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Advisory body may consider beer and wine sales, assembly uses for agricultural land in Virginia Beach

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE – The Agriculture Advisory Commission will consider whether activities such as craft beer or wine sales or assembly uses, such as holding weddings, are appropriate on farmland, including properties enrolled in the city’s agricultural reserve program,… Continue Reading

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Editorial: Effort to kill a farmland preservation program that helps all of Virginia Beach must be stopped

That ending the agricultural reserve program was proposed at all — then argued with questionable logic — shows a troubling division between Virginia Beach government and the rural communities it takes for granted. THE INDEPENDENT NEWS PUNGO — Two years ago, following his appointment as… Continue Reading

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Citing unfinished business, Henley seeks reelection in Princess Anne District in Virginia Beach

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE VIRGINIA BEACH – Councilmember Barbara Henley, a farmer who first joined the Virginia Beach City Council four decades ago and an advocate for land preservation and limiting rural development, says she is running again this year to… Continue Reading

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Budget: Virginia Beach proposal would raise taxes for all day kindergarten, restore agricultural reserve money

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE – Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen on Tuesday, March 28, unveiled a spending plan that would raise real estate taxes to help establish full-day kindergarten throughout the city while redirecting money from a previous property… Continue Reading

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Virginia Beach may consider cap on land use tax rate for agricultural land

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE — The city may consider a cap on land use tax rates on agricultural land, valuation that — using an example of class III cropland — has risen from $300 per acre in 2009 to $2,120 per acre… Continue Reading

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With few closings due to low interest rates, city aims to make reserve program a stronger option for farmers

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE — City officials are working to offset interest rates to encourage participation in the Agricultural Reserve Program, which pays farmers for development rights but has been in a slump due to low interest rates. A proposal… Continue Reading