testified in support of HB1430 (The Boneta Bill), The Right to Farm Act, which passed the House of Delegates 77-22 in February 2013 but was blocked by the Senate Agricultural Committee by a vote of 11-4. Delegate Scott Lingamfelter promised to reintroduce the bill next year.
Martha’s source of trouble at the local level during 2009-2011 was Fauquier County zoning supervisor Peggy Richardson, who was IRS commissioner under President Bill Clinton.
It must have been absolute coincidence that Martha’s tax returns for 2010 and 2011 were audited by the IRS. This was the timeframe when her farm operations were dissected and her legal battles ensued. Martha Boneta believes that it was a “coordinated effort” to confiscate her farm through rezoning.
Zoning supervisor Richardson told TheWatchdog.org, “I could understand, given the external climate, that people might think there is something amiss. I think that’s a stretch, but I understand why people might feel this way. Coincidences do happen.”
Martha wrote, “IRS came with a camera to the farm but I do not know what was photographed. The IRS agent watched me put freshly harvested eggs into cartons and feed emus. Asked me about “boarding” farm caretakers—very odd and unusual especially since ‘boarding’ a farm caretaker is identical to what PEC (Piedmont Environmental Council) complained and sued me over. Particularly odd since there is nothing in my (tax) return that has anything to do with ‘boarding’ labor for example.”
Joseph Farah writes that Margaret “Peggy” Richardson “was in charge when I exposed Clinton’s political abuse of the IRS. She was forced to resign and now she is on the Piedmont Environmental Council.”
If you think Martha Boneta’s case is an isolated incident of “conservation easement,” think again. Take for instance the case in Alameda County, California. The deceptively named Measure D, “Save Agriculture and Open Space Lands Initiative,” pushed by Oakland mayor Jerry Brown and the Sierra Club passed in November 2000. Most ranchers had no idea what they voted for - the restrictive use of thousands of acres of private land by the county.
Property owners lived on the land but could not make any changes or improvements to it without prior approval by the Board of Supervisors. Ranchers paid taxes on 100 percent of the land but could only develop 2 percent.
Chuck Moore, owner of Graceland Equestrian Center, petitioned during a hearing on January 8, 2013, to expand a covered area on his property to store hay for his horses.
The Sierra Club objected by stating that “The Board has a free hand to further restrict the use of land but it does not have a free hand to loosen the restrictions measuredly imposed on the development and use of land.” They insisted that “open space must be saved,” which begs the question, “Saved from what? Horses?”
The Supervisor, seeking to avoid litigation, suggested an insane solution. The rancher should purchase more property and donate it to the Sierra Club as “open space.”
The narrator asked pointedly, “Are we a nation that respects private property and individual rights or are we slaves to the government and special interest groups like the Sierra Club?”
This question can be easily answered by perusing the Draft International Covenant on Environment and Development (DICED). It is the Environmental Constitution of Global Governance. The Draft Covenant’s 79 articles, described in great detail in 242 pages, take Sustainable Development principles described in U.N. Agenda 21 and transform them into global law, which supersedes all constitutions including the U.S. Constitution.
Martha Boneta’s and Chuck Moore’s battles are two examples of thousands across the country who are fighting their local zoning czars for economic freedom, the use of their land, property rights free of intrusive, photographed, unauthorized, and illegal, often in the middle of the night land and home inspections, and the freedom to engage in unencumbered agricultural activities from environmental groups funded by wealthy globalists who would rather see humans disappear or moved into government approved urban ghettoes or zones where they can be better controlled and corralled.