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Ignoring farmers, City Council approves event venue on land zoned for agriculture in rural city

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE OCEANFRONT — Moments after a stunning reversal by the Planning Commission, the City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 25, voted to approve a conditional use permit so an event business can operate on land zoned for agriculture in… Continue Reading

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Column: City decisions about land use have real consequences for farms and rural communities

BY KAREN BEARDSLEE KWASNY VIRGINIA BEACH — Weather wreaks havoc on farmland?   So, too, do city decisions.   It’s a bit overwhelming — the myriad articles about the way our ever-changing climate affects our farmland.   A quick look at… Continue Reading

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Editorial: Virginia Beach City Council betrayed farmers and its own land use ideals — for tourism

Ed. — From the Sunday, Sept. 6, print edition. THE INDEPENDENT NEWS BACK BAY — False steps large and small by Virginia Beach’s government and people who advise it led to the City Council decision this past month to permit Wolfe… Continue Reading

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Column: We must preserve farmland and rural communities

  BY KAREN BEARDSLEE KWASNY VIRGINIA BEACH — In 2002, when my husband and I were looking for a new house, a friend said to me, “You need to live in Pungo, Karen. That place will feel like home to you.” … Continue Reading

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Editorial: Rural residents should speak because a commercial venue is proposed for agricultural land

THE INDEPENDENT NEWS BACK BAY — A pending conditional use permit request deserves attention before the Virginia Beach City Council makes a decision that could have consequences for rural communities. The City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 25, is scheduled to consider a… Continue Reading

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VB City Council and School Board elections are nonpartisan, but party committees back candidates

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE VIRGINIA BEACH — On a Saturday this past month, one of two candidates to become the chairperson of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach met with supporters at Mom’s Kitchen, a restaurant in a strip mall on… Continue Reading

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Planning Commission recommends denial of proposed event venue on farmland in rural Virginia Beach

Ed. — This story originally appeared in the Sunday, July 5, print edition. It has been updated to include the date upon which the City Council is scheduled to consider the proposal. Additionally, it now appears unlikely the City Council will… Continue Reading

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Blackberry season is underway in southern Virginia Beach

BY JANE BLOODWORTH ROWE PUNGO — Summer’s heat and sun are ripening the blackberries, and this fruit is becoming available locally at markets. Blackberries aren’t as widely grown commercially as strawberries in Virginia Beach, but farmer Roy Flanagan grows them to… Continue Reading

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After initially announcing closure, Pungo Blueberries Etc. is open this summer for you-pick business

BY JANE BLOODWORTH ROWE PUNGO — It was barely 7 a.m. on one recent humid, overcast morning, but already customers were in the orchard plucking the plump berries that were ripening at Pungo Blueberries Etc.   Farm owners Robert and Juanita… Continue Reading

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So long, strawberries: A big year for iconic Virginia Beach crop

BY JANE BLOODWORTH ROWE PUNGO — This spring may go down in local lore as one of the best strawberry seasons ever in southern Virginia Beach. There was a bountiful crop thanks to the weather conditions – and there were… Continue Reading